Valerie Anne Faulkner
interviews Liz Curtis Higgs
Christian Fiction On-line Magazine, March, 2009
Liz Curtis Higgs
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    Some days I feel like I am marching to the beat of a different drummer. This morning I told my husband,
    Bill, that I felt like I wanted to be more serious with my writing, show a more somber side of myself. I
    gathered my stuff—computer, scribbling pad of notes, and coffee—and headed out to the back porch, my
    dog, Jake, following.

    I plugged the laptop in, and as it blinked and hummed to life, I sipped from my favorite mug and watched
    Jake as he ventured out to the backyard. How about I delve into a deep, thoughtful discussion about
    something . . . umm, like the economy, politics, or the war? They’re all important. Definitely somber. I
    pondered the idea for barely a moment, and before Windows had finished loading, I rejected the thought.

    Nah! To heavy, who’d want to hear it?

    Meanwhile, Jake entertained me with his morning ritual, chasing squirrels up a tree, scaring birds from the
    birdfeeder, and barking good morning to my neighbor. I couldn’t help but laugh; he’s quite a character.

    Bill heard me laughing. “What’s up?”

    “Oh, nothing. I’m just enjoying another day in paradise, and I think it’s a great day. And I love my dog.”

    “Okay. How’s your column coming?” He smiles. “How’s that serious side?”

    “Humph. Umm . . . really want to know? I’ve got faith, life is good, I’m happy . . . and we’re going to

    When we arrive in Kentucky, Ms. Higgs is everything I thought she would be, and her charming home is
    irresistible. It definitely qualifies for home of my dreams! The nineteenth-century farmhouse boasts high
    ceilings and tall windows. The hardwood floors seem just a tad uneven . . . just another unique quality that
    makes the home appealing.

    Liz smiles warmly, and without hesitation asks, “Would you like to see the rest? My decorating style is very
    much Country Living.”
    Beautiful dark green, ivory, and brick red are predominant colors. Her antiques and natural wood, along with
    handmade quilts and baskets, leave me literally drooling! “I love this house! The rooms are all gorgeous . . .
    open beams and fireplaces!”
    “We’ve lived here for most of our married lives, so it truly is home. Come, let’s sit down in here.”

    “Thank you. I can’t wait to get started.”

    Valerie: I checked your schedule for 2009 and thought wow! Than I realized it went into 2010. With
    speaking engagements all over the U.S. and other countries, what’s your secret for keeping energized?

    Liz: The Lord alone keeps me going! And though we do indeed book my speaking calendar two years out, I
    concentrate solely on the next event, if only to keep from being overwhelmed. I’m also a great napper,
    catching a few winks on the plane or in the hotel room before I speak. The audiences themselves are also
    very energizing. Their enthusiasm is contagious!

    Valerie: Do you travel by air when you’re in the States, or do you take the ground tour?

    Liz: Much depends on where we’re headed. If the event is less than five hours from our home in Louisville,
    we generally drive. Otherwise, we take to the friendly skies!

    Valerie: Is there someplace, maybe where you’ve presented a seminar, that you would like to return to . . .
    and why?

    Liz: I’ve spoken in all fifty states and in ten foreign countries, and all of those places deserve a longer return
    visit! I especially love Oregon and Washington, New Hampshire and Vermont, and overseas, Portugal and
    France. But truly, every area has historic spots, beautiful parks or gardens, and fabulous photo-ops!

    Valerie: How do your two teenagers handle your “away” time? (Or do they come along?)

    Liz: When they were younger, our son and daughter often did come along, especially for summer events.
    But they’re college students now—twenty-one and twenty—and so our days of parenting teens has passed.

    Valerie: Have any of your family members shown a desire to follow in your footsteps as an author and/or

    Liz: All four of us love to write, though in different genres. My husband is working on a nostalgic 1960s
    novel, our son is drawn to speculative fiction, our artistic daughter loves graphic novels, and I write lots of
    things—nonfiction books for women, children’s books, Bible studies, contemporary novels, historical
    novels, and magazine articles. As to speaking, my husband is a terrific teacher, and both our kids love
    drama. Only time will tell if either of them land on the speaking circuit!

    Valerie: You have an excellent sense of humor and have been able to use it to inspire others. Who makes you

    Liz: Easy one: my husband! Bill has a delightfully dry sense of humor that appears when least expected. His
    one-liners crack me up every time!

    Valerie: Sometimes when my family, including my two sisters, sat around the kitchen table, the funny cord
    was strummed. We laughed so hard we cried. Did you ever start laughing and have a hard time stopping?

    Liz: Oh many times I’ve gotten tickled and couldn’t get it back together. Perhaps the most memorable time
    was when I was a radio personality in the 1980s. It was very early in the morning, like 5:45 AM, and the
    weather guy, the gardening expert, and I were on the air, discussing the pink flamingos I’d just added to my
    laundry room (they matched my newly painted walls). One of the men misunderstood and thought they
    were live flamingos, and . . . well, as they say, you really had to be there, but we all

    lost it. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. I can only imagine how it must have sounded to
    our listeners, especially the ones who tuned in halfway through!

    Valerie: You’re married to a Bill; I am too. Bill’s are good! My Bill and I have wanted to move out to the
    country for quite a while. Please tell us all about your nineteenth-century farmhouse in Kentucky.         Liz:
    The original house was built around 1875, with several additions over the following years. Of course, the
    high ceilings and drafty old windows make it hard to heat, but I love the hardwood floors and mantelpieces,
    the exposed brick and beams in the kitchen. I’m happiest in an old house, and this one was a blessing of a

    Valerie: Where’s your favorite spot to write?

    Liz: Behind our restored farmhouse is a row of old buildings—a two-story garage, a caretaker’s cottage, and
    a building for farm implements—all in terrible condition. We gutted them and turned them into a six-room
    office for my writing and speaking ministry, which includes my second-floor study, the only place I can
    truly write. Feel free to take a virtual tour:

    Valerie: Do you have a barn? Farm animals? Raise crops? A silo?

    Liz: We do have a barn, but strictly for storage. No animals except two neighborhood cats, no crops, no
    silo, and a very small flower garden. All we’ve raised on Laughing Heart Farm are kids!

    Valerie: Oh, the expensive-to-grow type? I have some of them! Which came first, the nonfiction book
    Embrace Grace, or the powerful new program?

    Liz: Back in the 1990s I wrote books based on messages I was already sharing with audiences. But
    beginning with Bad Girls of the Bible in 1999 and every nonfiction book since, I research and write the book
    first, then create a new platform program based on that fresh material. Embrace Grace is a very personal
    book, written directly to the reader, as the opening lines communicate: “I’ve been waiting for you. Holding
    this good news close to my heart, longing to share it. And now here you are, standing on the threshold . . .”
    Though the good news of God’s grace doesn’t change when I take that message onto the platform, the
    method of delivery definitely does!

    Valerie: You’ve recorded a fifty-two minute message for your Embrace Grace program. You begin with
    “God meets us where we are.” Where you are right now, in your life and ministry, and tell us how you
    know God is where you are?

    Liz: I live in a constant awareness of my need for God’s grace. I stumble daily, and throw myself at God’s
    mercy over and over again. Maybe that’s why every message, every book, in every genre, features grace at
    the heart of it. I’m grateful for my calling to write and speak, and I deeply appreciate the incredible support
    and encouragement of my sisters in Christ. I’m blessed to have a terrific publisher. And much closer to
    home, I’m thankful for the best husband a woman could hope for and two really special grown kids. God’s
    kindness and generosity toward me are completely undeserved. May all the glory, honor, and praise go to
    him! As for knowing God is present in my life, I literally cannot breathe without him. He is my all in all.

    Valerie: When did you realize that having faith meant “just believe”?

    Liz: I was twenty-seven years old and living in a dark pit of my own making. Sex, booze, drugs . . . all the
    usual suspects. The Lord sent two ambassadors to show me the way out. They loved me, rather than
    judged me. They hugged me, rather than held me at arm’s length. They shared the truth, rather than kept the
    good news to themselves. Five months after meeting them, I embraced God’s grace with joy and abandon.
    Oh, happy day!

    Valerie: How would you describe yourself when you are finishing up one of your talks? (Glad to be finished?
    Wishing you could go on longer? Worried? Or patting yourself on the shoulder?)

    Liz: Oh, the hardest thing is stopping! :>) I really never think about how I’ll be received—before, during, or
    after I speak. I only think about loving the women seated before me and opening God’s Word together. And
    I wouldn’t dream of patting myself on the back for my efforts . . . eek! Any applause goes to God alone.

    Valerie: Isn’t that the truth! I know anyone who writes gets a charge of positive energy when a fan writes to
    say good job. You must have an enormous fan base. Is there an e-mail or favorite note somebody sent you
    that you treasure and occasionally think about when doubts slip into your everyday life? Care to share?

    Liz: You are so right! Encouraging words from readers mean so much. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but this
    one was very kind:
    “As I read Embrace Grace, I can hear your voice lovingly encouraging me. I can hear your laughter and joy
    and sadness as you share your heart with me. I feel that you are an old friend encouraging me in my walk
    with our Lord.”
    Valerie: I know you have been asked many questions during your career, but is there any one thing you
    would like to share with your fans? Something, you haven’t been asked but think they would enjoy hearing

    Liz: Actually, all your questions were new to me, so I’ll simply say, “Well done, dearie! And bless you for
    being so creative and fun!”

    Valerie: Thank you very much; this has been wonderful! Liz, it’s been a real pleasure getting to know you.
    What a nice compliment! This interview’s good!

Liz Curtis Higgs