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Friday, April 14, 2023

TAKE TEN with Dr. Velma Bagby, author of THE CATCH Series

by Cyrus Webb

Dr. Velma Bagby is an individual on a mission. In 2022 she started an important series of conversations about dating and marriage with the release of her Catch Series. Now that we are into 2023 she is releasing her third book in the series called THE WRONG CATCH. 

In this recap of 2022 we talked about the response to THE CATCH, her freedom of speech about marriage and relationships and what it's been like to be leading a movement. 

Dr. Velma, congratulations again on the success with THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS. What has it been like for you to see how readers are enjoying the story?

I am in awe! The responses have been more than I expected. Based on feedback from the reviewers, Clubhouse conversations, and podcast interviews, I’ve heard from readers who understood and appreciated Veronica’s journey with her dad’s support. Readers felt their relationship was special.

Regarding the fish stories, some said, “Where was this book when I dated all four of the fish in the book?” And one reviewer said they were ordering a second book for “a co-worker who is dating a Catfish.” I love the fact that readers are referring to the characters’ fish titles, such as the catfish or the pufferfish. Hearing and reading these responses encourages me, but also confirms what I hoped—that women find something they can relate to or find nuggets in the book that they can use for themselves or share with others. One surprising outcome was the fact that several men also found the book interesting as well.

You have written other books before The Catch series. What do you think separates the novel THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS FROM THEM?

The CATCH is different in the sense that it represents my debut in the Christian Contemporary Fiction genre. This genre provided me the ability to begin a new journey in storytelling and as a result, it became more than a story that entertains.

The reactions to the book have also made it feel different from all my other books. Besides the special relationship of a daughter and father, there were many who reacted to the use of the fish analogies which shows the similarities between the personalities of fish and men—some felt the analogy was “genius,” while others were excited about how the comparisons were both fascinating and perfectly matched. While a guest on a radio panel, the host asked me to introduce my book. Afterwards, another participant on the show remarked, “The fish stories sound like they can be in a play or movie.” Hearing the words was inspiring.

Although there are entertaining elements in the book, more importantly, is the underlying message. In the end, after all the components were in place for the stories, I felt such a sense of accomplishment when the book was complete.

We have had a chance to talk about how your writing journey started. When did you know that writing was something you were meant to do?

Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I did not consider myself a writer until sometime later. While growing up in church, I wrote skits for the children’s church and youth groups. As a Bible Study teacher, I created content for class discussions, as well as the degree courses for the school of biblical studies. Later in my work life, I designed and developed programs, conducted continuous process improvements, as well as created training modules for new managers. As I look back on my career, I discovered that my favorite aspect of my job as a Deputy Administrator in the State government was my love for continuous improvement—whether it was a program, a process, or a person looking for a career. This experience helped me discover my love for making a program or process more efficient and client driven. Driving this work was my desire to improve the experience of the staff who performed a service, while also improving the benefits a person received after accessing the service.

Later, with my daughters’ encouragement, I felt the call to publish my first book after retiring from my State government job in 2012. The book was based on our conversations around a question they asked, “Mom, why are men so slow?” It took some time to dig a little deeper into the scriptures for answers before I responded to their question. My two registered nurses were not interested in fluff and would expect a more in-depth discussion. Because of where they were in their lives, I needed to familiarize myself with what the scripture said about singles and marriage. I set aside all the ‘how-to’ books in my library and studied the scripture; and as a result, discovered some new things I had not seen before. My conversations with my daughters resulted in my messaging—to “date with intent” and the fact that “marriage belongs to God—we just get the benefit of having a mate.” As we began having regular conversations about God’s process of presenting their mates, with a focus on working on themselves, they found what I shared intriguing and wanted to know more. As our conversations progressed, they shared our talks with friends, and those friends wanted to know more—soon, my daughters encouraged me to put our conversations in a book.

My debut as an author occurred with my first published nonfiction book in 2018, “Your Adam Is Asleep Until God Opens His Eyes—A conversation between a mother and her daughters about men.” This was my first book about dating, relationships, and marriage. It was a call to action for singles, who focused more on the search for a man than taking time to prepare themselves for marriage, and for married couples looking for a reset.

Talking about relationships is not always easy. You have even written about your own relationships and marriage. Have you always been so transparent?

Yes, I try to be open and transparent. I remember talking with my daughters and husband about how important it was for us to be transparent when I prepared to publish my first nonfiction book. I wanted the book to reflect our truth. We agreed it was important to be open and honest so that what we talked about would resonate with those reading the book.

In the Kindle of “My 70s Love Story,” I wanted to be honest about the process of discovering my mate. The story includes some humor about how God did it, as well as the bumps in the road along the way. I learned the importance of yielding to God’s timing and His way.

In my first fiction book, “A Place Called Down-Why Christians Suffer,” I wrote about an experience suffering from three health attacks during 2019, which lasted most of the year. I provided my initial reaction, which was to question, “why me?” I felt as a believer, I was doing everything a good Christian should at the time and questioned why this season was happening. I shared what God showed me and what He taught me through the experience.

Along with the novel THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS you also released a non-fiction work called THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS Homework Basket in 2022. Talk with us about what led to your releasing that book?

The Homework Basket was not in my initial plan, but the idea developed during the editing process. Fiction books require that we not include a lot of scripture references, although we can address them in our writing. I struggled with following the instructions of my editor to remove the sections related to the material the father provided because I did not know what to do with the information. It was my belief that the readers may want the handouts the father provided his daughter in that wicker basket at the end of their trip. 

The Homework Basket included workbooks, handouts, and more. He instructed his daughter to review and complete the material as part of her work to make improvements and prepare herself for her mate. It was then I realized the perfect place for the material was to create a book entitled the Homework Basket or a study guide. It is perfect for book club discussions, ministry groups, or personal study. One reviewer remarked, “I started reading the book and was like let me take notes but realized this homework basket was perfect for note-taking.”

We have talked about intentional dating. What is that, and how does it change the way we approach dating versus what we see in the world?

In everything we set out to accomplish in our lives, we create a goal and keep that target in front of us as a reminder of what we are working towards—whether it is college, career, successful business, or other goals. Each day, we may remind ourselves of what we need to do to achieve our goal, by adding education, training, connecting with the right people, adding experience, a list of tasks needed, or even a vision board. Some can even take it further by using an assessment tool to measure their success. Whatever action is necessary to achieve the goal, we apply what’s needed to continue moving towards the mark. These actions show we are deliberate in our actions because they support what we hope to achieve.

With intentional dating, marriage is the goal—it is the message that the person is dating with an intent (purpose) to marry. The individual takes the steps needed to help achieve that goal—including preparing themselves for their future mate. Therefore, it is a strategic approach to dating, like the principles used with business goals. Some steps include: asking intentional dating questions early to determine what is in the mind of the other person, determining if the person also has a marriage goal, so you do not waste time with a person who does not share your goal, it has an emphasis on identifying quality characteristics of the person and on looking at their commitment to God, their faith and more.

In dating with an intent to marry, the person has established their goal, and to achieve that goal, they will create the tasks that will help them achieve it. 

You have been active on social media even before the release of THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS. What has that been like for you to touch the world online?

The most profound experience was when I began posting snippets from my book, “My 70s Love Story.” I could not believe how many high schoolers began following me. It was as if they were fascinated by the 70s dating experience—when life was simpler. I even compared the 70s dating experience to pandemic dating, after the pandemic hit. The pandemic did not allow dates to meet in person, conversations were by Instagram or phone, This experience helped me to find an audience for dating issues.

When people read THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS what do you hope they remember about Veronica’s journey?

Veronica’s dad is a pastor who wanted to ensure his children and the singles in his church understood the difference between dating socially and dating with an intent (purpose) to marry. Dating for marriage changes the strategies, the goal, the questions, and the approach to dating. I explain the principles of dating with an intent to marry in more detail through the lives of the book characters and even more in the Homework Basket.

Veronica’s journey represents a story of hope and redemption—initially lost, thanks to her dad, Veronica was able to find her way. This book was written with the hope that Veronica’s story will resonate with other single women who have faced or will face similar challenges in their dating lives. It’s my hope this book provides them answers, insight, laughter, reality, help, and hope. End the end, may the readers find useful tools to help them achieve their marriage goal. 

Dr. Velma, what advice do you have for others when it comes to writing and sharing their story?

It is never too late to realize your dream. If I can begin my journey at age 64, you are not too late. This is your goal, so put in the work. Read as many “how-to books” as you can to understand what’s required for the genre you plan to write. Read books of others within the genre you are interested in so that you can learn from published authors. This is not an island experience, connecting with other authors for support and to learn is helpful. Sign up for their blog, especially if they blog about the writing journey.

10. Thanks again for your time. How can our readers stay connected with you? 

Thank you for the opportunity. They can find me at the following:








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