VIOLA TABOR, CHRISTIAN AND FAMILY POET AND NOVELIST
1.When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have known that I wanted to be a writer since the age of six. I drove my family crazy making up rhyming verses, repeating them over and over, while we worked in the fields or tended the gardens. At the age of ten my siblings and I use to sit around the wood burning stove in the living room while I made up ghost stories to tell them. It wasn’t until the age of thirteen I started writing my stories and poems down on paper.
2. Did you study creative writing in school?
No, however, Mrs. Jones my seventh grade teacher required every student in her class to write a short story. The students voted my story was the best one so I was asked to read it to the whole school. I had everyone biting their finger nails or on the edge of their seat as I read my suspense story “The Black Cat.”Years later at the age of fifty-one, I graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature and received a Diploma, Writing for Children and Teenagers.
3. Do you still have anything you wrote as a child?
When mom had a heart attack we had to move from the farm and were forced to move around a lot. During those years I lost all of my stories and poems except for a few. In 2007 a tornado took my home and everything I had except for a few personal belongings. I was able to recover from my family and friends most of the writings I did from 1998 to 2007, but anything written before that time I could not recover. However, to this day I can remember the words to a poem that I wrote when my sister and I entered a book mark contest sponsor by our school.
4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Since my husband’s death in August of 2010, I haven’t been as active in writing as I once was. Most of my time now is devoted to helping those in need, going to my church meetings, or spending time with God at home doing my Bible studying and praying for those who are in need of prayer.
5. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know about quirk, but most of my readers find my stories and poetry about anything I write interesting, and many times encouraging.
6. How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book took me four years to write.My second book took two years to write and my third book took one year to write.
7. Do you self-publish, or how do your books get published?
I self-publish my books.Most of my poetry has been published in poetry books with Billy’s World of Poetry; and with Publishing with Passion where all proceeds goes to charities, and some of my poetry has been published in several different church’s newsletters. My short stories, Bible stories, devotions, and scripture prayers has been used in churches, schools, and day-cares. Since I write for the Lord, I let Him direct me to how and where He wants my creative writings be used.
8. How many books have you published? Which one is your favorite?
I have one book published by LULU PRESS. I also have two books finished but not published yet. My favorite book is one of those not published, ‘Summerlin Angels.’
9. What are the titles and what are they about?
‘The Legend of Black Creek’ is about two girls trying to solve the mystery of an ancient crime. ‘Summerlin Angels’ is the story about my siblings and me growing up on a farm,and how my mother’s deep faith in God brought us through some extremely difficult times.Book II of ‘Summerlin Angels Stepping into Our World in Poetic Verses’ is about the Summerlin Angels written in story poems.
10. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I have a wild imagination, a mischievousness side of me, and a love for mysteries.Put the three together and you have the makings of a good book.
11. What does your family think of your writing?
My family loves my stories and poetry. We are very close and have always supported each other in whatever we wanted to do in life.
12. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing my first book in 1998. I was fifty-two years old.
13. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like doing many things when I am not writing. I love spending time with my grandchildren, helping people in the community who are in need of assistance, visiting nursing homes, visiting people in the hospitals, cooking meals for those who are recovering from an illness or surgery, helping people who have cancer, go to church, go to home Bible Studies, watch my favorite TV shows, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Without a Trace, Law & Order, and Cold Case.
14. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The length of time and hard work needed to write a book.
15. Do you have any suggestions to help less experienced writers become better writers?If so, what are they?
To accept constructive criticism without getting offended. Accept them and learn by them.
16.Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I am always hearing from those who read my short stories, books, Bible stories, and poetry. I have had children and adults share with me that they did not like to read, but when they started reading my book ‘The Legend of Black Creek’ they couldn’t put it down until they finished it. Someone asked my sister Marie once, what my book was like? She said, “Sit back and think about Tom Sawyer.”Others say whatever I write makes them feel as if they were watching a play on stage. Some say my writings help them spiritually. To some it gives them encouragement and strength to face whatever they are going through in their lives. To a few readers my writing reminds them of ‘Little House on the Prairie.’
17. Do you like to create books for adults? Or do you prefer children or teenagers?
I like writing books and short stories for children of all ages. However, adults say they love my books and short stories too.
18. What do you think makes a good story?
I believe when you write from your heart, no matter what you write about, it will make a good story.
19. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to save those in poverty from going hungry, to provide shelter for those who were homeless, to clothe those who wear rags, to help the poor receive medical care when they are sick,to protect and give love to all the children who were being abused. I guess you might say I wanted to save the world. When my husband proposed to me thirty-nine and a half years ago he said, “Honey if you will marry me, I will help you save the world while I show you the world.”This man knew what I wanted out of life.
20. What would you like readers of this interview to remember about you?
I would like them to remember that I am a person who loves the Lord, and deeply cares about humanity.
21. What thought would you like to leave with the readers of this interview?
The thought that I would like to leave with them is “It’s not how long you live your life that matters; it’s what you do with your life in the short time you have to live it.
22. Would you like to list some links to other websites that display or tell about your books?
23. Tell us about your childhood, schooling, higher education, and if there was someone that inspired you to write.
I am the middle child of ten children who was born in North Carolina and raised by my mother on a farm during the early years of my childhood.I was a very strong willed and outspoken child who wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone. All through my childhood I thought my mission in life was to protect the weak from the bullies. My two older brothers taught me how to fight and like my mother I wasn’t afraid to stand up for what was right. It wasn’t my intentions to get into fights, but someone had to stop the bullies from teasing those who were too scared to stand up for themselves so I was more than happy to oblige them. After kicking a few butts here and there I soon helped those who had a desire to pick on the weak and vulnerable to see the light. I was also a very determined child who never left anything undone that I started.To the life of me no matter how hard I tried to be good, I always ended up in trouble. When mom had a heart attack, I quit school at the age of sixteen to work in a shirt factory to help support my younger brothers and sisters. A few years later, I did get my high school diploma, and went on to further my education and graduated from LenoirCommunity College, receiving a Teacher Aide-Media Diploma. While teaching pre-school, I took extra college courses in children’s education. I have earned many certificates for classes I took to work in Domestic Abuse Shelters and Drug and Alcohol Facilities.God has blessed me with many people in my life who have inspired me to write. The main ones are my deceased husband, my siblings, my children, grandchildren, and my sister in poetry of fifteen years, Mrs. Helen Holub, and my best friend William Manson.
24. Who is your favorite classic poet from days gone by?
My favorite is Helen Steiner Rice. I am also a fan of Robert Frost.
25. Do you have a favorite poem of yours that you would like to post here to show your style?
My style is rhyming and almost all of my poems, except for a few. rhyme.This is one of my favorite poems that I wrote.
IT WASN’T NAILS
It wasn’t nails that
held Jesus on the cross;
it was His love for
you and me.
At any time from the
cross, he could have
set Himself free.
It wasn’t nails that
held Jesus to the cross,
while His flesh was
beaten and torn;
It was His love for
you and me, before he
It wasn’t nails that
held Jesus to the cross,
with a crown of
thorns upon His head.
It was His love for
you and me that He
stayed on the cross
By Viola Jane Tabor
My favorite scripture is John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”