Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Maxine Billings. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Maxine, thanks for joining us today. Do you take vacations? How do you keep things going – any advice for entrepreneurs who feel like they can’t step away from their business for a short vacation?
Hello, you’re welcome, and thank you very much for having me! Yes, my husband and I take day trips and overnight trips together throughout the year. We also take our family vacation with our adult son each summer. All three of us love the mountains! Our favorite place to visit is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
For the type of businesses I have, it’s very easy for me to keep things going because as a photographer, my camera goes with me everywhere I go because I never know when I’ll see something I want to capture to add to my photo and video collections. Especially on trips, I am constantly taking pictures and recording videos (mostly of natural creation). In addition, along with everyday life, my travels inspire me to come up with numerous ideas for my books.
My advice for entrepreneurs who feel they can’t step away from their business for a short vacation is to remember vacations don’t have to be long. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes taking a day trip or weekend getaway can refresh you not just physically but emotionally and mentally.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Although I’ve always loved reading as far back as I can remember, I never considered being an author until the late 1990s when one of my first cousins became a published author. Her book was so inspiring to me that I decided to write my first manuscript shortly before the year 2000. After rejections from some publishing companies, my cousin informed me that the company she wrote for was starting a fiction inspirational imprint. I submitted my manuscript to them and was given a two-book contract. My first novel was released in 2004, and I went on to write four more books under their imprint. I now self-publish my novels and have published four more.
Nature photography is something I began doing sometime later when I would go on walks for exercise in a park not far from where my family and I live. The next thing I knew, I had a huge collection of photos and decided to start my nature photography business, Nature’s Finest by Maxine Billings. I have now expanded it to include several online stores that sell various products that contain my images. I have even branched out to doing portrait photography which I also enjoy.
My goal as an author is to write fiction inspirational stories about real-life issues in a way that inspire my readers in positive ways and give them hope–stories that depict my characters fighting and overcoming personal and family issues. Since my relationship with God is of extreme importance to me, I enjoy reading books that leave me with a clean conscience. I know that there are many other people who also enjoy “clean reading”. So, I believe that this is one of the main things that sets me apart from many writers. One of my proudest accomplishments is the publication of my first young adult fiction inspirational novel, LIFE AFTER MOMMA. I love encouraging young ones as much as I do older ones. It’s sometimes hard to get on an even level with young ones today, so when they read my book(s) and share with me how much they enjoyed it/them, that brings me so much delight!
I am a country girl who loves nature! As a nature photographer, I have learned to become more observant of natural creation. For instance, when I watch the birds at the feeder from my living room, I take notice of how they interact with each other. Observing them is like watching children play. They make me smile and laugh. I just can’t get enough of looking at them! One of things that I’m most proud of when it comes to my photography is being a Contributing Photographer for The Foundation For Photo/Art In Hospitals as part of their Healing Photo Art Program. Their mission is to donate large, framed photographs of nature and beautiful places to hospitals all over the world in an effort to give comfort and hope to patients and their families, visitors, and caregivers. Since studies show that nature art has a beneficial effect on relieving a patient’s stress and anxiety, I am extremely happy and proud to contribute to their worthy cause!
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
My goal or mission that drives me in my creative journey is positive encouragement. The world we live in is so full of hatred and violence, and we all (myself included) need encouragement and need to lift one another up. There are so many ways we can do that–sometimes, it can even be something as simple as a smile. People get beat down every day. What I want to give them is love, joy and laughter. I am so thankful that in addition to helping others in practical ways, I can also share with them two of my greatest loves which are writing and photography.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
For me, the most rewarding aspect of being an artist and creative is being able to bring praise, honor and glory to our Creator! Not only do I get to share my faith in Him with others through the characters in my stories, but I also get to share his marvelous, wonderful creation with them through my photography.
- Website: https://www.naturegiftstore.net/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writermite; https://www.facebook.com/maxinesvida; https://www.facebook.com/naturesfinestbymaxinebillings; https://www.facebook.com/Fine-Arts-Gifts-By-Maxine-398684153944279; https://www.facebook.com/Pixels-Gifts-By-Maxine-949787865146571; https://www.facebook.com/maxineszazzle, https://www.facebook.com/maxbill.photo
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBoZB–96o9EfTdITezLDWw