4 Questions, 3 Authors and a Blog Hop

Ever heard of blog hopping? Yeah, me neither 🙂

But, thanks to the incomparable Megan Cyruleski, I’m trying my hand at this!

The long and the short:
I give you the answers to four questions about my work as a writer and author. Then, like a chain letter (in a good kind of way) I “tag” three more blogger/authors and then they do the same. Fitting that I was tagged by Megan 🙂 the generous ambition behind her blog is to support other authors. Shout out and a hardy thanks to Megan Cyruleski–and you HAVE to read her book, Who Am I?

And up next…

Heather LettoHeather Letto

You’re in for a treat! I’m halfway through an advance copy of Heather’s first book, Impervious, and it’s incredible! Think Hunger Games mixed with the creation story. In this book Heather skillfully portrays the consequences of sin and the beauty of redemption. Her book will be available in May 2014!

walk in freedom

Brenna Kate Simonds

I first met Brenna Kate when she wrote a guest post for FINDINGbalance. Brenna’s guts and grace blew me away. When I found out that she was in the final stages of publishing her book, Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps, I begged her to let me read and review it. If you’re stuck, mired in addiction–of any kind–this book is for you. 

Yojary Moreno

Yojary Lozano

Yojary Lozano’s book, Family Baggage, is waiting in the wings. Because we are represented by the same wonderful agent, Vanessa Grossett, I was given the opportunity to read her book before the rest of you. (Lucky me, just you wait!)
Yojary’s book is unlike any I’ve read before. Growing up in poverty, in the jungles of Columbia was the least of her challenges. Her story mines the depths love, determination, true grit, pain and forgiveness.

Now for the four questions:

What am I working on? The bloody (not really, just pretending I’m British) painful and ubiquitous art of publicity. There is forever another opportunity to promote a book. The constant fear is whether I’m doing it right. Thankfully, the same God who healed me from anorexia, prompted me to write the book and then gave me words and energy to do so, will do this for me as well. On top of that, I continue to write for a number of Christian publications. And my husband and I fast approaching our next military move.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? My book goes beyond the fairly familiar story of: eating disorder, counseling, recovery. Few other books take the reader inside a treatment center and show the daily details–in a positive way. Also, my book spans almost two decades, vulnerably showing how the eating disorder wounded my nuclear family and also how it affected my marriage. My book is unapologetically Christian. In that way, I feel it offers a stronger hope than many books who leave the reader still wondering “will what they did work for me?”

Why do I write what I do? A few weeks ago, a friend from high school messaged me and said that she remembered me saying way back then that someday I wanted to write a book. In high school, I had already been through treatment once and was still living in the hell of anorexia. I knew that there was no point in the suffering if I couldn’t reach out someday to lift others up from that pit. That’s why I write–to be evidence that Jesus saves.

How does your writing process work? Hmm…I’m still trying to figure that one out myself 🙂
It depends on the day. Since my husband and I don’t have children and I don’t work outside the home, I’m pretty flexible with my schedule. My dog and I volunteer with Pet Parters visiting local schools, nursing homes and hospitals on a regular basis, so that takes some time away from the keyboard.

Usually, my ideas germinate during my Bible study in the early morning. They sprout while Brave (my dog) and I walk around the lake, during my workout and laundry, dishes, dusting, etc. Finally, when the thoughts are bursting from my brain, I sit (or sometimes stand at the kitchen bar) and spew them on the page. After the draft is done, I leave the house. Anything, something–just to get away from words. When I come home, I edit for a while. If it’s short, the piece might be polished in a day–or not. 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting me here today! I hope you’ll visit each author I mentioned above and READ THEIR BOOKS!

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An Interview with Brenna Simonds of Living Unveiled

Brenna's bookAn interview with the indomitable author, Brenna Kate Simonds! Welcome!

Abby: What is your book title, and when will it be available?

Brenna Kate: Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps
It’s been released on Kindle. The paperback release will be in late January.

A: What is one word that sums up this book…Why?

BK: Freedom! What freedom is and how it plays out in the life of a Christian is one of the most misunderstood topics in Christianity. But Jesus died so that we can experience true freedom, and it’s worth taking the time to discern what that might look like in our lives.

A: Is this your first book? If so, what was the inspiration that led you to begin this project? And if you’ve written others, what are they?

BK: This is the first full-length book I’ve written myself. I’ve been involved in a few other projects in the past. I began to compile this book for the ministry I direct and while gathering the material, I felt God saying that this book was for a broader audience. It’s certainly been a labor of love, but I trust God will use it as He sees fit.

A: Who is your intended audience and what do you hope your readers take away from your work?

BK: My intended audience is everyone! One of my biggest fans is not even a Christian. I really think anyone could gain something from Learning to Walk in Freedom. It’s for people whose heart’s cry is telling them that there is more to life than they have experienced thus far.

A: What was the hardest part of writing this story? What brought you the most joy?

BK: One of the more difficult pieces of writing this was sharing my story so publicly. The book is not centered around the details of my story, but I do share it at the end to give readers context. It’s all stuff I have written before and even spoken publicly, but putting it in print for all eternity is a different story! But the same thing has brought me the most joy. I already know from the times I’ve shared both my story and these five freedom steps, this is God’s story and He is using it to impact lives. If I can help one person with my transparency, then it’s all worth it.

A: Who has inspired you most in your writing career? Personally? Professionally?

BK: I was mentored by Mike Olejarz; he also wrote the foreword of Learning to Walk in Freedom. Mike began pouring his life into mine when I attended the campus ministry he directed in Boston. Even beyond our years of serving side by side, Mike has taken an active interest in my development and in me in general! He’s a fantastic man of God, and I pray I can influence as many people in my life as he has. My husband and I find ourselves quoting him on a regular basis!

I have a long list of unofficial mentors, some of whom I’ve met, some I’ve only emailed, and some with whom I’ve never spoken.  I’ll list them in no particular order: Nick Fatato, John Ortberg, Russell Willingham, Gary Thomas, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley, Richard Foster, and Bob Hamp.

A: Tell us a little about yourself:

What was your nickname as a child?
Banana Cake! Kind of sounds like Brenna Kate, doesn’t it?

Favorite color?
Burgundy – because it’s so pretty ☺

Preferred writing attire? (Jammies? Yoga pants? Three piece suit?)
I don’t have preferred attire. Whatever I’m wearing at the time is fine, but I have a preferred beverage. Coffee!!! Mostly decaf. I’m high-energy enough as it is.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee! I drink it black. I do try and alternate it with herbal tea.

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
Though I’m originally from New England, I have to say Starbucks. Their coffee is just better. Their food is, too!

Favorite author?
I have to pick one? This is far too difficult a question. But I’ll try. I’d have to say Russell Willingham. His concept of core beliefs is one I’ve shared more than any other concept. It’s why I asked him to read my book and possibly endorse it (if he liked it – which he thankfully did!). I can’t wait to see what else he has to say in future writings. Gary Thomas is a close second. I always give his book Sacred Marriage to newlyweds, and his book Sacred Influence to struggling wives.

Thanks for being with us, Brenna! Best of luck on your book!
If you’d like to purchase Brenna’s book, the e-version is available on Amazon now: Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps.

If you want to pre-order a paperback copy of Brenna’s book, you can do that here: Pre-order!

Walking, Hearing Voices

I’ve set my ONE WORD this year as: Walk, and we’ll talk about that much in the coming weeks. It might even be the seed of a new book germinating (very deeply and slowly) in my heart.

At the end of 2013, God brought several new voices into my life. I’d heard the echoes of two of them many times, but only began to recognize their wisdom recently. The other one I’m sharing with you today is a new friend, and in coming weeks you’ll get to “sit” down with Brenna Kate Simonds and get to know her personally.

But, these are the voices of a couple of people I plan to walk with this year.

C.S. Lewis: “You do not have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Rick Warren: “For change to happen in any area of your life, whether it’s financial, vocational, educational, mental, or relational, you have to begin with the physical.

Why? Because your body affects your behavior. Your muscles affect your moods and your motivation. Your physiology can actually affect your psychology.”

Brenna Kate Simonds: Wherever you go, there you are.

Have you ever thought about what this really means? We get so focused on changing our external circumstances that we forget this simple truth: Most external issues flow out of internal issues. So no matter where you go or how much weight you lose, inside you are still you. If we don’t allow God to change the internal, changing the externals will not have the hoped-for result. We will experience the same trials, the same struggles, the same unhelpful thought patterns. We will do the same thing again and again and expect different results.

Obviously, these voices span the ages, but there is wisdom in each. Throughout this year, as you “walk” with me, I will introduce you to many other voices that will influence us to walk in the freedom that Christ purchased for us.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Eph. 5:8