Showing posts with label ACFW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ACFW. Show all posts

Monday, September 6, 2021

Meet Deena Adams

I'd like to welcome award winning writer, Deena Adams, to my blog. She's been a great encouragement to me on my writing journey through her Facebook groupMARATHON. If you’re a Christian Fiction writer, she’d love for you to join the group! Click here for the link, and be sure to answer the membership question.

Deena, I love that you focus on hope in your writing and in your life. What motivates you to have such hope?

Hi, Penny. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog! I believe hope is as necessary to life as air and water, and genuine hope comes through Christ alone.

I’ve experienced some rough times over the years and every time I felt hopeless, I knew I had to shift my focus back to the Lord. I think about the story of Peter in the Bible. When his eyes were on Jesus, he walked on the water, but when he looked at the storm raging around him, he sank.

Keeping my eyes on Jesus and believing God’s promises is where my hope comes from and is the only way to not only survive the hard times, but to find joy in the journey.

 You encourage people to read hope filled fiction. What is your favorite fiction genre and how does it encourage your life?

Women’s fiction is probably my favorite—and it’s what I write—because I love stories that tackle gritty, true-to-life issues and focus on the character’s spiritual transformation. Of course, I love to be entertained when I read, but I don’t read for pure enjoyment alone, but to be challenged in my faith.

The beauty of God’s work in a person’s mess and bringing them to redemption and healing encourages me in my spiritual life. It helps me know I’m not alone and if others can have victory in their trials, maybe I can too.

You've written a short story, Behind the Scenes. Can you tell us a bit about the story and the novel you are working on?

Behind the Scenes is a prequel to my novel and features the childhood story of Clayton, my novel’s hero. The short story opens with seven-year-old Clayton searching the house for his parents and realizing they’ve left him home alone again. He tells no one when his parents leave him because he’s afraid of being taken to a terrible place, like kid jail or an orphanage. 

Camille and Raymond Richards are medical missionaries who work at a nearby clinic. As they walk the roads of a poor community in the Mississippi Delta area of Memphis, Tennessee, she senses God may have more in store for them than their current ministry.

While passing out toys to children, they meet Clayton, and Camille is immediately drawn to him. She envisions him as their son, but keeps that to herself because that’s just crazy. He has parents, and she’s pregnant with their first child. Their paths cross several times, intensifying Camille’s prayers for the boy.

You’ll have to read the story to hear how God works behind the scenes and find out their journey’s outcome.

In the novel I’m working on, Clayton is twenty-eight, loves Jesus, and works as a behavioral psychologist and homeless shelter manager. But he’s still single and longs to get married and have a family.

He meets Amanda Wright, who is a hot mess. She has a sordid past she keeps buried at all costs because when she told her mayor husband her secret, he stormed out angry and died in an accident.

Amanda’s abusive stepfather shows up, threatening to expose her past unless she gives him money. She agrees to his demands but determines to pay penance for her past sins, protect innocent children from the childhood she endured, and honor her late husband’s community service legacy by becoming a court-appointed special advocate for foster children.

She and Clayton meet and learn they are working on the same court case. As their lives intertwine, a shelter resident uncovers a link to Amanda’s past through a carved angel keepsake, and Amanda is thrust headlong into the past she seeks to escape.

Aspects of foster care, adoption, addictions, abuse, abortion, death, and an interracial relationship bring real issues to the surface. You’ll find God’s love, grace and forgiveness throughout and, of course, hope.

I’ve worked on this story for the past three years and have fallen in love with these characters and their journey. I hope readers will too.

I've read Behind the Scenes. It's a wonderful, uplifting story readers will enjoy. I look forward to reading your work-in-progress. How can folks get a copy of Behind the Scenes?

Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed Behind the Scenes. I offer the story free as a thank you to my newsletter subscribers. The Hope Collective newsletter contains lots of hope-filled fiction content and giveaways and goes out once a month, so it won’t overwhelm your email inbox. Readers who are interested can subscribe here.

You've won some awards. Can you tell us a bit about those and why it's important for writers to enter contests?

Contests not only build a writer’s confidence when we place or win and give us a positive addition to our writing resume, but the feedback and critique from experienced authors and other professionals is invaluable in helping us grow and better learn the craft.

With no idea what I was doing, I started writing my first novel in the fall of 2018 during Nanowrimo. In about three months, I had finished the first, very messy and way too long, draft. A couple of months later, I signed up for my first writer’s conference and entered their contest for unpublished writers. To say it shocked me to win second place is an understatement. 

I met with an agent at that conference who looked at a sample of my writing and encouraged me to keep entering contests. His praise for my writing, and the second-place win, gave me confirmation to keep moving forward and keep entering contests.

In the fall of 2019, I was a double finalist and winner of the ACFW First Impressions contest, another shocker.

I entered multiple contests in 2020 and didn’t place in any of them. It was a discouraging year in a lot of areas of my life, so maybe God allowed me to be a Genesis finalist in 2021 for a boost to keep plugging onward in this publishing journey.

Where can people find out more about you?

Social media is great, and I love interacting with people there, but because of the algorithms, most of my followers and friends never see my posts. The best way to learn more about me and keep up with my writing journey is through my website and newsletter. If you’re interested in connecting, you can find and follow me at the links below.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Penny. I appreciate your support and friendship. God bless you and your readers!


Newsletter and/or Blog Sign up







As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena understands how important hope is to daily life. That’s why she’s passionate about inspiring others through writing hope-filled fiction and highlighting other Christian authors on her blog. 

Deena is an active member of ACFW and two Virginia writer groups, board member of ACFW Virginia, founder of the Marathon online writer’s group, 2019 Foundations contest finalist, 2019 First Impressions contest double finalist and winner, and 2021 Genesis contest finalist.

She lives with her husband near the coast in beautiful Virginia. When she’s not writing, reading, or serving in her church, you’ll find her hanging out with family and friends and doting on her seven grandchildren.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Blessed by the ACFW Conference

Saturday September 14, I stepped into the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis. I couldn’t believe I was finally attending the writer’s conference that I’d prepared for for months, years really. Even with all the preparation, I still had butterflies fluttering.

At breakfast I met several writers from Ohio and Kentucky. What a joy to meet folks who live in my area. When we finished eating, the worship leaders led us in uplifting praise that echoed the reason we met together. 

After breakfast, I made my way to the third floor where classes and appointments took place. To calm my nerves, I sat in the hallway organizing the information for my appointments with an agent and editors. As I sat on the hotel’s bench, doubts crept in—did I really think I was ready to talk to editors? God heard me. He sent a lovely woman who sat with me and lifted me in prayer. She even let me practice my pitch. She’d come to the conference with her writer husband. Earlier she asked God to lead her to people she could pray with, who might need encouraged. I think I encountered an angel in disguise. What a blessing.

My first two appointments were in the morning. As I waited in line to meet with an agent, I ran into Anita Higman, a very talented author. She wished me well as I walked down the hall
Anita Higman & me
to the agent appointment. I wasn't a fit for the agent’s author list, but she did compliment my writing. Anita was kind enough to check with me after my meeting. Another blessing. I met with an editor just before lunch and I’ll just say that one was good practice. 

At lunch, I decided to sit at a table in the back of the room and prayed God would send me who I needed to meet. He sent two lovely young women and the editor I would be meeting at the end of the day. We all chatted about what we wrote, where we lived, movies and books and enjoyed the good company. God knew that I needed that boost of confidence. 
After lunch, I sat in on a class about the first fifty pages. The teacher shared with honesty and humor how to capture the reader’s attention right from the beginning. Then I met Deborah Raney, another wonderful, seasoned author. She’s as sweet as I imagined, and her class met all my expectations. I left Deb’s class for my last appointment of the day.
Deb Raney & me

Talking with the editor was fun. She asked me several questions about my characters and where they lived. I loved telling her about them. The people I’d imagined for years came to life. I walked away with a feeling of peace. The blessings continued. One of the ladies I sat with at lunch checked to see how the interview went. She did not know me until we ate lunch together. Yet, she cared enough to see how my appointment went. God's people are amazing. I walked away from the conference blessed in ways that I never dreamed.

In all of this wonder-filled experience, I can’t forget the people who prepared the conference, those who prayed for me for weeks or my husband who chauffeured me to Indy and back. We had a great time. Without a doubt I would love to do this again.