Dr. Velma Bagby is reeling readers in with a fiction series unlike anything they’ve ever read. I recently spoke with her about The WRONG CATCH.
Tell me about your latest book.
My recent April release is book #3 of the CATCH Series, a Christian contemporary fiction/Black/African American Christian fiction novel. Book one and two were released in April 2022, and although it began as one novel, readers demanded more fish analogies resulting in more books created for the series. I’m currently working on book #4, and there may be a total of six books in CATCH Series responding to reader requests. All books are available on Amazon, my website or purchase a copy at Riches in Reading Bookstore for a chance to win a $37.99 Swag Box (includes an autographed copy of the book, t-shirt, bookmark, anda set of CATCH cards).
This third book tells how word spread like wildfire after Veronica Dawson’s Sunday testimony—she shared her dad’s fish stories describing the wrong guys she dated and how she almost missed the husband God had for her. Some commented: “I can’t believe I dated all those fish characters,” “Using fish personalities for men was genius.”
In response to the demand, Greyson and Veronica host a women’s conference focused on the WRONG CATCH. This time, Greyson introduced four new fish analogies and uses trophy fish to discuss dating the wrong men.
The trophy fish are an elite group popular for fishing tournaments, a multi-million-dollar business. To win a trophy fish, anglers must prepare for a long fight, as these fish are huge and strong. They will fight relentlessly to avoid getting caught, including flying above water to knock the hook out of its mouth. Most times the fish wins, tiring out the angler.
On land, a trophy fish feels entitled, even when his financial status does not match the title. He does not see the woman as the prize and sees only himself. These guys believe anyone in their inner circle is like an extra in a movie and lucky to be around them.
The question Greyson challenged the women to answer was: If the guy is a trophy, what does that make the woman called to be his prize (crown)? Find out more in The WRONG CATCH.
Book two: The CATCH Homework Basket, a Christian nonfiction dating help and study guide, captures all the tools Veronica’s father provided her with during and after his intervention. He asked her to complete every task so she could apply the intentional dating principles he taught. This is perfect for self-study, book club discussions, or ministry groups.
Book one: The CATCH No One Wants, tells the story of Veronica Dawson’s obsession with getting married by her deadline, while her father, Greyson, watches in frustration as she makes the wrong choices in the guys who mistreat her. He prays for direction, and God’s answer directs him to use what he knows—he is an expert at fishing. Greyson invites his daughter on a two-day fishing trip, where he presents five fish analogies showing the behavioral similarities between fish and men. Four stories represent the men she’s dated: the catfish who loves garbage, the salmon who hates getting caught, the sturgeon who likes to nibble, and the pufferfish who is handsome until agitated—all highlight the dating mistakes his daughter made. While the fifth story, the goldfish, represented the husband she deserves. The man God chose was standing right in front of her most of her life.
Why did you decide to write it?
Based on the scripture’s description, I’m now considered a Titus 2 woman. After celebrating 49 years of marriage, I’m asked regularly about how our marriage survived so long and why are there so many broken relationships—even among believers.
Over time, several factors steered me in this new direction with my writing:
- Considered my 30-plus years mentoring singles, facilitating pre-marriage, and marriage counseling sessions with my pastor/husband.
- I watched couples who hoped we could fix their problems when the problem was they were marrying the wrong person.
- Read and observed the decline of successful marriages and the fact that the divorce rate was as high inside the church and outside of it.
- The history of the dating process practiced today is a little over two hundred years old, while God provided us the guidance related to marriage preparation, how to discover your mate, and dating (for a lack of a better word) with an intent to marry. All of this has gotten lost and very few ministries are teaching it.
I found my love of fiction after years of writing nonfiction as a Bible teacher, Sunday school teacher, and preacher. It saddened me to hear that some in the Christian community shun fiction over nonfiction. As I contemplated writing this fiction series, I wrestled with whether this book should be Christian contemporary fiction versus nonfiction. The question I asked myself was how do I talk about principles in scripture without being preachy, or how do I present this topic to those who may not be as familiar with the scripture? The idea came from the storytelling method Jesus used. A master storyteller, he told over 50 parables or fictional stories. Jesus presented stories to the listener using something familiar. He told stories that allowed the person to see themselves in it, where he provided a path to redemption or how to change, and at the end of the story, it was the hearer’s choice to change. I knew at that moment that was what I wanted to do in The CATCH No One Wants.
Following Jesus’ pattern, I used fish because the character’s father was a fishing expert. To do my research, I spoke to the only fishing expert I knew—my brother. When we talked, I began by asking him about his favorite fish to catch. He talked about the catfish and described what bait to use, their personality, what they liked or disliked, where to catch them, the conditions in the water, and more. For each fish he talked about, he repeated the same level of detail. After hearing them, I knew which guy would match the fish’s personality.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
My favorite were two characters—the Pike twins. They were interesting and fun to create. The research I conducted in search of the truth about twinning and whether it was a real thing was a fun discovery. My first stop was a conversation I had with my 49-year-old twin nephew. He provided clarity and a personal perspective about twinning, which confirmed the truth about their abilities.
What was the hardest part about writing the story?
Deciding which occupations to use for narcissistic men. One might assume, like I did initially, that these guys are all wealthy, but I discovered this is not always the case.
If you were to write a book about your life, what would be the title and why?
The title would be You Saw the Possible. It would address growing up in a neighborhood where everyone lived in the same manner, and I assumed life beyond our neighborhood was the same. I also thought our lives were normal as a kid and did not know they considered us poor.
As a young teen, I remember the moment I saw what was possible for me. It was the moment in the early 60s when I discovered my aunt worked as a supervisor at a bank in San Francisco, while all the other women of color in my neighborhood worked in the homes of people with money. My one glimpse at what was possible helped me as I climbed the management ladder. Because I saw my aunt achieve it, and I believed it was possible for me, too.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
You don’t know this now, but you just met your husband in your 10th-grade English class. The two of you will have successful careers and will enjoy a long, blessed marriage together. After retiring as a deputy administrator in state government, you think you will just relax at home, but you won’t. You will start your writing career at 64 and become an award-winning, bestselling author, certified dating relationship coach, and speaker. God will help you find your lane, and you will love it! You will write, coach, and speak to help single women date4marriage using date-with-intent strategies.
What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in a singing family and several members sang in groups. My dad sang with Grammy-award winning artist Joe Simon before he went solo. Their group recorded several 45 records back in the mid-1950s.
Tell me about a book that changed your life and why.
Besides the Bible, the Love is a Choice workbook helped me when my husband and I hit a rough patch early in our marriage. The workbook is written by Christian psychologists and addresses co-dependency issues in the way we love—tendencies we develop and bring forward into adulthood. I discovered it as a valuable tool and recommend it to singles and married couples to help them lay aside the weight of their past I discuss in my books.
What’s next for you?
Looking forward to more speaking events with the message of dating4marriage. As an author, men have asked that I write about women who are the wrong catch and readers asked for more fish analogies. Given that feedback, there will be at least six books in the CATCH Series. I’m completing the draft of book #4 in the series. It addresses women who are the wrong catch, based on Proverbs 14:1: “A wise woman builds a house, a foolish woman tears it down.” The book is called, The WRONG CATCH. She’ll Tear Down the House.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
I look forward to hearing from those who read my books and can’t wait to facilitate more workshops or speaking engagements on the topic. I conducted a workshop, “Let’s Go Fishing for the Right CATCH” at CBLR 2022, and I plan to do so again in response to the participants’ request to repeat the workshop at the 2023 session. Stay connected to receive updates.
Use the Black Fiction Addiction affiliate link to purchase your copy of The WRONG CATCH.
To learn more about Dr. Velma Bagby, Award-Winning Author/Certified Dating-Relationship Coach/Minister (Th.D.)/CEO, Adoni Publishing, LLC., email her, visit her website or connect with her on social media.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/drvelmabagby