CBP: Hi Michele! Can you start by telling us your Christian testimony?
Michele: When I was 12, my mother's sister came for a holiday visit and we shared my room. I remember her explaining the Gospel message to me and I immediately knew I needed to ask for forgiveness and that I wanted to have Christ in my life. It was nothing dramatic, just straightforward and simple. I floundered some through high school since I wasn't attending a church and didn't have any in-town relatives to keep me accountable or help me along the way as a young believer. After high school, I attended a Christian seminar and recommitted my life to Christ, since then I've been active in my church, serving and growing, learning and living by God's boundless grace and mercy.
CBP: How did you come up with idea for the "Prayers for..." series?Michele: For many years now, I've wanted to write books for women that would gently draw both the heart and mind to Christ...the only place where we find lasting and sufficient help for our problems. By telling women's stories and then redirecting attention back to God as the resource for all that we need, I believe it creates a community of sorts amongst women. We may not all endure the death of a child, the abandonment of a spouse, or the loss of a dearly held job; yet we can empathize with the emotions and the struggles others must go through as they attempt to cope. Situations may differ, but life's challenges are universal....praying honestly and truthfully can be the first step in moving through such desperate times which is why my prayers almost read like a pleading for relief, aid, or restoration, for that is how we feel as we work through difficult losses.
CBP: Why new moms this time?
Michele: I was only married for six weeks when I became pregnant and in just over 6 years, we had four children. Honestly, those early years were filled with so much morning to evening (and often throughout the night) physical labor that many of the moments are a blur. My mom will now ask me if I remember a certain event, and often, I've not been able to recall it. Since those years were so challenging to me personally, I wanted to come along side other new and expecting moms, to offer some reassurance that yes, pregnancy and childbearing and rearing are wondrous events....blessed ones. Still, the bodily changes, the illnesses, financial adjustments, marital stresses, do all make their appearances known right in time with the baby showers and the baby's arrival. So these stories are prayers truly are the stuff of pregnancy and parenting.
CBP: What is the process you go through when writing your prayer books?
Michele: Prayer is a large part of my preparation as I ask God to help me present the stories of women which He wants told to encourage faithfulness, strengthen resolve, and to honor Him. Since I am a morning person, I write first thing after my husband and high schoolers leave the house. I carefully plot out the stories I'll use under various topic headings, often friends and family pull me aside and tell me about someone they know and how they're struggling or triumphing over a challenging situation. I make mental notes and then try to place these events within my list of stories that must be shared. Then I get writing, first the story, then the Bible verse, followed by the prayer and the take away quote. I do one a day, maybe two, then go back to it later on and revise. It's a pretty simple day in and day out system that works for me.
CBP: What other projects do you have in the works?
Michele: Right now, I've just completed a book tentatively titled, "Prayers to Restore a Woman's Soul" which focuses on the benefits and restorative aspects of God's created world as a balm to our souls. Each story takes one specific facet of nature and builds around it to communicate how deeply we are impacted by God's marvelous and ever-changing physical universe. I'm also working on Prayers for Every Season, which details the various seasons of life women experience. Finally, I have a title for professional women and one for de-stressing the holidays.
CBP: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Michele: Schedule in time daily to write, be it 30 minutes or 90 minutes. When my children were small, I fit in 30 minutes every day. It is remarkable how much can be accomplished when you discipline yourself to something daily...even for a mere 30 minute time slot. Somehow, articles got written and reviews were turned in and eventually stories developed into book ideas. My only additional advice is not to give up. Expect rejections and take them with good grace, learn from them and then move on. Find the subject area where God has impassioned your heart personally and write about it.