How did you get the idea for your current series "Sister to Sister"?

I am the oldest of three sisters, and my sisters are some of the most incredible, talented women you’ll ever meet. Besides, they’re funny, and we’re all three a little bit weird. I think our relationship is something special. We’ve been through some tough times together, but we’ve learned that we can rely on one another, and on the strength of our relationships. I wanted to portray that in fiction, so I came up with the idea for the Sister-to-Sister series.

 How did you come up with the idea to write Just as I am? It's such a refreshing, fun and powerful story? I loved the innocence of it.

Thank you! Since Just As I Am was my first novel, it will always be a very special book. The inspiration for that story was a visiting singer in my church. She had a pierced lip, and this was several years before facial jewelry became a common sight in churches. I wanted to explore how a contemporary young woman like her lived out her faith, but I really didn’t want to pierce my lip to find out personally. So I created a character who did! Just As I Am is the story of a purple-haired young woman who becomes a Christian in her mama’s country church. She doesn’t change her hair color, or remove her nose ring or lip stud, even though the conservative congregation thinks she should. Instead, God’s changes happen on the inside, and soon they overflow into the world around her.

Is being an author everything you thought it woudl be? If not, what has surprised you?
Being an author is every bit as rewarding as I hoped it would be. There are stresses, of course, as there are with every job. But there’s also the incredible reward of seeing the direct result of all my hard work when readers write to tell me how my story touched their hearts.

One thing did surprise me about the publishing industry. I didn’t realize how much influence and weight the marketing department has on the finished product. Things like the title and cover and back cover description. Actually, I was relieved to discover that, because they certainly have more expertise about those things than I do! I’m happy to leave my “baby” in their capable hands, so they can dress her up to face the public.

Out of all the characters you've written about which one is most like you? Why?

Every character I’ve written has a piece of me, some to a greater extent than others. I don’t know how other writers do it, but I find putting something of myself into a character is the only way I can make her realistic enough to resonate with readers.

Probably the two who are the most like me are Mayla Strong (of Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla) and Tori Sanderson of Third Time’s a Charm. Mayla is like me in her headstrong but genuine approach to finding a way to serve the Lord. (It isn’t always easy to figure out how to do that!) And Tori’s struggles to find balance between a stressful job and her family and church obligations are ones I’ve battled. Plus, Tori has a hard time accepting the fact that God loves her unconditionally, and that He will never leave her. Well, really, all three of the Sanderson sisters in the Sister-to-Sister Series are a lot like me in different ways.

You've written more for the adult crowd now with books like, Murder by Mushroom, Age Before Beauty, Third Times a Charm, A Taste of Murder etc.? Was it easy or hard to make that change? Please explain.

It wasn’t difficult at all, because I didn’t set out to write Just As I Am for a younger audience. The reason teens embraced the book is because of the issues Mayla deals with. They’re contemporary issues that teenagers deal with today -- but so do people of all ages. Actually, most of the emails and letters I’ve received from readers of Just As I Am are from older people who tell me the book gave them a different perspective to consider about some of those issues.

It’s interesting when I realize that Mayla is 22 when Just As I Am takes place. Tori is 24 in Third Time’s a Charm. Jackie Hoffner is 24 in Murder by Mushroom. In fact, the oldest character I’ve written so far is Allie in Age before Beauty, and she’s still in her 20’s. I guess I just like the conflicts that people in their 20’s encounter, and I think they’re ones that readers of all ages can relate to.

Did you come up with the title of this book Just As I am? If not what was the working title?

I’ve been lucky. Of the ten books I’ve had published so far (with three more to come! Yay!), the titles of five of them have been my originals. And four of the others have been alternate titles I’ve suggested to the publisher. Just As I Am was originally Uniquely Mayla, which I thought went well with the title of the sequel, Sincerely Mayla. But I really liked Just As I Am too, so I was glad that one changed. The titles of the Sister-to-Sister Series have all been my original titles – Stuck in the Middle, Age before Beauty, and Third Time’s a Charm.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? Do Tell!!

I just received a contract for my thirteenth novel, a romantic suspense book about a young woman who gets pulled into a deadly game of wits between ten wealthy businessmen. That book (which doesn’t have a title yet) will be out in February 2011.

But between now and then, I have two more books coming out. A Daughter’s Legacy will hit bookstores in May. That’s a romance novel set in a zoo, and it was a lot of fun to write – and to research! And then in October of 2010, Into the Deep will be released. That’s a romantic suspense book with a scuba diving theme – complete with sharks!


1. You have a chance to hang out with TWO people alive or dead in the history of the world, (NOT including Jesus) who would you pick and what would you do?
I would love to go diving and sailing with Jacques Cousteau, because I love the ocean. Gosh, are you sure I can’t ask Jesus to come along? If a storm comes up, He’d be really good to have onboard! And the second person I’d like to hang out with is the Apostle John, because I want to learn to love like he did.

2. You find yourself in a life threatening situation and you need someone to save you, who would you pick and why? You can be creative and pick anyone from books, movies, TV etc. the sky is the limit.

Aslan, the lion from C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. I’d ask him to take me away to Narnia, the world of my fantasies and dreams as a child.

3. What movie impacted you as a child? Why?
I loved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. For some reason, I adored books and movies where children from our world get into another world. Maybe it was my way of escaping from reality.

4. You have a chance to use a time machine and go back and witness TWO events in the history of the world, what would you pick and why

Well, of course I would want to witness the birth of Jesus. Uh… okay, not the actual birth, because Mary probably wouldn’t want a lot of spectators for that. But I would love to be there when the angels appeared to the shepherds, and I’d love to go with them to find the stable and bow down before the baby King.

I’d also like to witness the parting of the Red Sea, and the Israelites escape from Egypt, because that was such an incredibly dramatic miracle that formed the foundation of much of the Israelites’ relationship with God. Of all the miracles God performed for the Jewish people, that’s the one that is referred to over and over again. And I’d like to see if Cecil B. DeMille came anywhere close to getting it right in The Ten Commandments!

6. What T.V. shows were you most passionate about growing up? You know the ones that you couldn't miss each week? If you didn't watch T.V. but read please name 4 of your favorite books you read as a kid!
Well, I don’t know if I was passionate about them, but I loved The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. And I looked forward to Sunday evenings, because the whole family gathered in front of the television to watch The Wonderful World of Disney.

7. What is the last movie you saw in a threatre? Did you like it and if you had snacks what did you have?

Avatar, and I loved it! Amazing visuals, and a story of hope and social conscience. I had chocolate covered peanuts, which is my staple when going to the movie theater. I would have had popcorn too, except I ate lunch right before the movie started so I was full. But there’s always room for chocolate!


Thanks for having me as a guest. It’s been a fun interview! I hope you’ll let me know what you think of the Sister-to-Sister series.


Virginia (Ginny) Smith

I'll tell you right now Ginny--I ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH!! CONGRATS GINNY on WINNING the ACFW BOOK PICK for MAY 2010. I look forward to our discussion time and the "Live" on line author chat we will have with you JUNE 7th.  ALL MY READERS ARE WELCOME to join us for the discussion and "live" chat with Ginny. It's FREE and EASY!! JOIN US  by going to go under ACFW BOOK CLUB. You can easily join the book club and then join the chat.

I have TWO GIVE AWAYS.  Ginny is giving away her new book THIRD TIMES A CHARM.  I'm giving away STUCK IN THE MIDDLE--the FIRST book in this really fun, funny, thought provoking, honest series about sisters. I've enjoyed  these books emensley.

LEAVE A COMMENT about the interview to be ENTERED into the contest. PLEASE leave CONTACT INFORMATION so that I can contact you if you win.


CONGRATS GOES TO Jane Maritz who  won Stuck in the Middle

and  Wyndy Callahan who won Third Times A Charm

Thanks to everyone that stopped by and encouraged Virginia. This is really a fun but heart felt series I really enjoyed. Hope you all can join us for the ACFW discussion of Virginia's book next month!!!

Thanks Virginia for letting us get to know you and your books. I'm looking forward to discussion your book THIRD TIMES A CHARM for ACFW book Club.  I'd Like EVERYONE that can JOIN US for the chat.


Nora :D


  1. I am also one of three girls! So I know that I will enjoy this series! Funny thing is that I have been hanging on to Age Before Beauty until I purchase Stuck in the Middle, so it would be perfect if I could just win it :-)
    Also, I grew up with the same T.V. shows; The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family and Sunday evenings with The World of Disney! I just love it when the authors have something in common with me!

    Thank you for the great interview!

    Lucie Buchert

    LucieInCA at aol dot com

  2. i really liked the interview with Virginia Smith. I liked how she wrote about sisters- coming from a house full with 4 sisters. Please put my name for the books. I would love to read her other books. Betsy

  3. Hello! Thanks for the chance to win. I already have Third Times a Charm, but would love to win the first one!


  4. I'm anxious to read Virginia's books. I am the only girl in my family, but love to read about groups of sisters.


  5. Looks like we had similar taste in TV shows as kids :)

  6. I actually read the 2nd book to the series without realizing it was a series and loved it. Now I want to read the first and third book. Please enter me in the giveaway.


  7. I've read Ginny's mysteries, but not her Sisters series. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  8. Loved the interview. I think I would like to read all of her books. They all sound so interesting as does Virginia herself.

    Gail Mundy

  9. Great interview! I'm already looking forward to your thirteenth novel.

  10. Wonderful interview! I enjoyed getting to know Virginia Smith better. I also loved watching The Partridge Family, Brady Bunch and The Wonderful World of Disney on tv while I was growing up. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!


  11. a fabulous interview/posting...i would LOVE to read either book...thanks for the opportunity.


  12. I just reviewed Third Time's a Charm and would love to read Stuck in the Middle!

    We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings:

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  13. I always love your interviews. The variety of questions is always a delight.

  14. Loved the interview. All the books I've read by Ginny are great! I read where she saw Avatar - so did I and I really liked it. Not necessarily because of the story, but the visuals were beautiful in 3D. The colors of the forest were so lovely to look at. Please sign me up - maybe I can win the May book club selection!
    Deborah M.

  15. I love to read about sisters. I have a sister and the relationship we share is very special. I wrote a story about it and it was accepted into the Chicken Soup Series. This book sounds like it's righy up my alley. My fingers are crossed. I'd love to read the series.


  16. I love Ginny's books! They have touched my heart in so many ways. I would love a chance to win these books. Blessings to you both!

  17. Great interview. I liked the Brady Bunch too!

    ebeandebe at gmail dot com

  18. I love having a peek inside a writers mind.

    rhondastruthers atyahoo dot ca

  19. Thanks for offering these books. I have the first book and would love to win the 3rd book.

  20. I don't have any sisters so I always find sister books interesting in a voyeur type of way. :) I love mysteries and am looking forward to Murder by Mushroom.

    Please enter me in the draw.

    wyndyc at gmail dot com

  21. CONGRATS GOES TO Jane Maritz who won Stuck in the Middle

    and Wyndy Callahan who won Third Times A Charm

    Thanks to everyone that stopped by and encouraged Virginia. This is really a fun but heart felt series I really enjoyed. Hope you all can join us for the ACFW discussion of Virginia's book next month!!!

    THANKS VIRGINIA for the GIVE AWAY and THIS OPPORTUNITY to get to know you and your books better.

    Blessings everyone

    Nora :D