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Reflecting with Award-Winning Actor & Author: Torry Martin

Torry JRO 2by Sally Matheny

It’s ten weeks until “Shine!” time at the 2015 Write2Ignite Writers’ Conference. We’re preparing for fantastic workshops, led by bright stars of the writing profession.

While we’re waiting for the big weekend to arrive, we’ll feature some reflections of those stars on the blog.

This week’s shining star interview is with award-winning actor, screenwriter, and producer, Torry Martin. He’s also a talented author and comedian.

A former Alaska resident, Torry now makes his haven in Tennessee. He kindly took a short break from his busy schedule of speaking, instructing, and filmmaking to answer a few questions.

 

Torry, the year has flown by since we saw you at last year’s Write2Ignite Conference. What were three of your favorite moments in 2014?

  • Getting the opportunity to act in the movies “Mountaintop” written by Robert Whitlow and “Skid” by Rene Gutteridge.
  • Completing the romantic-comedy screenplay of “So Broken Up” [and] that my writing partner and I were hired to write for Vetter Brothers Production.
  • Receiving a book contract from Harvest House Publishers for my book “Of Moose and Men”.

 

What was your first paying job? How old were you?

My first paying job was cleaning horse stalls. I was twelve. If you mean as a writer, my first book was published by Lillenas Drama Publishers when I was not twelve. Both jobs still involved sifting through manure.

 

At what point in your life did you know you wanted to pursue writing?

When I wrote my first spec script for the TV show “Roseanne” and it was received favorably. Roseanne said in a very monotone and very nasal way- “Yer funny.”

 

Looking back over your writing journey, what is one thing you wish you had known earlier?

That you don’t need an agent to get published and that networking is a vital skill.

 

What do you hope to learn this year?

How to focus more on God and not get distracted with my career.

 

Do you remember one of your favorite books from your childhood? What made it special?

My favorite book of all time is “Anne of Green Gables”. L.M. Montgomery told a fascinating and funny story and created a whole community that I still love. Her characters felt so alive to me that I could almost hear them breathing.

 

What was one of your favorite books when you were a teen?

“The Chosen” by Chaim Potok. I must have read it 4-5 times. I loved the language and the emotional depth of the characters. Plus, it was a book about friendship and since I was a nerdy loner, I liked living vicariously through the characters.

 

If you were awarded one day to talk with three authors (from any time period), whom would you choose?

L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, John Wayne. (Okay, so John Wayne never wrote a book but he has had a lot of them written about him and I think that should count.) If you are going to be a stickler then I will change that answer to Beatrix Potter. (But only if she looks like Renee Zellweger in the movie “Miss Potter”.) If she doesn’t look like Renee, then I change the answer to Mark Twain.

 

The theme for Write2Ignite 2015 is “Shine!” What three helpful hints would you recommend to writers to make their work shine?

  • Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
  • Be willing to make yourself vulnerable in what you write. It will have a more sincere emotional connection with the audience.
  • Don’t think of your book as your baby. You will have to do things to your book that are illegal to do to babies.

 

Torry, Roseanne was right. Yer funny. Thanks, for taking time out to share with us. We look forward to seeing you in March.

Friends, you can catch more of Torry’s comedy and wisdom in the following workshops at this year’s conference:

“Comedy Shorts for Stage or Screen” (Teen Track & Adult Track)

“Creating a Compelling Protagonist and Antagonist” (Teen Track)

“Write For Your Life”  (Teen Track)

To catch up with Torry’s latest antics and God’s blessings visit Torry’s facebook page.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://write2ignite.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Sally-Matheny-1F1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Encouraging others is Sally Matheny’s mission in life. She enjoys “reflecting on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light.” A member of SCBWI and ACW, her articles have appeared in children’s magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr., Cobblestone’s Appleseeds, and in the international devotional Keys for Kids. Sally also writes articles on parenting, homeschooling, and Christian living for on-line publications as well as print publications such as Practical Homeschooling, The Greenhouse Report, and Homeschooling Today. One of Sally’s most rewarding projects was writing Who is Jesus?, a VBS evangelism curriculum for missionaries introducing Jesus to children. A former public school teacher, with a M.Ed., Sally has homeschooled for over 15 years. Married for over twenty-five years, she and her husband make their home in western North Carolina. Their greatest blessings are their two daughters and one son. Find encouragement from Sally on her blog: www.sallymatheny.blogspot.com/ and Twitter: @sally_matheny [/author_info] [/author]

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Writers Giving Back and Building Up: Interview with Authors Janice D. Green and Soraya D. Coffelt

Occasionally, writers, both beginning and seasoned, will donate a portion of their work. Some writers forgo payment in order to build their publishing credits. Others desire to give back to their communities. Several view it as a “tithing” of their talents. This is a tale of two writers who give back: one self-published and the other traditionally published. Their stories vary, but each writer is making sacrificial choices to build up God’s kingdom.

Janice D. Green

Janice Green, a retired school librarian and hand appliqué quilter, desired to write children’s Bible storybooks. Initially she began writing a Bible storybook, using an ABC format. Overwhelmed by the vast number of stories to choose from, Janice narrowed it down to one story—God’s creation of the world.
She says, “I planned to use quilted illustrations from the very beginning. I have a vision of children sleeping under quilts with Bible story pictures on them, and asking to hear the stories at bedtime. I could use this book to test the waters. ”
 
Janice persevered. Finally, in 2011, Janice self-published her first book, The Creation. She learned many things during her first publication.
 
IMG_2427e-TheCreation-200-150x150“When I published The Creation I followed the advice of a well-intentioned friend and ordered over 2,000 copies to get a better per-copy price,” Janice says. “What I didn’t understand was how difficult it is to get self-published books into Christian bookstores. And, I totally underestimated the importance of expensive publicity. I still have about 1,300 copies stored under my bed and under the bed in my guest bedroom.”
 
Eager to get her book about God’s amazing creation into the little hands of children, Janice made a sacrificial decision. She says, “I would rather see these books in the hands of children whose parents can’t afford to buy them, than under my beds. I have sold cases (62 books) at ridiculously low prices to several groups who were going on mission trips. Because of my shallow pockets coupled with SC sales tax laws, I cannot afford to ‘give’ them away or I have to pay sales tax on each book. But if I sell them, the sales tax is based on the price we agree upon.”
 
Janice’s books are making their way across the country. One case of books went to Red Bird Mission in Kentucky with a team of volunteer workers from Bennettsville, SC. Another case went to Helping Hands Ministry in McAllen, Texas. Several books traveled to a VBS in one of the poorest areas of western North Carolina, and more arrived at a large VBS mission near Janice’s home. She has also supplied several copies for fundraisers and for a children’s hospital.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA missionary, while on a trip to Vermont, witnessed children receiving Janice’s books. “Many of the children in the rural area, where we served, knew nothing about Jesus Christ. Most had never heard of a Bible. Eager to learn more about God, they were thrilled to receive Janice’s book. The children were amazed we cared enough to bring each of them a brand new book.”
Janice says she learned a great deal from her first publishing experience and did things a bit differently with her second book, The First Christmas. It released in 2012, as a print-on-demand book.
“It didn’t require as much up-front investment, and I don’t need to store them under my beds,” Janice says. “I did not create quilted illustrations for my second book. My illustrator, Violet Vandor, is from Romania, and I am thrilled with her illustrations.”
However, because this book is print-on-demand, Janice can’t be as liberal with greatly reduced prices. Knowing her books are making a difference is a blessing. There are other blessings as well. Often, when Janice has given The Creation at reduced prices for missions, VBS and Mission Team volunteers purchase additional copies at full price for their own children.

Soraya D. Coffelt

Soraya Coffelt photoThe second writer, Soraya D. Coffelt, is a lawyer and former judge. While serving in children’s ministry for over fifteen years, Soraya discovered a love for sharing the gospel with children.

Her first book, It’s Not About You, Mr. Santa Claus, was originally written as a play for her church. One of Soraya’s two sons played a young boy who writes a letter to Santa and narrates the story of Jesus’s birth.

Soraya thought about self-publishing but found an agent (Ms. Karen Hardin of Priority PR Group & Literary Agency) who located a publisher. James Morgan Publishing released the book in November 2014. Two more of Soraya’s books are slated for release in 2015.

It's Not About You, Mr. Santa ClausOne unique aspect of Soraya’s book sales is that all proceeds will go to a nonprofit foundation Soraya formed. Her foundation, As the Stars of the Sky Foundation, Inc., seeks to help meet the needs of children in the US and around the world. Soraya’s missionary work in Honduras and the Amazon River region of Peru prompted the foundation’s creation.

Janice and Soraya are two writers who have a heart for building God’s kingdom. Each goes about it differently but has the same purpose in mind.

What about you, dear writer? How are you giving back and building up God’s kingdom?

Connect with Janice D. Green at www.JaniceDGreen.com and at www.honeycombadventures.com.

Visit Soraya’s website at www.asthestarsofthesky.org.

***

Sally Matheny leaning on a treeEncouraging others is Sally Matheny’s mission in life. She enjoys “reflecting on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light.” A member of SCBWI and ACW, her articles have appeared in children’s magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr., Cobblestone’s Appleseeds, and in the international devotional Keys for Kids. Sally also writes articles on parenting, homeschooling, and Christian living for on-line publications as well as print publications such as Practical Homeschooling, The Greenhouse Report, and Homeschooling Today. One of Sally’s most rewarding projects was writing Who is Jesus?, a VBS evangelism curriculum for missionaries introducing Jesus to children. A former public school teacher, with a M.Ed., Sally has homeschooled for over 15 years. Married for over twenty-five years, she and her husband make their home in western North Carolina. Their greatest blessings are their two daughters and one son. Find encouragement from Sally on her blog: www.sallymatheny.blogspot.com/ and Twitter: @sally_matheny.