Interview & Book Give-Away with Author & Speaker Poppy Smith

I’m thrilled to introduce my friend, Poppy Smith, to you. I first learned about Poppy years ago through her bestselling book, I’m Too Young to Be This Old (reprinted and updated this year). I immediately became a fan. This lady knew exactly where I was in life! Then we met when I joined the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), and it’s been a joy to get to know her personally.

And I know you’re going to enjoy hearing about Poppy’s writing journey and her new book, Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? 9 Secrets to Understanding Your Husband. Be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Not that any of us need help understanding our men, of course. And guys, don’t start. Remember, you’re outnumbered here. 🙂

VONDA: Okay, Poppy, let’s start at the beginning. How did your writing journey begin?

POPPY: I am not one of those women who always longed to write. In fact, it never occurred to me until three writers who heard me teaching asked why I didn’t write what I was presenting. As a former Bible Study Fellowship Lecturer, teaching is my love. It was only when a pastor said, “What you write will reach far more people than speaking,” that I began to weigh it seriously.

But I still wasn’t convinced I could either write or get published. Reading an article on the Parable of the Talents one night, God began to deal with my attitude. What was behind my reluctance to explore if this was part of His plan for me? Fear, laziness, indifference? Convicted, I told God I would move forward, do my best, and leave the results to Him. For me, writing books is an act of obedience because I love the Lord and I’m committed to do whatever He leads me into.

VONDA: What were your early steps toward publishing?

POPPY: My first steps included attending a Christian writer’s conference, connecting with a free-lance book editor, and beginning to write. Meeting with my book editor/teacher after writing each chapter gave me the one-on-one training I desperately needed. After finishing three chapters and polishing my book proposal, I submitted the manuscript to three publishers. Two quickly declined. My topic wasn’t of interest to them. The other didn’t reply for three months.

Finally, a postcard arrived saying they were considering my book. Then silence. I waited four more months. When I finally called the editor, he told me they were going to consider it the following week, but I didn’t believe him! One week later, they called and offered me a contract.

VONDA: What a great reminder to be patient! What happened after this in your writing journey?

POPPY: I was a complete unknown with no writing experience, but my book, I’m Too Young to be This Old: Surviving and Thriving in the Muddled, Middle Years” was published by Bethany House. It sold almost 150,000 copies, and has just been republished by Harvest House with a bright new cover. Because of the early sales figures, Bethany House gave me contracts for two more books. After I finished my third book, however, I vowed never to write again! And I didn’t write again for ten years.

VONDA: What happened that caused you to stop writing and choose to focus on your speaking ministry?

POPPY: I had an unfortunate experience while writing my third book that triggered some deep issues I wasn’t even aware of at that time. I ended up struggling emotionally with a lot of negative feelings towards myself and my writing. I speak on the power of words, including our self-talk, because I’ve experienced it. I discovered that emotional pain is often triggered by early childhood experiences, but that we can heal and grow so those hurts from the past don’t limit or destroy our future.

VONDA: Thank you for your transparency. That’s a good lesson for all of us. The good news is, your fourth book, Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? was released last year by Harvest House and won the AWSA Golden Scroll Award for best non-fiction in 2012. What brought you back to writing?

POPPY: During my ten year hiatus from working on another book, I went to seminary and graduated with a Masters in Spiritual Formation and Direction. We were required to have a monthly meeting with a Spiritual Director and I found this wonderfully healing. I came out of seminary with a deep acceptance of who I am and an inner peace that has enabled me to reject the negative self-talk that had overwhelmed me ten years before.

I joined a writer’s critique group composed of experienced, published authors. One of them became an agent. She then represented me to Harvest House who gave me a contract.

VONDA: As we close this interview, tell us a little about the passion that drove you to write this book about understanding yourself and your husband.

POPPY: I am saddened by the divorce rate among Christians and yet I understand how a marriage can come apart because of differences between each spouse. My passion is to help women grow spiritually and personally by recognizing their husband isn’t their clone, didn’t come from the same home, probably has a different personality and way of processing information, handling conflict and communicating. I want my book to give hope that to women that change is possible when we let God change us.

Thank you for joining us today, Poppy. Your story is a powerful example of what God can do through us and our own circumstances, if we let Him.

Okay readers, I know you want a copy of Poppy’s new book, Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? 9 Secrets to Understanding Your Husband, so be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing. And if you want to go ahead and order your own copy, just click on the book covers or titles.

BIO: Poppy Smith’s passion is to inspire and encourage women toward spiritual and emotional health through her ministry as a writer, conference speaker, and spiritual director. To learn more about her books and speaking topics, visit www.poppysmith.com. Follow her blog: www.poppysmith.blogspot.com

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  • I enjoyed getting to know Poppy better through this interview. I love her name, too, and would enjoy learning the history behind it. Is it a family name?
    Hearing about her patient wait on publication was also encouraging!

  • KristinHillTaylor

    Sounds like there is much wisdom in your book pages. I’m glad to be introduced to a new-to-me author.

    • Hi Kristin. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging Poppy!

  • I loved the line about what we have in common with our husbands — both getting married on the same day 🙂 This sounds like a great book to share with my two adult daughters, too!

  • Nan Jones

    Vonda, I always enjoy reading about another author’s journey to publication. Thank you. Poppy, you are an inspiration. BTW, I love your name! How fun 🙂

    • I love that name, too! And Poppy’s just as unique and inviting as her name.

  • audreylengyel

    This is a wonderful interview…and a wonderful book topic. I love reading about how other writers evolved over their life journey. I remarried at age 60. Both of us had been widowed, and lived very different lives during the years before we met. Our marriage has taught us a lot about accomodating our separate pasts into our joint present. Thanks for sharing this interview with us!

    • Wow, Audrey. Congratulations! Happiness at age 60 sounds like a great thing. 🙂

      • audreylengyel

        It is a blessing!

  • Marilyn Turk

    Loved this post and finding out about Poppy and her books, both titles I can relate to. I also love reading about other writers’ journeys and rejoicing with them in their success. It would be great to meet Poppy some day or hear her speak. If her titles are indicative of her personality, her presentations are probably very entertaining and insightful.

  • Cindy Rooy

    I always feel a kinship with another BSFer! I love the catchy titles to your books – and praise God that you allowed Him to lead you down the path of writing. I’d love to win a copy of your book.

  • I always love reading journeys to publication, and I’m so impressed that Poppy went back to seminary! There’s a teeny tiny part of me that might enjoy that path 🙂
    Too Young To Be This Old sounds like a book I HAVE to get!

    • It’s a hilarious book, Susan. And yes, one I identify with every day!

  • Poppy, it’s so hard to accept we can’t change them. And even when we do accept it, we — well, I — keep trying! As you say so succinctly, “change is possible when we let God change us.” Yes, of course, I am the ONLY person I can change. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Yes, that was…and continues to be…the hardest lesson in marriage.

  • So very true!! Our husbands aren’t our clones. I’ve been married 34 years and just now figuring that out. 🙂 He’s not going to be like a girlfriend to me. 🙂 Love this interview!! Poppy, I’m not sure if we’ve ever met at a writers conference, but wish we could have coffee. Would love to read why he can’t be more like me–now that I’ve finally accepted the fact. xoxo

    • And I love your statement that he’s not going to be like a girlfriend to us. Wise words, thanks!

  • Barb Winters

    Thanks for sharing your story! Love the title “I’m Too Young to BeThis Old!” Describes me. 🙂

  • Tammy Whitehurst

    I loved reading this interview! Join me in giving Poppy a standing ovation for being used by the Lord to touch so many lives. (Insert LOUD applause.) Thank you Poppy!

  • Great interview. I laughed out loud when I read the line :” What do you and your husband have in common? We both got married on the same day.”

    • Yes, it’s so funny! But the sad part is, that’s the way some marriages are. 🙁

  • What a great title! I have read Poppy’s I’m Too Young to Be this Old and it certainly spoke to me. Thanks for sharing her writing journey with us.

  • Melony Brown

    I love hearing stories about writers and their paths to publication. Following where God leads you and trusting His timing is truly a test of faith. I would love to win this book!

    • Yes, her story about the 10 year sabbatical has stayed with me all day. I’m praising God that He sent her back to writing!

  • 1appleblossom

    sounds like a nice book thanks for the chance to win a copy

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Ed Carr

    Sounds like a real humdinger of a book! (my father’s favorite expression for something excellent, top notch, etc.).

    • I remember that expression very well. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and joining in!

  • Judith Robl

    Why Can’t He Be More LIke Me!!!! What a great title. Having been married for nearly half a century, I can see where this book will have a large, repeat LARGE, audience.

    Thank you, Vonda and Poppy, for this post.

    • I read your “…nearly half a century…” and thought “Wow, that’s a long time to be married.” Then it hit me that since we’ll be celebrating 44 years in June, I can almost say it!!! Man, that makes me feel old!

  • Cyn Rogalski

    What an amazing testimony of God’s moving to accomplish His desires! Thanks for sharing with us!

    • You’re very welcome, Cyn. Thanks for stopping by!