Thank you, author and speaker Peggy Sue Wells (http://peggysuewells.com/2013/02/24/what-is-the-next-best-thing/) for inviting me to participate in “The Next Big Thing” blog hop. I’m excited about giving you the history of my new book!
What is your working title of your book (or story)? My latest (tenth) book is Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ.
Where did the idea come from for the book? Cabbages and Kings is a collection of short, devotional-style articles. Most were published in a weekly column I wrote for my local newspaper for several years. The book chronicles my search for the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10. After I accepted Christ as my Savior at age seven, He brought into my life vibrant Christians who modeled the faith, joy, and peace I expected to be the automatic result of having the Lord in my life. I struggled for years before understanding He requires absolute surrender—committing my whole life to Him, no strings attached. The Holy Spirit then produces a cluster of fruit: love, joy, peace, patience gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self control (Gal. 5:22-23). My search for keys to making my Christianity work fired a passion to encourage other believers seeking to know and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
What genre does your book fall under? Non-fiction (inspirational/devotional/Christian living).
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Kyra Segwick’s character (Brenda) in The Closer seems a lot like me—often caught in complicated circumstances but determined to find a solution!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ, a look at life and lessons learned through God’s refining process, puts flesh on basic Christian concepts: requirements of surrender, overcoming self, battling the Enemy, growing to look like Christ, learning to abide in Christ and apply His Word to our daily walk.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My book is self published by CrossBooks (a division of LifeWay), Bloomington, Indiana. It’s available through their website www.crossbooks.com; LifeWay; Barnes & Noble; Amazon; and my website www.cabbageandkings.com. My future books will be represented by my agent.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I started writing my newspaper column as a college student. During its 17-year run, I married, finished college, birthed my two children, and wrote my first book. After leaving the newspaper to be a stay-at-home mom, I continued writing the column until time constraints forced me to give it up. When I decided to publish this collection, I selected 120 of the best articles (choosing from several hundred). I added 20 new pieces to update readers and make the book current. After editing and arranging in order, I printed several copies of my rough draft and asked friends to critique. The process from compiling to first draft covered about six months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Many readers are using my book as a daily devotional since the pieces are brief (one or two pages). I intended Cabbages and Kings to be a handbook for making our Christianity work. The articles are arranged in 12 sections, each with a brief introduction giving a glimpse of my life stages. These conversations with my readers, myself, and God cover diverse topics: surrender, the flesh, discouragement, negative thinking, anger, fear, self esteem, love, joy, faith, forgiveness, guilt, spiritual warfare, sovereignty, trusting God in hard places, perseverance, and hope. Although written in devotional style, Cabbages and Kings is different from other daily devotionals in that, while encouraging and giving a Christian perspective, it targets specific challenges in our daily pursuit of abundant life in Christ. Many are written in a light tone.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? Even when I was writing my column as a young college student and later as a wife and mother, the idea was in my heart to publish a collection someday. Early in my journalism career, my friend and mentor, Dr. Sherwood Wirt—prolific author and founding editor of Decision magazine—suggested I keep this possibility in mind. My newspaper column proved popular with readers. A survey once ranked it third behind Dear Abby and the sports page! Through the years I’ve met many faithful readers who mentioned a favorite article saved in their Bible. My desire to be a voice of encouragement and hope in a culture struggling with disillusionment prompted me to publish the collection at this time.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? My passion is to offer hope and teach what I’ve learned about living in joy, regardless of circumstances. Discouragement is rampant—terrorism, the wavering economy and financial struggles, devastating illnesses, shocking divorce rate, the “sandwich” generation rearing grandchildren and caring for elderly parents. Many Christians find themselves in overwhelming circumstances, trying to keep their head above water and wondering how to experience the joy and peace they’ve heard so much about. Cabbages and Kings suggests attitudes and habits essential for abundant living—confronting fear, anger, discouragement, and inferiority; moving past failure and guilt; learning how to put love and forgiveness into practice; choosing to rely on the Lord and live in His joy. I learned circumstances rarely bring us to joy. Joy is what Christ brings to our circumstances.
Thanks for your interest!