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Cole Smith Temp

Getting to Know...

Cole Smith

Published Work

Books to be Published

Productivity Guide/Organizing Workbook on the way (publishing date still TBD)

Favorite Non-Profit

Favorite Authors

C.S. Lewis and Alexander McCall Smith

Favorite Movie

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Personal Questions

Tell us about yourself - your family, marital status, your background... the basics.

Married for 15 years (yay, us!). We have an 11-year-old wire foxterrier named Slarty Barkfast Smith (for all you Douglas Adams fans). I teach high school science and English at a small Christian school here in West Virginia. It’s the same school I attended, and I’m still super excited I get to be a part of that ministry. I walk in every morning and take a deep inhalation. Eraser shavings, musty books, and chalk dust are my incense.

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Why?

Crested Butte, CO. because it’s just unbelievably fun, beautiful, and loving. The sacrifices people make to live there really translate into incredible joy and generosity.

What is your #1 bucket list dream?

This has been such an incredible year, I just want to keep doin’ what I’m doin’! Aside from that…I'd like to get my house tidy enough to invite someone inside with no notice. Like, “Oh, hey, come on in!” instead of making them shiver on the patio while we chat.

Tell the readers one thing you would like them to know about you and/or your writing.

For years, I really wrestled with genre. Should I write mainstream stories that feel empty when stripped of my faith, or should I write inspirational fiction that lacked the edge I craved? Then I stopped wrestling and wrote the story I wanted to read: quirky faith that didn’t shy away from real-life mess. Now I consider genre after the book is written, instead of before I start. That seems like a ‘duh’ realization, but I guess I was using it as an excuse for a loooong time.

What would you want your 5-word epitaph to be?

Loved, inspired, encouraged, hoped. Home.

Faith Questions

Briefly, tell us about your faith journey.

I was four or five, and our family friend dressed up like Fanny Crosby for our vacation Bible School. She was and is a fantastic storyteller. At the end of that week, she simply presented the opportunity to accept Christ. It was a little muddled in my young mind—that was Fanny Crosby, but it was also my friend?—but I trusted her with a childlike faith, and prayed the sinner’s prayer.

What is your favorite story from the Bible, the one that inspires, moves you?

So many have personal significance for me, but I’d say the one that moves me is the book of Esther. Orphaned, kidnapped, forced to live in a harem—these are not hopeful circumstances. But think about what set her apart. Not her beauty; she was one of many beautiful faces. Her wisdom and her inner glow were irresistible. I think now we’d say she had a ‘growth mindset’. I’ve taken Mordecai’s line and made it one of my affirmations for when I feel overwhelmed: “I am created for such a time as this!”

Do you have a life's bible verse? If so, what is it?

I think it’s seasonal for me; I pick different verses for my motto during different seasons. This year, I’m liking John 1:5:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. {ESV}

It reminds me of January 2018, when my pastor was ill and about to go home. It was a very dark time for our congregation, but there was an overwhelming light of God’s love and power that surrounded us. I’ll never forget it. It reminds me that I carry that light, too.

If you could have a long, leisurely dinner with a person from the Bible, who would it be and why? What would you talk about?

Oooh, I actually think of this a lot, haha. I’m hoping that in Heaven we can have dinner parties! I’ve got a list! Right now, I’d say the Shunamite woman because I have so many questions that I can’t discover. I want to know her name! Also, she was an amazing hostess, so…you know. Great food!

If you could pick one thing you deeply want the readers to know about God, what would it be?

How about one thing He’s not: haphazard. You. Are. Not. An. Accident.

Writing Questions

What motivated or inspired you to write Waiting for Jacob?

Two totally unrelated things. I heard a Billy Idol song on one of those balmy wet winter days, when it’s supposed to be cold so everyone’s driving with their windows down because they just CAN’T believe it’s sixty-five degrees out. I thought, we all know this song, our windows are down—we should sing together at stoplights!!

Around the same time, a family from our church was devastated—their daughter was missing. Praise the Lord, she’s safe now, but at that time we all felt so helpless. In fiction, I could create justice. I could find her!

As a published author, what tips do you have for aspiring authors?

We don't choose our interests. Where do you think that drive to write, to create, originated? You were created to create. Don't be surprised when the voice of fear tries to stop you. Which voice will you trust - the one who inspires you or the one who wants you to shut up? When the fear said no one will ever want to read my work, I acknowledged that possibility but decided to write the book anyway. Guess what? Fear was wrong.