Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Q & A with author Michelle Stimpson

As promised yesterday, today you have the chance to learn a bit more about Michelle Stimpson, author of Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? (and several works of fiction too).  I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Michelle, and that you’ll check out her books (I know I will be!)


Tell us a little about yourself.

CroppedM_op_450x600 I’m a mom, a wife, a writer, a dog-owner, a believer, an educator…okay, what am I not? I’ve been writing regularly (via journal) since I was twelve, and my mom says I always had my nose in a book when I was in elementary school.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

I used to be Chuck E. Cheese. That uniform is hot! And mean teenagers pull your tail, literally.

Can you give us a quick overview of your book, Did I Marry the Wrong Guy?

DidIMarry What wife hasn’t second-guessed herself after a heated discussion or yet another curious incident of the missing remote control? In addition to the title’s question, this book discusses those unspoken thoughts lurking in the back of even Christian women’s minds, such as:

  • We’ve Grown Apart
  • I’m Just Not That Into Sex
  • I Miss the Thrill of Being Single
  • Watching My Parents Messed Me Up

While these silent ponderings might seem harmless, they have the potential to create a negative undercurrent of resentment within a wife if not specifically addressed in prayer. Through this spinoff of my popular Christian fiction novel, The Good Stuff, I tackle tough questions about wifehood in this short, almost embarrassingly humorous book of wisdom for the not-so-in-love-with-my-husband days.

What’s the best marriage advice you ever got?

It was the best advice and the worst advice, probably. I was attending my great-uncle’s Ralph’s funeral. He was roughly 85 years old and had fathered 13 children with my great Aunt Loreen. After the funeral, Aunt Loreen spotted me standing next to my car. God must have written a “dejected wife” sign on my forehead that day because, despite the swarm of people surrounding her, Aunt Loreen walked right over to me and said, “Your Uncle Ralph wasn’t perfect, but I think you is you might as well stick with the devil you have, ‘cause at least you already know him.” For where I was at the moment, that was exactly what I needed to hear. I probably wouldn’t give that advice to anyone else (LOL!), but she hit the nail on the head that day.

Have you ever asked yourself the book’s title question?

Let me first say that my husband is a great man. He’s funny, he’s easy-going, and he doesn’t ask me to cook very often. But to answer your question—YES!

Share the testimony of what God did to get you and Stevie on the right track.

Stevie and I married very young. Both my parents and Stevie’s parents are divorced, so we witnessed a lot of turmoil and the subsequent pain of divorce. We had no clue about how to make things works. Things went downhill shortly after the wedding reception. Over the course of the next decade, God tore down our entire marriage and rebuilt it from the ground up. I wish I could say it was because I had some great epiphany or because we walked down the church aisle and gave our hearts to God, but that’s not how it happened. The only thing I can safely say we did (under His influence) was give Him a chance to change our marriage. On my end, I was thinking, “This is the last stone I’m going to overturn.” Stevie said, “We’ll give Him a try. Whatever.” God met us at that “Whatever” and changed it into a “Wow!”

Tell us a little about your novel The Good Stuff, and how it relates to this non-fiction book.

goodstuffcover_op_394x600 The Good Stuff, published in 2009 by Harrison House, is a novel about two young women trapped in two miserable marriages. The women are mentored by three older women of God who teach the younger women the fine art of being a wife, as instructed in Titus 2. In The Good Stuff, the women study a book about marriage. The actual book didn’t exist, but so many people emailed me about the fictitious book that I was compelled to actually write a non-fiction companion.

Is marriage really that hard, or are people making it harder than it has to be?

I think marriage is simple, but it’s not easy. Kind of like losing weight. I mean, everyone knows what you need to do to lose weight: eat right, exercise, and drink water, right? But for some, that comes easier than others. Every marriage is different, but I think that many of us are struggling simply because we don’t want to do things God’s way—the right way. Rebellion always leads to a mess.

You’ve addressed everything from dysfunctional childhoods to sex in this book. Why did you decide to touch on these particular topics?

I’ve read plenty of books on marriage for various reasons. Most of them were pretty good, but none of them addressed practical issues like how to deal with someone’s snoring or how to stop mourning the death of “single” you. Left unaddressed, these are the little issues that can become bigger issues and create an undercurrent of resentment in a marriage. Touching on these topics will, prayerfully, help women gain control of the ever-wandering thought-life!

What are some of the expectations a wife should not bring into a marriage?

There are many, of course, but I think the biggest one is not to expect your husband to make you happy. Society has placed this huge burden on men to make their wives happy (and vice versa). True happiness if found in God, not a mate. If you’re a miserable person before you get married, marriage sure won’t help the problem!

What does your husband think about this book?

My husband supports everything I do, he doesn’t really like to be in the spotlight. He’s hoping no one will ever ask him to speak out about this.

What’s the message you want readers to take away from this book?

I really want women to read this book and breathe a sigh of relief as they think, “Okay, I’m not the only woman who’s ever had these thoughts.” The Bible is very clear to us about the fact that there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and no one has super-strength temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). Armed with the knowledge that they are at least fairly normal, I want women to seek God to overcome the normal, every-day thoughts that invade our minds and try to pull us from His perfect plan for our marriages and our lives.

· Are you involved in women’s ministry?

Yes. I’m a facilitator with the Discerning Hearts wives’ ministry at my home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Pastor Tony Evans. I also minister online through a blog, Women Growing in Christ (

How can readers purchase your books?

Visit my website,, or search for me on

On Writing . . .

Was it difficult to get your first publishing deal?

Thankfully, it wasn’t. God must have known how fragile my ego was. I have my fair share of rejection letters for novellas and short stories, but my first novel was signed within a year after submitting.

You’ve had several books published through mainstream publishers. Why did you choose to self-publish this book?

I’m thankful for my deals with traditional publishers, but the industry is changing. I decided not to have my agent pitch this book to a publisher because I wanted to watch it blossom outside of industry confines. I’ve had some successful experiences with self-publishing shorter works, and I felt this book would follow suit. I think of myself as a hybrid author now; some books published traditionally, some self-published.

What advice would you give a new and/or aspiring author?

Finish the book already. You don’t have to like what you write, just write it. You can fix it later.

What does your writing process look like?

For non-fiction, I generally have a strong outline. When I write fiction, I just start writing and the “voices” come to me. Then I get sick of the voices, fall out of love with the novel, put it aside. As my deadline approaches, I pick it back up again, start reading it and say, “This is actually pretty good. I should finish this.” Seriously, I fall out of love with everything I write about 2/3 of the way through it. That’s why I tell people who are stuck to just finish the book. Fix it later.

Thanks, Michelle, for taking the time to visit with us today!  It’s been a pleasure to learn more about you and I look forward to reading your books!  ~Heidi

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