Saturday, May 28, 2016
Interview with Janet W. Ferguson, author of Leaving Oxford
Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.
Welcome Janet! We're so glad you could visit us today.
Thank you so much for inviting me! I’m excited to be here!
We'll start at the beginning. What made you decide to become a writer?
I had an idea for a story in my head for seven years before I started the first book. I wanted to share an encouraging story for people with serious anxiety problems. I finally made myself sit down and write it after both my parents passed away in 2012. I didn’t want to put things off any more.
I know that feeling. It was after the death of a young friend that I started writing again. It is interesting what inspires us. Where did the inspiration for your latest book come from?
The first story I wrote, Leaving Oxford, came through my own experience of being in a bad car accident. I started having panic attacks while driving after the accident. I’m really open about my experience and found out that so many other people are plagued by either anxiety or depressive disorders. I knew that God had still been able to use me as a children’s minister, a youth volunteer, and in so many other ways despite my weakness. I wanted other people to know they weren’t alone, and they were still useful in God’s kingdom.
What a amazing message and so important. How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing?
Most of us have baggage, and so I give my characters heavy baggage. Many of my characters are prodigals. They’ve been to church at some point, know right and wrong, but have chosen the wrong path for whatever reason. I like to show God working through the trials in the character’s lives (whether they caused the situation or not) and show how He gently leads them back home.
What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?
I hope and pray that readers are encouraged to draw closer to the Lord and to trust Him. His ways are so much better than ours, but it’s hard to see that sometimes with our human eyes. Also, you are never too lost for Him to find and save you.
Amen! I almost want to end on that note, but tell us more about the story, first. What is one of your favorite scenes in Leaving Oxford?
I think my favorite scene is the hero’s decision to follow God. Conversions always make me cry. My second favorite would probably be his proposal. There’s nothing like a good proposal!
Alright...I feel the need to "amen" that too. I do love a good proposal! What are you working on next?
Book 2 in the Southern Heart Series, Going Up South, releases June 15! I’m frantically getting it ready to publish. My work in progress to release this fall is a fun story (Book 4 in the series) called Blown Together. It’s set in Mobile, Alabama with two people who are terrible at dating, and one of them has a hairless cat called Mr. Darcy. I think it’s my funniest story.
Any cat named Mr. Darcy would probably make for a funny story, but a hairless one... Sounds like a fun read, and I for one, look forward to reading more of your works. Thank you so much for being with us!
Here is the back cover blurb for Leaving Oxford:
Escaping home to Oxford, Mississippi, seemed like a good idea. Until it wasn’t.
A year after a tragic accident in Los Angeles flipped her world upside down, advertising guru Sarah Beth LeClair is still hiding away in her charming hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. And she may well be stuck there forever. Suffering from panic attacks, she prays for healing. Instead, her answer comes in the form of an arrogant football coach and an ugly puppy.
Former celebrity college quarterback Jess McCoy dreamed of playing pro football. One freak hit destroyed his chances. Although he enjoys his work as the university’s offensive coordinator, his aspirations have shifted to coaching at the highest level. His plans of moving up are finally coming together—until he falls for a woman who won’t leave town.
As the deadline for Jess’s decision on his dream career looms, the bars around Sarah Beth’s heart only grow stronger. But it's time to make a decision about leaving Oxford.