Today’s Full of Character author is Neena Gaynor.
Neena Gaynor is a former nurse who has spent much of the last decade traveling with her husband, Wade, a former professional baseball player. Throughout the 29 changes of address and the stresses of moving a young family, Neena learned to embrace the peace that only comes from the steady accompaniment of Christ in her heart.
Today, Neena is ecstatic to be back in her old Kentucky home, beekeeping, writing, and being Mom. But first, let’s get to know Neena a little more from her interview.
What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?
Atticus Finch. The rational, principled lawyer and father from To Kill a Mockingbird models virtue. He’s a steadfast example of prudence, humility, and charity—a fictional example worthy of our aspiration.
It’s been a long time since I last read that one. I may have to check it out again. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?
The Bird and the Bees is written from a first-person point of view, so having a main character that was a female nurse from Appalachia wasn’t a stretch for me. Going into Larkin’s wounds, exposing what made her calloused to love and grace, proved to be more difficult. The hardest character to write was probably Larkin’s aunt, Aster. She was also the most fun. Aster also struggles with a past, one that has left her tight-lipped, antsy, and with a hint of humor.
The past does have a way of influencing who we are in the future. And isn’t it interesting how a past can move a person one direction while it may move others in a completely different way? We see that all the time, even in scripture. Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?
Right now, I’m trying to relate more to Mary of Bethany. She’s the one who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. Those who witnessed this were appalled at her actions, but Jesus praised her. “She has done a beautiful thing to me,” Jesus said. “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial,” (Mark 14:6-8).
Those words, “she did what she could,” takes the weight of the world off of our shoulders. As a writer, sometimes we wonder if what we are doing is significant. We worry if typing words on a screen and imagining fictional scenarios is worth the effort or time. If we do it FOR HIM, then I believe He would praise us too. So, whether it is in the writing, the mothering, the beekeeping, or even in how I respond to others, I’m striving to do what I can… for Christ.
I don’t believe I’ve ever heard her story with that particular focus before, but that’s a powerful statement for all of us to strive for.
Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?
More than a backstory, I had a forward story in mind. I knew the place where I wanted the wounded nurse to get in her relationships with her family, friends, the world, and Jesus. Navigating the path with some glances in the rearview mirror was just a part of the journey.
If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?
Audrey Hepburn. She’d add some elegance and style to this Kentucky girl.
If you could only read from one genre for the rest of your life, which one would you choose (and it can’t be the genre you write in)?
Religious Nonfiction. I love learning about our faith and being inspired by other’s testimonies.
It’s amazing how one person’s journey put into writing can touch so many lives.
What is your go-to snack and drink combination when you’re writing?
It’s coffee. With more coffee. Hot and black. I blame (thank) my mother.
I want to thank Neena for joining me today. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little more about her and her writing. Stay connected with Neena through the following social media links.
You can check out and preorder Neena’s book, The Birds and the Bees, at the link below. And don’t forget, the book releases on April 1st!