with Jill Eileen Smith


Welcome to Patterings, Jill!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.

I’m not sure I ever had an epiphany moment, but there was a point where I realized that I wanted to write the book I wanted to read and I wanted to see it published, to hold it in my hands. That was about 20 years before I actually held the first of three books that would make up the book I wanted to read – the book of my heart.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
Hmm…that’s a tough question! I have written probably ten novels in my twenty-year waiting period, but only two are in print – well almost two! The third of this series is written, but the next series is just beginning. As for the most fun? In the sense that I loved the writing, loved the stories, I’d say each one is my favorite at the time I’m writing it. (How’s that for a cop-out?)  In truth, I love each one differently, kind of the way you love your children – equally, yet different. If I had to pick a favorite of this series, it would probably be Bathsheba. But that won’t make my readers happy because it has a year to release!

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Figuring out the plot! Pray, study, brainstorm, paragraph summarize, explore motives, goals, and conflict, and write.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
David has always been my favorite character, but in this story I found Abigail most intriguing. How did she feel when she realized she’d been given in marriage to a fool? How did she endure years of marriage to the man? What did she go through when she found out that marriage to David had it’s own drawbacks and that sharing a man wasn’t going to be as easy as she once thought? I love exploring the “why” and “how” behind the “what” of Scripture.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
How about embarrassing moment? It happened at my first ACFW writer’s conference. Karen Kingsbury was keynote speaker. I’d been invited to watch a movie in her room the first night, which was so totally fun and unexpected! (And I felt pretty out of my element being such a newbie!) The group decided to meet there again the next night, so I headed upstairs after the last meeting of the day. I met a couple of other women in the hall and we knocked on Karen’s door. We waited. No answer. Did we have the wrong room? But I wasn’t alone, so it had to be right, didn’t it? We knocked again until at last we got a disgruntled shout from the other side – a man! When did a man show up in Karen’s room? It finally occurred to us that we had the wrong room. Come to find out, we’d awakened an airline pilot who had to get up early the next morning for a flight. Karen handled our error for us, graciously leaving him a stack of her books as apology. And the whole conference had a good laugh about it at breakfast the next morning!

Oh. my. What an experience!
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Eating elephants. Er…I mean de-cluttering rooms in the house or piles on the counter or any place that should be organized and cleaned and isn’t. If I kept on top of it all, it wouldn’t pile up. But I don’t. And when the piles get too big, I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start! Once in a while, I gather my courage, approach the big gray mass and take a bite, one at a time, but not often. Elephants can be scary animals! :-)

What would a perfect day for you look like?
It would start with waking up slowly, the kind of morning that you savor, where you could lay there forever and your body doesn’t ache from lying there too long. Then I would get on the scale and have lost five pounds just by sleeping. I would eat Belgian waffles with strawberries and cream and have the strongest black tea ever for breakfast. My guys would all be there, we would laugh and talk and I would listen to them quote silly lines from their favorite movies while I tried to figure out this mysterious language. Later on, we might go someplace new – walk along the beach if we were in L.A. or visit the mountains or a movie studio. We would grab Starbucks drinks and some kind of gourmet chocolate and spend some time wandering through a bookstore. In the evening, we would go out to dinner and a fabulous movie – the kind we all could love. (I believe I’ve had days like this – I’d just like to repeat them!)

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorites are historicals, but I read almost every genre except sci-fi and not too much fantasy, though my recent interest in some new fantasy authors has changed that view. (And I loved The Lord of the Rings movies.) Romance always catches my eye, but I prefer romances mixed with history or suspense, not so much the straight category style. I’ve read some Amish books, but prefer other genres. Mysteries that keep me guessing until the end of the book rank high on my list. I love a great story that is not predictable, with deep characters, and an intriguing premise. I’ve read mostly in the Christian market, but have lately been expanding to read in the ABA market as well.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
When I’m stuck, that is always an excuse for chocolate. For a while I switched back and forth between bubble gum and chocolate, but had to cut back on the sugar. I didn’t need a cavity to help my word count! I file my nails a lot when I can’t figure out where to go next. But my favorite chocolates of late (and when I get them, I savor them) are Godiva dark chocolate truffles. I’m on their monthly membership plan now and get a free one once a month! It helps! :-)

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Forgiveness and absolute surrender to the Lord. These themes pop up in nearly everything I write whether I mean them to or not. There is so much wrong with harboring bitterness and holding grudges against God and men. Without a forgiving spirit, how can we expect to be forgiven ourselves? And if we don’t give our wills to God in surrender to His, we’ll never really know Him.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
To keep trusting Him, to pray more, to relinquish the control I thought I had (but never did!) To especially trust Him with my kids, who are all adults now. I won’t always be there for them, but He will. These are ongoing life lessons.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Bathsheba: A Novel releases February 1, 2011. I don’t have any official blurbs on it yet, but the summary I put on my website is this: She longs for love, but succumbs to his charm – can she ever regain all she’s lost?

Bathsheba, of course, is the wife of King David, taken by him in an adulterous affair. Her story evoked more emotion in me than any book I’ve yet written – perhaps that’s why I called it my favorite. I hope my readers will find the book as meaningful as I did.

You can purchase Abigail from CBD and Amazon:

Jill is giving away a copy of Abigail. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, February 7th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.


  1. I'd really like to read this book. Please count me in to win.

  2. Not sure if I've entered too many times. If so, delete one.
    I would love to win Abigail. I've read about Bathsheba by another author. I love Biblical reads.
    Please enter me. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  3. Anonymous9:28 AM

    would love to read this book...thanks for the opportunity


  4. Anonymous1:24 PM

    This sounds like a fascinating read. I'd love a copy.

  5. Enjoyed the interview! I think Godiva chocolate truffles would inspire just about anyone's mind. They are so good!


  6. I grew up reading books like Dear and Glorious Physician, Great Lion of God, The Big Fisherman, and The Robe, so I am thrilled to see biblical fiction growing in popularity today. I already have Michal and appreciate the chance to win a copy of Abigail.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  7. Enjoyed the interview. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!



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