Last Friday of January!
And we’ve reached the last Friday of the first month of the year! How crazy is that? It’s surreal how the days are galloping past. I wonder if, at the end of this year, we’ll make the same comments as we did at the end of 2020. “This year seemed to last for years!” So it’s time for another interview.
Seeing we’re looking at one of my books this week, I’ve asked a friend and writing colleague to conduct an interview with me. Anna Jensen and I both have two books in the boxed set, In All Things. So thank you Anna. Over to you, as we look at my second book in the set, Peace in Life’s Storms!
Anna’s Interview of Shirley
Anna: Welcome Shirl! Great to have you with us today.
Shirley: Thank you. It’s quite fun to be interviewed by a guest on my own site!
Anna: Yes, I know you’re nearing the end of your interviews of the other authors from the In All Things set. Now it’s my turn to quiz you!
So tell us, what motivated you to choose the theme for this particular book, Peace in Life’s Storms, in the set, In All Things?
Shirley: As I looked at the state of the world during a global pandemic, it seemed an obvious choice for me. I love looking at the stories and characters in God’s Word and bringing them to life. I thought it would be easy to find seven storms of significance, but it was surprisingly difficult to find seven that could be likened to what we were experiencing and to encourage my readers that despite the way the world looked, God DID have everything under control.
Anna: I love that your focus is on storms that have faced Bible heroes in the past. As The Teacher says in Ecclesiastes, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’ And that brings me to my second question. Obviously, all seven were not easy to find. Was there one (or more) that caused you to struggle? Why?
Shirley: Some were easy. But in other cases, my problem was staying with the storm. For example, there’s so much you can say about Noah and the ark. In fact, I’ve written another short book on it, The Boat that Saved Mankind. But this book was about storms. So I had to focus on the storm alone. Same with Job. His life was a mess! But the theme of that chapter had to center on storms. Even the well-known story of Jonah. All I wrote about was the actual storm. While that was a challenge, I was surprised at what I found while examining that short section.
Anna: It’s always so interesting to dig a little deeper into a story, isn’t it? Do you feel you grew at all spiritually (or in any other way) while you were writing this book?
Shirley: Definitely. I always find it exciting when I really delve into a passage and put myself into the situation along with the disciples, the victim, or the hero of the story. I love to look at the story through THEIR eyes. These were no exception.
Take, for example, Peter walking on the waves. We all know the story so well. But I really did a double-take when I realized at the point he climbed out the boat, Jesus was too far away for the disciples to be sure it was him! And yet, when Peter had his famous sinking moment, Jesus was right there to save him.
How long does it take to sink? Ask yourself that question. Seriously. So the truth is, Peter had actually walked for quite a distance before he looked down at his feet and panicked. He was right next to Jesus!
Anna: Mm, that is a good question to ponder!
Anna: Now, Shirl, I know you were very instrumental in getting the whole In All Things project off the ground and pulling it all together. Have you ever participated in a boxed set or any other multi-author project before? How did this one compare with the others?
Shirley: (Laughing) This was my first experience with a boxed set of any kind. When I started, it seemed such an easy procedure. Thirteen authors would each write a 7-day book of devotions. I would then sandwich them together and create a box cover. How difficult could this be?
I knew the box cover would be a challenge as I’d never done one before, but I was keen to try. I had Marion Ueckermann in the wings in case I couldn’t manage. She has done plenty. However, the cover turned out to be only one of many challenges.
The whole project was a huge learning curve for me and involved many issues I hadn’t anticipated. But the Lord blessed me with a great group of patient authors, including you and Marion, to bounce problems off, and so it worked out fine in the long run.
Anna: Ah, it was a privilege to be in this together. One aspect of any project which is destined for a wider audience is marketing. We did a lot of promotions over a month before the launch. What did you enjoy about them? Or what was the most difficult for you?
Shirley: I enjoyed playing with the graphics and coming up with new ideas to promote the set. Initially, I was concerned that we were going to overload folk on Facebook and they would just switch off from the posts. Then I read an article that pointed out how few of our posts actually get seen by our Facebook readers. The writer also stated something that gave me a wake-up call. “If you really believe your book has the power to change lives, how can you NOT give them a chance to purchase it?” After that, I had no problem with my conscience.
Anna: Well, it’s certainly been a worthwhile project, and it’s great that we could round it off by publishing it in paperback format, even though there is a very limited number and it is only available for the authors themselves, who could order as many as they wished on a once-off basis.
Thank you for the opportunity to do this with you. Let’s end by listening to you reading a short excerpt from Peace in Life’s Storms.
Other authors in the set already interviewed:
Shirley Corder – 7 African Animals
Sunrise to Sunset- – Deryn van der Tang
What God Wants – Ashley Winter
Inspired to Worship – Ann Goodfellow
Steps of Faith – Crystal Warren
Life is Good – Yvonne Tippins
Promises to Cherish – Vida Li Sik
Saints in Lockdown – Val Waldeck
Musings from an African Garden – Anna Jensen
Reflections from the Ocean (and Surrounds) – Marion Ueckermann
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