Saturday, October 8, 2016

Grits and Gumbo for Church. Welcome, Martin Wiles!

I'm thrilled to introduce all of you to a new friend, Martin Wiles. Be sure to check out this nonfiction book and put it on your list to read. I'm sure you won't be sorry!

How long have you known that you were a writer?  Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I played around with writing a little when I was in college. For some reason, I began writing poetry. Poetry had never been a genre of literature I read earlier in my life, so I’m not quite sure why I was pulled in this direction. When my father died in 2009, I became serious about writing. How the two were connected, I’m not sure, but I believe I received a clear call at that moment. My father never wrote anything except the sermons he preached and the Bible studies he taught. Nor did he ever have anything published. Though I have written a few articles, most of my writing—which began at that point, is devotional in nature.

How do you spend your writing days?  Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day?  

My personal writing consists of five days each week: Monday through Friday. I think every writer needs a day or two off to refresh. My morning routine is to eat breakfast and then head to my computer. Since I’m a devotional writer, my goal is to write around 400 words each morning. I am also a freelance editor, so I spend a part of my day editing the devotions of other writers. I see this as my contribution to help writers succeed. Doing so keeps me sharp on my editing and proofing skills which in turn helps me become a better writer. 

You recently had another book published.  Would you take this time to describe it to us?  How and where can readers buy your books?

My most recent book—Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church, was published by SonRise Devotionals, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This is a follow up to Grits and Grace and God, also published by LPC three years ago. Both books have a Southern theme. The most recent contains 30 devotions which have stories about my years growing up as a preacher’s kid—along with the practical spiritual application I learned. 

Readers can purchase the book from LPC (, Amazon (, and Barnes and Noble (

Where do you get ideas?  

My ideas come from real life and my personal experiences. I write short devotions because I believe more people will read something brief. Studies about our decreasing attention spans support my philosophy. God has taken me on a number of unpleasant journeys during my lifetime, but he has also taught me some important spiritual and life lessons along the way. I attempt to share these with readers who may be experiencing similar occurrences in their life. I also see spiritual lessons all around me every day through my life experiences and those of others. 

Do you ever feel like giving up?  Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer.  How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?  Who’s inspired you the most?

  • One of the most discouraging things about having my writing published is the editing process. Since I’m a freelance editor myself, I know how frustrating it can be for an author to please an editor. For me, once I’ve written what was on my heart, it’s difficult to change anything, but over the years I’ve learned to take an editor’s advice whether I enjoy it or not. The finished product is always better. 
  • Another frustration is the rejections. They seem to mount up quicker than the acceptances do. This too just comes with the territory. 
  • And I suppose the temptation to be jealous of other writers is also a frustration. Through the advice of sound Christian authors and editors, I’ve also learned to let go of the jealousy and instead to be glad about what God does for every author. 

The flip side of rejections is the challenge to find a publisher who will publish my book, accept my article, or publish one or more of my devotions. When the acceptance letters come or the contract arrives, the sweat of the creative process becomes worth it. 

Would you explain how you “chose” (or was chosen by) a publisher? Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

I had been affiliated with Christian Devotions for a couple of years by way of submitting devotions to their website and by attending their annual writer’s conference at The Cove. When Eddie Jones founded Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, I approached him about the possibility of publishing one of my devotional books. He agreed and chose the Southern theme. My original book was a compilation of 365 devotions. Due to cost and sale ability, Eddie decided to divide it into three works. Grits and Grace and God was the first, and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church is the second. Whether the third will be published, I’m not sure. It may depend on sales.

I doubt I will ever sit back, relax, and be satisfied. My personality bucks against it. I will continue writing and posting to my website—whether another book is published or not. 

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out?   Anything else you’d like to share?  Promotional information?

Social media links: 


About Martin:
Martin lives in Greenwood, SC. He and his wife, Michelle, are the founders of Love Lines from God ( He is an author, minister, and freelance editor. His most recent book, Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church, is available on Amazon. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (


Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole is an award winning author and enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 



  1. Thank you for a great interview. I love the title of this book!

  2. I would have to Google to find out exactly what 'grits and gumbo' are. (I do have a rough idea.) Not something eaten in my part of the world.

  3. I always enjoy learning about new books that feature devotions. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am a huge devotional fan. Nice to meet you, Martin.

  5. Thanks for a nice interview with Martin. I enjoy shorter devotional books than the norm of 365 devotions. I read several each day.

  6. Great interview! What I love about Martin's devotionals is how down-to-earth and applicable they are to daily life--like a breath of fresh air. They give you a new and better perspective on life.