Lydia is the author of Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting: For Grandparents at Any Stage of the Journey from AMG Publishers, October 2010, a 212 page book. If you'd like a chance to win it, please comment and leave your email address!
How long have you known you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
I often said, “Some day I’m going to write a book.” But I was busy raising a daughter and son. Then in December 1996, with an empty nest, I sensed God’s nudge: “Lydia, it’s time to begin writing.” So I began writing for publication in my early fifties.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
I write nonfiction devotionals, articles, book reviews, stories, and a regular column, “A Cup of Tea with Lydia.” I also write recipes for children and adults. Recently, I’ve had a Bible study published.
Sounds as if you keep very busy. How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day?
Most days I invest time in writing, speaking, or promoting my book. The time spent varies depending on what’s due. I write early in the morning, often starting at 5 a.m. Now with a published book, I speak each month, so some of my time is used preparing to teach or speak and make other connections to promote my book.
Marketing is a fulltime job in itself, but a necessity! Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it?
I’m thrilled that Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting came out in October 2010. It’s not only for new grandparents but also for grandparents at any stage of the journey. This Bible study affirms grandparents in their important role and gives them practical tools to become fantastic grandparents and pass on a legacy of faith. The numerous grandparenting stories, quotes, and practical tips and charts make it a fun, practical resource to refer to for years to come. Grandparents who have studied it individually and in church and community groups have said, “I loved it,” “It made me a better grandparent,” and “I gained confidence as a grandmother.”
A book that should be in the hands of every grandparent in America. How and where can readers buy your book?
- The book can be ordered from bookstores, such as Barnes and Noble or Family Christian Bookstores.
- It’s also available online through Christianbook.com and Amazon.com.
- My Web site (http://www.preparingmyheart.net/) also lists numerous places to order it under “store.”
When I started writing for publication in 1997, I questioned whether I would get published. But since I began by writing mostly assigned book reviews and articles, I didn’t receive many rejections. I spent twelve years writing hundreds of short pieces for dozens of publications, including Focus on the Family. These short pieces were like sprints that prepared me for a longer run.
In contrast, writing a book was a marathon. Without God’s help, many prayers of others, and my supportive husband, I wouldn’t have completed thirty Bible study lessons in thirty-six weeks. The biggest hurdle was the deadline. I soon learned nine months is a short time to complete a 212-page Bible study and have it tested by grandparents. Also, the word “grandparentng” doesn’t appear in the Bible, so I spent much time doing biblical research and interviewing grandparents. The ongoing pressure to write each day from morning to evening became wearisome at times. But the completed book and encouraging responses from readers make it all worthwhile.
It does, doesn't it? Who has inspired you the most?
In writing the Bible study, my niece, Ann Marie Stewart, has inspired me the most. My study is part of AMG Publishers “Preparing My Heart” series. Ann wrote the first three books in the series on preparing for Advent, Easter, and motherhood. As I wrote the fourth one on grandparenting, Ann mentored me throughout the process and answered questions. But my biggest encourager in writing is my husband, Milt Harris. He’s the president of my FAN club.
When it comes to writing in general, two organizations and their conferences have been invaluable: Northwest Christian Writers’ Association (http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/) and Oregon Christian Writers (http://www.oregonchristianwriters.org/).
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “eeny, meeny, miny, moe?”
I met Dan Penwell, editor at AMG Publishers, at the Oregon Christian Writers conference and saw him there year after year. Since my niece had written Bible studies for AMG Publishers, I asked Dan if he was interested in a study for grandparents. He was. But it took me years to research the topic and write a proposal. When I finally submitted it to Dan, he was seriously ill and soon retired. He left my proposal on his desk. Before long, his successor contacted me and sent a contract to write the study. God’s hand and timing were evident in it all.
Now that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
I’m thankful I could prepare a tool for God’s use. But sitting back—no. Just as new babies need care and nurturing to grow and develop, authors need to invest in their new books to make them visible and help sales grow. I spend time networking, speaking, and doing many things to promote my book.
Besides book promotion, I continue to write short pieces, such as recipes and my tea column. I’m also working on other book projects. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I want to complete what God has prepared in advance for me to do. And that doesn’t seem to include sitting back.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests?
I love to serve tea and go out for tea. For our fortieth wedding anniversary, my husband suggested we go for tea for-tea (forty) times in the next year. It took us 2 1/2 years, but we reached our goal of forty tea outings. I enjoy spending time with Milt, my husband of 44 years.
Of course, our five grandchildren, ages one to twelve, light up our lives. One was born while I wrote this book. It’s our privilege to spend time with them and intentionally pass on our faith. Later in August, we’ll have the four older ones here for a sleepover and celebrate their spiritual birthdays together. My study includes dozens of creative ideas like this one, which combine fun and faith.
Reading, writing, cooking, and music bring joy. Worship and building relationships with family and friends is also a high priority.
You have many of the same loves that I do. Finally, would you give us your blog or Web page so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
You can learn more about my book at www.PreparingMyHeart.net. Under “free,” you’ll find a complete table of contents and sample pages of the study. Grandparent’s Day is September 11, and this book would make a great gift for grandparents. The book can be used alone, with a spouse, or in church and community groups. It’s a wonderful tool to spur each other on to pray for grandkids, invest in their lives, and pass on a godly legacy. Grandparents can learn and grow in their roles as they study it alone or together.
Although this was the hardest writing assignment I’ve ever done, I felt privileged to complete this God-sized project. Now it’s a joy to see God use it to impact future generations. To God be the glory!
Thank you so much, Lydia, for visiting this week! I think your book sounds fantastic!
Readers, if you are a grandparent, becoming one, or just would like to give away this book, please leave your comment and email address.