I first met Virginia (Ginny) Smith http://www.virginiasmith.org/books.html years ago at Crosswalk.com Writer’s Board section before she became the amazing writer she is today. Her first book and my first book of hers, Just As I Am, hooked me onto this wonderful artist. (I highly recommend the Goose Creek Series) Since then, she has written many books, some romance, some funny but all revolving around God. Despite her ‘normalness’ she is one of us, A down to earth Geek who just wants to glorify God and help others. Oh and also she has a cool speaking engagement called Biblical Parallels in Star Trek. I know!!!! It’s hard to believe that one who writes charming books also relates to those of us who are known as The Geeks.
I didn’t know that Ginny was a Geek until she mentioned something about Rogue One. That caught my interest. So I asked Ginny if I could interview her for Geeks Rule, Others Drool and of course, she agreed. So here we go!!
Me: Ginny, tell us a bit about your books. What do you write and why?
Ginny: Much to my agent’s dismay, I write whatever strikes my fancy. Writers are supposed to pick a ‘brand’ and stick with it. But I read so many different genres it’s hard to confine myself to writing in only one. So I have now written books in all of the following: cozy mystery, chick lit, romantic suspense, sweet romance, historical romance, contemporary women’s fict(ion, Amish, an illustrated children’s book, and most recently a humor series called Tales from the Goose Creek B&B. Oh, and one of my favorite books that defies a category, a Biblical novel with sci-fi and fantasy elements set in the days before the great flood of Genesis (The Days of Noah). (Writer’s note. Must. Read!!)
Why do I write? Because I have always loved fiction and writing a story is like inserting yourself 150% more into the story world than reading. Plus, I believe fiction speaks to people at a deep level, and can demonstrate truth to some people who will never read nonfiction. There are people out there who may never pick up a Max Lucado book, but they’ll read a novel. I want to give them something to read that honors God.
Me: Now for the geeky stuff!! Yeh!! Let’s have fun before we get into the serious geeky stuff:
Please tell us about your Star Trek/Biblical parallels!! That is so super cool!! As much details as you can give please! What caught your attention about Star Trek/Biblical parallels? How has the reception been from the church world?
Ginny: Several years ago I was asked to speak at a women’s retreat on the topic of Biblical parallels in fairy tales. The idea was to take a well-known fairy tale and relate it to Truth from scripture. It was so much fun! Preparing for that session sort of tuned my mind to the task of finding biblical references in secular material. And where else would I look except Star Trek?
Okay, here’s an example. In my talk, “Faith – the Final Frontier,” I show clips from ST series’ and movies, and then talk about them. For instance, the first clip I show is from the premiere episode of Star Trek Voyager. It shows Voyager and the Maquis ship engaged in a space battle. Photon torpedoes are flying back and forth, but they don’t do damage because they hit the ships’ shields. Then I stop the clip and say, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a shield that would protect us from harm? All we’d have to do is say ‘Shield’s up!’ and nothing could hurt us. Ah, but we do! Let’s read EPHESIANS 6:16 ‘In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’ We do have a shield – the shield of faith that protects us from enemy attack. The force fields of Star Trek might be fiction, but our shield of faith is very real.” Then I give an example from my own life when I felt under attack, and was so very aware of the shield of faith that protects us from the fiery darts of the enemy.
I talk about transporters, and tribbles (that’s a fun one!), and Neelix taking a bath, and Picard defying orders not to engage the Borg, and Data with his emotion chip. And one of the most powerful, of course, is Spock’s final message as he dies from radiation poisoning – “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”
As for my reception from churches, it has been awesome. I’ve given that talk in several different churches, and have discovered fellow Trekkers everywhere. (And the fact that I wear a ST uniform helps!) In fact, my pastor is a confirmed geek herself. She’s a serious sci-fi fan. For example, last summer she taught a Sunday School class called, “The Bible According to Dr. Who.” It was awesome!
I truly believe that God’s universe is so much more intricate and elaborate than we can even conceive, and that He wants us looking up—at the stars and planets—instead of focusing on the limits of this world. The universe is His creation, His handiwork. Of course we should admire it and long to become a deeper part of it.
Me: What kind of geek are you? Sci-fi? Fantasy? Anime? Comics? Gamer? Why do you like that genre so much?
Ginny: Sci-fi and fantasy. I’ve never been attracted to comics or anime or games. However, I have recently become an avid Pokemon Go player. (I’m at level 28 and have 124 Pokemon in my Pokedex!) I think I like sf/f so much because it is all about the possibilities humankind can achieve. I think there’s a lot more truth in science fiction than anyone knows. For instance, do you know where the term Robotics came from? Isaac Asimov in his Foundation series. There are so many examples of sci-fi writers dreaming up impossible things, and then science discovers that they’re not so impossible after all.
As for fantasy, I love dragons and adventures and quests. Fantasy allows imaginations to soar, and I believe God gave us minds that are far more creative than any of us realize. Fantasy pushes imagination to amazing limits!
Me: Obviously, you’re a Star Trek fan, so which series and why?
Ginny: I began with the original series, of course. And I loved TNG too. DS9 was okay, but I thought the bad acting got in the way of the stories. Still, some of my favorite characters (like Dax and Odo and Kira) came from there. Enterprise? Nah. I never got into that one. But by far my favorite is Voyager. I’m not sure why, but I connected with the characters from the very beginning. Of course I liked having a female captain, but it wasn’t because of any feminist leanings. I thought the writers did a fantastic job of delving into the differences between a female leading strong men. I loved Neelix and Kes and Seven-of-Nine and Bellana Torres and…well, all of them! Plus, I loved the symbolism of their plight. They were far from home, and trying to get back. That touches something deep in the human soul, to go home.
Me: What’s your favorite Star Trek movie and why?
Ginny: That’s a really, really tough one. I thought The Wrath of Khan was an amazing movie with a powerful plot and terrific acting. I loved First Contact. And unlike some Trekkers, I really enjoyed Insurrection. But my favorite is The Voyage Home. Seeing Spock and Kirk and Bones and the rest in our world was awesome. And when Gillian got to go with the Enterprise crew back to the future—wow! I was so jealous!
Me: Do you have a favorite franchise that you enjoy reading? Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings series? something else?
Ginny: This is going to sound really odd, coming from a writer and book lover, but I don’t read Star Trek novels. I do collect them, and have all of the Voyager novels and most of the original series novels. And of course I loved LotR back in the day. My favorite sf/f series ever is the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I also devoured Patricia Keneally Morrison’s series The Keltiad. Both of those series are science fantasy – a blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements.
Me: What geeky things did you do when you were a kid? And why?
Ginny: I didn’t become a geek until I was in my 20’s. Oh I loved fantasy as a kid. I learned about Jesus from C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series. But in my 20’s I found Isaac Asimov and Anne McCaffrey and started watching Star Trek. I started using personal computers back when they were huge clunky things that didn’t even have monitors, and that made me kind of a geek among the people I knew.
Me: Are you a Comic Con/convention fan? IF so, which ones and why?
Ginny: I do enjoy going to Comic-Con, because it’s so over-the-top crazy! But that’s pretty much the only fan con I attend. I do go to the World Fantasy Convention every year, but that’s definitely a business convention for writers and readers and editors and publishers. It’s three days where people who love fantasy in all its form get together and talk about books and tropes and anything else we can think of that has to do with the genre. I love rubbing elbows with the writers whose books I love to read!
Me: Are you a Doctor Who fan? If so, which Doctor is your favorite?
Ginny: I didn’t start watching Doctor Who until last year, when my pastor led that Sunday school class. I always meant to, but just never got around to it. The first episode I watched was Blink, and I was hooked! Thank goodness the series is on Netflix. I went on a binge! My favorite doctor is David Tennant. (Now on Amazon Prime.)
Me: Who do you think in the bible world would have made a great Geek? (For some reason, I see John the apostle as a great geek. He just seems ‘geeky’ to me.)
Ginny: What a fun question! And I think the apostle Paul would be a geek, because he was so smart, and paid no attention to the barriers his society placed on him.
Me: Let’s get more into the serious stuff of being a geek and the pains that go along with it.
Has the church body ever rejected you for being a geek? If so, how did you handle it?
Ginny: No, not at all. Sometimes people do look at me oddly, and maybe shake their heads, but on the whole I’ve found my church family to be very accepting of all my weird tendencies.
Me: How do you think the Christian Geek should respond to those who would chastise him/her for being a geek?
Ginny: The same way we respond to any criticism – with love. I would probably make light of the comment, laugh, and say, “Isn’t it awesome that God loves variety, and made us all so different?”
Me:What advice would you give to the geek who feels they must be ‘normal’ for the church world to accept them?
Ginny: Hmmm. I guess the first thing I would do is ask why that person feels their geekiness is such a barrier. Are they in a church that is highly critical, or overly legalistic? I’d tell them to consider the source, and pray for the person who is so rigid and unaccepting. I discovered long ago that it’s impossible to have hard feelings for someone you’re praying daily for. And finally, I’d assure the geek that God loves them exactly as they are, and He made them that way. There is no reason at all to feel insecure about that. Geeks, reread this everyday. You are loved just the way you are!!!
Me: Should we hide our geekism from the church world? Why or why not?
Ginny: Absolutely not, for all the reasons I just gave in my answer to the previous question. However, if I attended an ultra-conservative church, I might not wear my Star Trek uniform to Sunday services. I mean, there’s no reason to invite criticism, right? 🙂
Me:What do you say to the church world that stands in judgement to the geek? What is the best way for them to understand us?
Ginny: Gosh, you’ve asked so many questions about the church judging geeks it makes me wonder where these Christians are! I truly haven’t experienced that. I suppose I’d say, “Judge not! There’s a log in your eye and it’s stopping you from seeing me properly.”
Me: Really tough one. I’m into Cosplay as I love the costumes and I’ve noticed a lot of body shaming in the geek world. What would you say to the cosplayers or just plain geeks who aren’t the perfect body and still want to cosplay or geek out over their favorite franchise? How should they deal with Body Shaming?
Ginny: I’ve never even heard the term Cosplay. Wow. An entire section of geekiness I don’t know about! But there’s one sci-fi conference I used to attend regularly where everyone dressed in costumes. In my experience, those who dressed in costume didn’t pay much attention to body shapes, but they took joy in the costumes they loved wearing. As for someone else criticizing my body…well, yes, that can be very hurtful. Especially since I tend to be a bit self-conscious of the extra weight I’ve picked up over the years, or my graying hair or the shape of my nose. (I have what they call a Classic Roman Nose. Sigh. The bane of my existence since grade school.) What’s the answer to a geek, or anyone else, who feels shame? Prayer! Bring your self-consciousness to God and put it in His hands, and let Him heal you and soothe your hurts and comfort you. Geeks, something else to read everyday.
Me: How should geeks deal with bullying in the geek world?
Ginny: Bullying is unacceptable in any world! My advice is the same that I’d give my 6-yr-old grandson: Remove yourself from the situation, and tell someone! Do whatever you can to stop the bully, so someone else isn’t hurt by that person.
I haven’t experienced actual physical bullying, but I have been the target of anti-Christian sentiment in the geek world. In fact, I find that far more common than anti-geek sentiment in the Christian world! I think many sci-fi fan(atics) think they’re too intelligent to accept Christianity, or any religion. And they tend to look down on Christians. I am not a confrontational person, so I tend to avoid arguments about faith in those circumstances. I don’t hide my faith—not at all. In fact, I take great pleasure when people at sci-fi conferences ask what I write and I reply, “Christian novels.” I’ve gotten into some great conversations about faith and fantasy, and how the two aren’t mutually exclusive. On the other hand, I’ve also been subjected to curled nostrils and arrogant looks. Pearls before swine, right? I have walked out of a workshop where the panelists became insulting about Christians. Didn’t make a big deal out of it, but just quietly got up and left.
Me: Ok, that’s it, I’m done. Thanks so much, Ginny!!
Folks, please check out Ginny’s books. She has a great selection and they are fun to read!! I can vouch for her. But beware, these are read-till-3am-and-I-need to-get-up-in-3-hours-for-work books
Ginny: Thanks so much, Kim! People can find a list of my books at www.virginiasmith.org.
This was a fun interview!
Me: Thanks so much, Ginny!! I appreciate your answers. It’s so wonderful to come across another Christian Geek who has embraced her God-given gift to reach others. God bless you!!
If any geeks have questions for Ginny, let me know and I’ll send them to her. And folks, check out her books. They are well written and fun to read. And remember, Geeks do rule and sadly others do drool. 🙂