by Sally Matheny
Vonda Skelton shines the light of Christ through various art forms. The author of four books, a blog, and numerous magazine articles, Vonda also serves as a playwright. Her contagious enthusiasm flows into her audiences as she speaks at churches and schools, teaches at her own Christian Communicators Conferences and at many other conferences.
We’re blessed to have this multi-faceted and talented woman join us at Write2Ignite this year. Vonda will present two workshops: “Scriptwriting: Biblical Truth from the Stage” and “Share Your Books and Increase Your Income with School Programs.”
Currently, Vonda is writing a screenplay and gearing up to teach at several conferences but she took a moment to chat with us.
Vonda, what was your first paying job? How old were you?
From the time I can remember, I’ve always worked. As a seven-year-old, I opened a lemonade stand all by myself. However, the Health Department (AKA my mom) shut me down during my grand opening. How was a seven-year-old supposed to know that you couldn’t have a community Mason jar for your customers to use in sequence without washing? I made a whopping 15 cents before Ruth-less closed my doors.
Soon after that embarrassingly public shaming, I was assigned the role of washing apples in my dad’s candy-apple production line for Skinner’s Concession Stand. It wasn’t long before he recognized my talent and I graduated to lead candy-apple and cotton candy wrapper. By 8 or 9, I began selling my own loom-kit potholders in my grandmother’s cloth shop. Then, at 12 years old, my daddy set me up in my own business, Jewelry by Vonda Marie. He would purchase cheap, tangled earrings for about $2 per dozen, we’d de-tangle them and attach them to velveteen earring holders, and sell for $0.99 each. I made a killing.
Then I became an author and my wealthy lifestyle was over.
You’re hilarious. Didn’t Bitsy, in Bitsy and the Mystery of Hilton Head Island, work in a concession stand? I loved that book.
Yes, the concession stand thread was taken from real life. In each of the Bitsy books, there’s something about one of my daddy’s businesses.
At what point in your life did you know you wanted to pursue writing?
From the moment I created my first poem in first grade. None of the teachers could believe a little first grader had written such a masterpiece! I memorized the entire thing and still remember it today:
I have a ball.
The ball rolled down the hall.
It bumped into the wall.
In college, I decided that one day I was going to write a book. One day I woke up, realized I was 40 years old, and had never written anything. So I sat down and wrote my first book.
Was the book published?
I was 42 years old when I actually finished the first book (Tybee Island), but it wasn’t published until 10 years later!
That offers hope to those of us beginning our writing journeys later in life. Looking back over your writing journey, what is one thing you wish you had known earlier?
That there are no shortcuts. Good, publishable writing takes an investment of time, money, and dedication to learning the craft and developing a thick skin.
The theme for Write2Ignite 2015 is “Shine.” What three helpful hints would you recommend to writers to make their work shine?
You’ll shine bright if you come with a humble attitude, a servant’s heart, and a willingness to learn.
Thanks for sharing with us, Vonda. We can’t wait to see you at Write2Ignite!
Readers, have you registered for the conference yet? You don’t want to miss Vonda and all the other wonderful presenters!
In the meantime, you can connect with Vonda at
www.VondaSkelton.com (includes the Christian Writer’s Den)
The MoGo7000 Challenge, where you can write your book and have a chance to win $100! It’s free! http://www.vondaskelton.com/writer/mogo7000
- My books are all available in online stores. For signed and personalized copies, check them out at my Store: http://www.vondaskelton.com/store
- Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe (women’s non-fiction)
- The Bitsy Burroughs Mysteries for boys and girls 8-13yo
- Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island
- Bitsy and the Mystery at Amelia Island
- Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://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 freelance writer and blogger, Sally’s ordinary days are blessed with her pastor-hubby of 25+ years, three children, and a home that can’t stay clean for more than seventeen minutes. Find encouragement from Sally on her blog: http://www.sallymatheny.blogspot.com/ and Twitter: @sally_matheny [/author_info] [/author]