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Monday, July 20, 2015

Meet the Author: Cathy Messecar

"Cathy Messecar speaks for local and national women’s retreats, social clubs, and writing guilds. She has written over 600 columns for magazines and newspapers, and her books are available at Amazon and other booksellers.

Cathy and her husband live in Montgomery, Texas on a farm, Leaning Tree Acres. A wife, mother, and grandmother, she’s passionate about sharing how Jesus life-supports women each day. Contact her at “Threads of Peace from a Farm Scribe”" (Amazon)


Her books:

Her new book, Winning Every Women's War: Overcoming Temptations, debuts January 2016


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

When my English teacher in high school complimented a piece I’d written and read it to the class. It wasn’t the recognition as much as the knowledge that I could write words and others would find them revealing.

How long does it take you to write a book? 

The length of time depends upon the content. I try to research and verify facts, and study any scriptures to make sure I understand them as fully as possible in this stage of my spiritual growth. My last manuscript (at the publisher’s now), I co-authored. We wrote for about six months, but we had already taught the material in a women’s class at our home congregation, so we knew the basic content of chapters. Of course, teaching and writing are two entirely different animals. We often speak in passive language, and a book written entirely in passive language bores a reader.    

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

Interrupted! I write in bits and pieces. If I’m on “finish line” (preferred instead of deadline, I arise early before the sun comes up and the phone starts ringing. I’m not sure why my adult children think I want to hear from them at 6:30 in the morning J. My husband and I are at retirement age, but we still operate our business from home, where I write. Our area north of Houston is booming with construction, a real blessing to many and us. We also have five grandchildren who live nearby, and we help with my husband’s 94 year old mother and my 87- year-old Dad and his wife. We worship with a large congregation, and I help with women’s classes there and speak at events. But my life is no busier than others. We are indeed blessed to have good health and stamina.

Do you have an interesting writing quirk? 

I really love to nail the right simile or metaphor.  

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas are prompted through my senses of vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. The sight of a mud dauber led me to explore their habits and I found that the mother lays her eggs on live, paralyzed spiders. I heard a mocking bird trill my phone ringtone. I tasted lavender cookies for the first time. I touched an electric fence. I smelled wassail, and all those heightened experiences led to writing. And usually to a spiritual connection.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I love to read….and there’s always housecleaning.

What would you tell other Christian women who want to write

Ask God to guide you if it’s truly your calling. It may not be for pay but for your family, church, women, or introspection. Look for a local writer’s group and join. That’s how I first started. They were so kind and attentive. The Amy Foundation has great resources for the beginning writer, and they are free. They give away thousands in prize money each year to deserving writers who manage to include a scripture and reference in writings for the general public. Find a writer who will mentor them.  

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 

I’ve written five with one under contract due out in January 2016. I’ve written more that are taking sabbaticals in my computer. They will emerge when God wants them to, or not. I suppose my favorite is my first book, a compilation of some of my readers’ favorite newspaper columns. I adapted them for the book and wrote fifty-two prayers at the end of each that shows how Jesus life-supports us each day. The prayers don’t end with “In Jesus’ name.” They connect to Jesus by stating exactly how he life-supported me that day: In the name of Jesus, who notices dusty feet. In the name of Jesus, who sought the lost in a cemetery and at a seaside. In the name of Jesus, who brought real character to the family tree. The hardback gift book is titled, The Stained Glass Pickup: Glimpses of God's Uncommon Wisdom .  
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? 

When I read work by an author and I cringe because of wordiness, passive writing, not enough explanation, a grammar error, misspelling, or misuse of a word, I become a better writer. I really want to avoid making readers shudder over what I’ve written. One of the complaints in reviews of books, is that the reader was so distracted by mistakes that they quit reading. Most writers have typos and errors. We are practicing getting better. My last book is better than my first, writers get better if they are mindful of improvement.

What do you like to read? 

I enjoy reading biographies and Christian fiction, and of course, the Bible. I’m a reader, so I find myself reading cereal boxes, blogs, refrigerator magnets, and road signs. That sense of vision may lead to my next column or blog post.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 

Be Elvis Presley’s wife.

Fun fact. 

My kitchens always have red in them.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you, Susan. You are a honey to offer this blog to showcase authors.

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  2. You are very welcome. I'm glad to do it. *:9)

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  3. I forgot to mention I'm so glad you're on here.

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  4. It amazes me when I go back to something I wrote after it is published and find a few typos and other errors, even after spending hours and hours on editing and copyediting. I do editing for a major publisher, and all their books go through a minimum of 4 editors. Most of us can't afford to pay someone to edit our work, especially when it is an indie project, which is why our work sometimes still has more errors than books traditionally published. More eyes means catching more of the mistakes.

    I think a lot of us (and our mothers) were more than a little in love with Elvis back then.

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    1. Don't feel badly, Lynn. Even the largest publishing houses put out books with the occasional typo. Our brains read what they know "ought" to be there. Maddening! After many critiques and 2 editors, I still found 4 typos in my latest one. Ugh!

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  5. So nice to meet you, Cathy. Just curious as to what your role was in DOGWOOD WINTER. Did you ghostwrite it? Or just help organize the writer's thoughts?

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    1. Katy, my friend Beverly had a 350,000 word blog written in her casual voice. Although, it was beautifully written, it was wordy and had much passive language. I cut it down to about 35,000 words, reworded, researched, and published for her family. I tried to retain her voice even though I had to reword much to avoid passive language. I would call it a ghost authored work, although Beverly was adamant about having my name on the cover. I think that is a honest way to write as our byline says, By Beverly Grayson with Cathy Messecar. If you want to read a sample of Beverly's blog it's at http://www.johnswife.blogspot.com/ And you can read a sample of Dogwood Winter at Amazon or I think I have a free coupon for a download of Dogwood Winter is you have a Kindle reader, ap or want to download to your computer. Let me know. Thanks for the question. Nice to meet you.

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