An author and motivational speaker who adores the power of words both written and spoken, at the end of 1996 this former BellSouth employee left 18 years of service and stepped out on faith as she pursues her purpose and passion—writing and speaking. A wife, mother of three sons, grandmother of four granddaughters, Vanessa Davis Griggs resides in Irondale, a community just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Among many recognitions and awards, she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition March 2010 from Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. of Georgia. Her novel Forever Soul Ties was a 2012 RT Book Review nominee and The Other Side of Divine received RT Book Review’s highest recognition of 4.5 Stars, Top Pick! She’s the author of 16 novels: Destiny Unlimited, The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace. Blessed Trinity, Strongholds, If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach, Goodness and Mercy, The Truth Is the Light, Ray of Hope, Redeeming Waters, Forever Soul Ties, The Other Side of Goodness, The Other Side of Dare, and The Other Side of Divine. She’s also the contributor of 10 devotionals on Self in the Sisters in Faith Bible (KJV).
It is so wonderful to have you with us today Vanessa, we are excited about this interview. You have achieved many wonderful things in your literary career, the most important being giving back the gift God gave to you. Well done, you are an inspiration to me and other authors who strive daily to do the same. We have some questions to ask you, so let’s dig right in madam!
1. What made you choose to write in the Genre that you write in?
I write what feels most authentic for me and that happens to be fiction with some Christian characters. I’d say that I didn’t really choose the genre as it actually chose me.
2. What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?
I love to create something out of nothing. Taking words to create people, places, things, activities, etc. is an awesome way to journey. I especially enjoy watching my characters unfold right before my eyes and cause even me to say, “No he/she didn’t!”
3. What was the first moment you knew you wanted to write?
I loved writing in elementary school. I wrote plays back then. In the sixth grade, I wrote, directed, and produced a play for my class. After that, I would write church plays. I loved to read and I recall after reading Ernest Gaines’ novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman saying to myself, “I would love to write like this!” I think that reading a good book inspires a true writer to want to write and to write well. And reading a bad book inspires a true writer to say “I’m sure I can do better than this” and proceed to work at doing it.
4. When you write, do you write for a long period of time or do you write in short burst?
When I write, I prefer not to have to stop if I can help it. Yes, I will shut down to sleep and eat, but I try not to even travel during that time. When the flow is going, I don’t like to find myself not being able to keep going as the plot or characters are on a roll. It’s like watching a good show on TV and not wanting the phone to ring, causing you to miss anything or even have to press pause (even if you have that capability).
5. Where did your inspiration for this book come from?
The Other Side of Divine is the last installment of The Blessed Trinity Series. There were characters with a lot of drama that needed to be addressed such as Gabrielle Mercedes who had fought so hard to become the mother of Jasmine Noble. Paris Simmons-Holyfield finds herself in a mess as does her one-time, co-worker Darius. There are lots of surprises in this novel. I love the response I’ve received from it from the readers, which now also includes an RT Book Reviews 2013 nomination for Best Multicultural Fiction (winners to be announced May 2014).
6. What words of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
If you’re thin-skinned then this might not be the business for you. There are plenty of places for rejection starting from agents to publishers to reviewers and critics to the readers themselves. You need to be true to you and not try to be a copy of anyone else. Learn the craft of writing (which includes spelling, grammar, and the art of writing, using correct techniques) so that you can be on the top of your game. Then be determined to always get better.
7. What is your favorite character in your book and why?
In The Other Side of Divine, if I had to choose, I would say Miss Esther Crowe. She played a pivotal role throughout this novel. She’s a special kind of person, someone who shows how one person can make a difference in the lives of many.
8. What is the best book you have ever read?
The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
9. What is your favorite song?
Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. I love the words and the meaning behind this song. It speaks about life and how the pen is in my hand. It’s not about writing a book, but about writing your life and the future that awaits you.
10. What is your favorite musical artist?
Since I was a teenager, I have loved Earth, Wind, & Fire. I love their older works more than the new so far. Their earlier works have always spoken to me in a deeply spiritual and healing way.
11. What do you hope to say to people with your writing?
My goal is always to encourage. I like to write about real life situations, but to make the reader feel that no matter what he or she is going through, it’s going to be all right in the end. I’m not talking about living in la-la land, but just to give hope and uplift—to being some light in places of darkness. I also love knowing that I may be educating while entertaining. That’s always so much fun for me.
12. Do you have an official website?
13. Where can we find you on social media?
14. Where can we find your books?
My books are available with all bookstores and booksellers including brick & mortar and online. Also available at Walmart, Target, and some grocery stores.
Check out Vanessa Davis Griggs ‘The Other Side Of Divine’ on