Greetings from Davalynn Spencer in unseasonably warm Colorado! It’s my pleasure today to visit with author Linda P. Kozar about her new devotional book, Sweet Tea for the Soul – Down-home Devotions to Comfort the Heart (DaySpring 2018).
Welcome Linda. Tell us a little about your book.
These devotions give a fresh look at life offering calming reminders of God’s grace, and a southern wink at our busy lives, reminding us why we are blessed.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love to start my day reading through the Bible and finding one thing to focus on. Sometimes, God narrows my attention in on a particular Scripture. Other times, I follow interesting rabbit trails. But regardless, I always wind up doing a bit of research and writing down my thoughts, which inevitably transform into devotions. This time with the Lord is essentially, my devotion time. So, I was surprised when a wonderful former editor of mine who works at a different publishing house, contacted me in May and wanted to introduce me to an editor at DaySpring who was looking for someone to write Southern-themed devotions with a touch of humor. I sent him some samples. They loved the samples, and offered me a contract. Then, in December, I was offered a contract to do another devotional, and I was happy to say yes. My daily time with the Lord turned into two books to share with others, and I could not feel more blessed. I thank God that He would be so tender toward me to consider me for this work.
Wow, Linda, what a blessing to have your personal time with Lord reach into the lives of others. While you were preparing this book, what surprised you the most?
Every time I read God’s Word, I am amazed at the richness and anointing and truth embedded in each page. I always find some new life application, or deeper meaning in a scripture passage. And that brings me joy.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope and pray that these devotions bring a smile to the reader’s face and a warm quilt to their heart.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
Definitely the time crunch in writing the devotions. I take my time with them. After the initial writing, I go back to pray over and assess, and then rewrite many of them. And of course, I have to check all the quotes I use, which is incredibly difficult. Tracking down the etymology of a quote is a real boondoggle most of the time. There are so many attributions to each quote, mostly because a famous person quoted someone else, or a line from literature or a play, and the brilliant line was attributed to them.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
When I write devotions, I am always drawn back to the Old Testament. What is written in the Old Testament seems as current as the New Testament to me. I see Christ throughout the Bible, and love to share that with others.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
I was an avid reader as a young child and remember reading all my mom’s books on our four-shelf book cabinet. But one book in particular had a very disappointing ending, so I rewrote it. I made up my mind that if I ever wrote a book, the ending would be happy.
Oh, I love that. There are so many books (and movies) for which I’d love to rewrite the ending. What a great motivation.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I have hosted and taught women’s Bible Studies in my home(s) every single Tuesday for twenty-five years. And I absolutely love it. Tuesdays are my favorite.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
I paint in oil or watercolor whenever I take a break from writing. I think of it as a sort of pallet cleanser.
Oh, perfect! Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Our Jack Russell, Gypsy, used to climb all over my lap as I was trying to write—a definite hindrance. Now that she’s 2-1/2, she’s content to snuggle in beside me wherever I’m writing. So, I guess she inspires me now. Plus, she keeps me warm.
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
The last thing I want to do is let anyone down. I plan out a writing schedule so that I’m shooting for so many words per day, or in the case of devotions, five per day. Some days I make the goal, and other days I don’t. But I schedule in days for goofing off as well. We all need days like that.
So true. Scheduling a goofing-off day sounds like a good idea. Tell us about your next project.
My next book is a follow-up to the first. It’s titled Biscuits, Butter, and Blessings—Farm-Fresh Devotions For Hope and Comfort (DaySpring 2018).
Sweet servings of inspiration, these down-home devotions are chock-full of scripture, Godly wisdom, and common-sense country wit. Each devotion begins with a thoughtful or witty title, a scripture, an inspirational story or thought, a Faith-Check takeaway, and ends with a humorous or thought-provoking tag. Like a hand-stitched and heartfelt gift, these faith-crafted pages will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.
Thank you, Linda. We look forward to reading your Southern-flavored devotions.