Jerusha: What a treat that I get to chat with Michelle Griep today! Always so much fun to talk to, Michelle is the author of historical and mystery romance novels. Her latest, and my favorite, is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a charming novella full of Dickensian wit, mystery, and romance. Michelle’s offering a free copy (print or digital) to one of you who leaves a comment below! So enjoy the interview and don’t forget to enter the drawing!
Hi, Michelle! Thanks for taking the time to chat during this busy season! Christmas is a great time to visit with friends. Speaking of my favorite time of year, do you get excited for Christmas?
I’m not sure excited is the right word for me. I’m not the one wearing a Santa Claus hat in November because I just can’t wait. I’m more like in anticipation mode, just looking forward to spending time with my family because, for me, that’s what Christmas is all about—relationships. That probably makes me sound like a saint, which I’m not, but I just really love my kids and am a happy mama when we finally all get together.
Sounds like you have your priorities straight, Saint Michelle. 😉 Just kidding. But I totally agree. Spending time with loved ones is the best part of the holiday season! I’m trying to get preparations done early so I have more time for that, but I’m not doing too well so far. Is your Christmas shopping done yet?
HAHAHA! That’s hilarious. I’m the one who’s buying whatever I can find on Amazon at the last minute.
LOL! As long as it gets here before the 25th, it’s all good, right? 😉 So when your family arrives, do you have any special Christmas traditions?
Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. There was only one Christmas I tried to get fancy and make something else and my family totally mutinied on me. I still have the scars to prove it.
Haha! Those must be some seriously delicious cinnamon rolls! Care to come to my house to make a batch, too? 🙂 I’ve tried to get together something special like that for Christmas morning, but sometimes it seems like it’s one too many things to get done, and I end up stressing. Do you get stressed during the holiday season? And, if you do, what ways have you found to reduce the stress?
I do. Super stressed. There are cookies to bake and presents to wrap and parties to host and shopping to do and did I mention the traffic? Gah! Knowing this, I plan ahead. When it’s baking time, I put on a Christmas movie to put my mind on something other than the tedium of cutting out cookies. While shopping or running errands, soothing classical music—not Christmas music. Parties I try to limit so I can have a night of downtime. And you’ll notice I didn’t mention Christmas cards. I figure if I get a greeting out even after Christmas that the sentiment still counts.
Those are some great stress and time-management tips, Michelle. I like how you’re deciding what’s most important for you to get done and reserving your time for that, including some rest time for yourself. I’m curious what you’ll have to say about other forms of fear beyond stress. Do you have a recurring struggle with fear in your life?
Fear of failure is a biggie for me. I’ve always had to be the best, the one who is successful. And here’s a newsflash for you: none of us will ever always be the best or successful. So my expectations, and ultimately my fears, are in vain because as a human, I’m going to fail. Recognizing that takes off a lot of the pressure. Realizing that what I do may fail but that doesn’t mean that I’m a failure.
Such a vital point, Michelle. So many of us, myself included, struggle with fear of failure. When fighting this fear and others, what is your go-to Fear Warrior weapon?
Several. First and foremost, God’s word. The Bible is my rock. It’s in black and white and not disputable. Secondly, God’s blessed me with some awesome friends on this life journey. Let me tell you, they deserve combat pay. When I’m fearing, I will frequently phone a buddy and get that fear out into the open so they can help me slay it.
Haha, I love that! Combat pay for our supporters! 🙂 This fight against fear is definitely a real battle. How wonderful that you’ve learned to be open about your fears with supportive friends. I tend to bottle up my fear, but the defeat of those fears is often close at hand if we admit them to God and to our Christian friends. You mentioned the Bible being your rock in times of fear. Do you have a favorite fear-fighting verse?
My life verse is Nahum 1:7, and whenever I’m tempted to despair, I mull over this:
“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him.”
How comforting is that? No matter what your circumstances are, God knows you if you’re trusting in Him. And bonus: He’s good!
Amen! What a comforting verse. I’ll have to add this one to my Fear Warrior collection of verses. He is our stronghold in trouble—the only one that will never fail. I might have to turn to this verse when I’m writing, since I’m often plagued by worries then. As a fellow writer, do you have any tips on how to battle the fears that go with our profession?
Writing is angst. 24/7. There’s just no getting around it. All the “what if’s” beat you into a corner. What if nobody likes my book? What if I get horrific reviews? What if my sales numbers flatline? What if I never sell another manuscript again? Yada. Yada. Those are the fears that can choke the life right out of me.
To battle those fears, I have to continually refocus on who I am in Christ. Even if all those what-ifs come true, it doesn’t matter because in the grand scheme of things, God still loves me and accepts me no matter what.
What an amazing truth. For any profession or any what-ifs we all face in life, God’s love and eternal acceptance for His children can be our comfort. Thanks for sharing that hope! You sound like a great friend to talk to when struggling with fear. What is your approach to helping friends when they’re in the midst of such a battle?
Listen and validate. Fears are real. Whether they’re true or not is a completely different story. Then meet that fear with God’s truth.
Great perspective. Listening and understanding is so key, but I love that you also challenge those fears with God’s Word. Speaking of admitting fears to friends, do you have a secret fear you’d be willing to share with your new friends here at the FW Blog?
Centipedes. Oh, sweet mercy! If one of those bad boys crosses my path, there is just no stopping the blood-curdling scream that rips out my throat.
YES! They’re even more frightening than spiders! Seriously, no horror film has ever come up with anything as terrifying as centipedes.
Now that we’ve conjured up that disgusting image in readers’ minds, I guess that’s a good place to stop. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to chat today, Michelle, and share your heart with the FW community. It’s been so much fun! And thank you for offering a free copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor to one reader who leaves a comment below!
Readers, be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway because this is the best Christmas story of 2017! It’s very much like Michelle—hilarious and snarky, while imparting spiritual wisdom and hope. Merry Christmas!
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas.
She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of the Dickensian Christmas novella, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor! (Winner randomly selected Dec. 27, 2017; winner must have Continental U. S. mailing address.)
When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.
Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.