Interview with Author Felicia Bridges, creator of the award-winning International Mission Force series.
I want to welcome everyone back to Thoughtful Thursday! Give a big welcome to Felicia Bridges for me. I’m so glad to have her on the blog today. I’ve provided the link to the first novel in her International Mission Force series, feel free to check it out. And we’re going to jump straight into the interview.
What is the inspiration behind your writing?
Growing up as an Army Brat, I had the privilege and challenge of living in many places and learning about people who were very different from me. As a mom, I realized that my children, and many in their generation, might not ever travel beyond their own state or country, and I wanted them to gain an appreciation for the value of understanding diverse cultures. Specifically, this series was inspired by a mission trip I took to Prague when my oldest daughter, Megan, was 12. Despite many obstacles, she and I felt God strongly urging us to push through barriers of funding, bureaucracy, and insecurity to make the trip. There is no question that the experience was life-changing for both of us in different ways. When we returned, she was fascinated with reading every book about missionaries we could find, but most of them were biographies from a century ago. She asked, “What about that girl we met in Prague? I want to read about what it would be like to live as a teenage missionary today.” When we couldn’t find anything that fit the bill, God began nudging me to write the story she wanted to read.
Do you have a favorite author or book?
My favorite author currently is Ted Dekker and my favorite book would be his Circle Series. The complexity of the universe he has created captivates me and his ability to weave biblical themes into a story so different from typical Christian fiction inspires me.
How have you surprised yourself during your writing journey?
There have been many surprises along the way, though I would credit most of them to God rather than to myself. In 2012, when I won an award at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I was so shocked I almost missed responding when they called my name. There have also been times when I re-read something I had written, completely caught off guard by the emotions it stirred, as if I’d never seen those words before. There have been times when the scenes have flowed through my fingertips as if I were only taking dictation because the scene, the dialogue, and the plot flowed as if I were watching a movie unfold. All of those sweet surprises feel as if they are precious gifts from God, love notes reminding me that He set my feet on this journey and He is the one who will determine the destination.
What book are you currently reading for fun and are you reading anything for research?
For personal growth, I’m reading “The Art of Hard Conversations” by Lori Roeleveld. I would recommend this book to anyone as it has been a tremendous tool for me. We all need to be equipped to face these inevitable conversations and Lori’s style is informative and entertaining. For pleasure, I am just starting Mesu Andrews’, “Of Fire and Lions.” Mesu has been a guest speaker several times at our local Association of Christian Fiction Writers – North Carolina chapter, and I can’t wait to dive into the world of Daniel and his wife in the court of King Darius. As for research, my research for the International Mission Force is entirely online and often through first-hand conversations with missionaries serving around the globe. As I work on editing book four in the series, IslandGambit, I’m working with several missionaries in Papua New Guinea to ensure I’ve captured all the beauty, mystery, and danger of this island paradise.
If you could sit down to dinner with three authors, who would they be and what would you discuss?
What a fantastic question! The first would have to be Ted Dekker, though I’m not sure I could eat a single bite. I would love to ask him how he is able to create stories that tie into his other books to form a web of interconnected novels that each shed light on the others. I’d also love to hear stories of his childhood growing up as a missionary kid among a tribe of cannibals, but perhaps that wouldn’t be good dinner table conversation! I would also love to share dinner with Jerry B. Jenkins. Although perhaps best known for the Left Behind series, Jerry has published about 200 books. My favorite of his novels is Riven, which captures some of the heartbreaking challenges of ministry. I’d love to ask what inspired that story. Finally, since the question wasn’t limited to living authors, I would love to dine with C.S. Lewis. Hearing his conversion story firsthand and asking what events were most impactful in drawing him to Christ would be fascinating.
Can you think of anything you wish you had known before you started writing?
The first thing which comes to mind would be to understand the publishing industry and the costs and expectations of authors regarding marketing, but honestly, had I known then what I know now about the difficult era we are in as authors, I might never have had the courage to step onto this path. The Lord knows what He is doing when He doesn’t reveal everything that lies ahead. I do wish I had known from the start that this was truly my calling, that those nudges were God urging me on and confirming His plan. He has revealed this over more than a decade, but if I had known sooner perhaps I wouldn’t have dilly-dallied so long over that first book!
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m looking forward to completing edits on IslandGambit and launching it in 2020 and I’m beginning research on the fifth book in the series, which will either be in India, Asia, or Central Asia. I’m scheduling speaking engagements for the fall and spring and would love to share with your women’s ministry or homeschool group about following God’s calling on your life, serving as a missionary wherever God has planted you, or writing fiction for publication.
Felicia Bridges began writing as a young Army BRAT learning to embrace being a third culture kid. Her nomadic childhood created a passion for travel and missions that transports her readers to faraway destinations. Felicia’s vision is to inspire the next generation to carry the gospel to all nations through her International Mission Force series. You can learn more about the series at www.InternationalMissionForce.com. Her blog, www.AdventuresThatInspireAction.wordpress.com, focuses on living on mission wherever life’s adventure leads. Her non-fiction work includes serving as a contributing author for Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance and God’s Provision in Tough Times, a finalist for the 2014 Selah Awards.
Felicia’s degree in Psychology and her ten years’ experience as an HR Manager help her crawl inside her characters’ heads and create stories wilder than she could make up! Having studied public speaking at NCSU, as a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course, and a teacher of Bible Studies for many years, she is equally comfortable speaking to the stranger in the checkout line or an auditorium full of people.