Welcome, Betsy and Laurie! Tell us a bit about yourselves.We are sisters - not just spiritual sisters, but real biological sisters too. Our childhood was spent in West Virginia in a writing home. Our mother wrote children’s books and our father was a college professor who wrote books about aviation. We were surrounded by books and have always valued reading and writing. We wrote independently for twenty years, but had collaborated on four books with our mother. Collaboration is fun - writing can be a lonely endeavor. We enjoyed the excitement of sharing the writing, sharing the pain of rejection and also sharing the joy of successes. When our mother decided to retire, we decided to form the Writing Sisters, specifically to show about the power of God’s Word to change lives.
I know y'all have written children's novels. What made you decide to switch gears to adult fiction?The idea for The Shepherd’s Song began in a small coffee shop in Madison, Georgia, where we meet every week to write. That morning we prayed for God to reveal our next writing project. Up till that time we had written children’s books individually and together and we thought we had come to the coffee shop to plan our next children’s book.
Betsy had read the 23rd Psalm in her quiet time that day. We had both committed our writing to God and began to think the Psalm would be a good subject for a book. The problem was we couldn’t see it as a children’s book. As children’s writers it was hard to imagine writing a book that was longer than 64 pages! We knew that we could only do it with God leading us. The more we talked about the idea the more excited we became and we finished drafts of the first two stories that day.
I love it how the Lord leads if we'll only listen. Congratulations on your new release! What is The Shepherd's Song about?The Shepherd’s Song is the story of a woman who, like a lot of us, wonders if her life has mattered. She writes out Psalm 23 for her wayward son, and is later in a car accident. As she is rushed to the hospital she prays, “Let my life count.” Her copy of the psalm then begins a journey around the world, changing the lives of twelve different people.
An interesting concept. Where did you get the inspiration for your story?We were both drawn to Psalm 23 and it became the inspiration for the book. We were intrigued with the idea that without any explanation the Word of God could change a life. In fact one character doesn’t speak English, and only recognizes one word of the Psalm - water. Is that enough to find God? We loved that thought. Over the course of the year that we wrote the book, God seemed to teach us personally about His role as Shepherd in our lives. We both experienced valleys of life in the form of illnesses of family members. We both had our first grandchildren in that year. Our cups overflowed! It is a passage of scripture that speaks to all of us about God’s love and faithfulness.
No doubt God's Word is powerful, and Psalm 23 holds a wonderful message. What is one message you hope readers will take away from your story?God gives us second chances! There are so many powerful themes that flow from the twenty-third Psalm. God’s deep love and care for us and His protection and blessing, but the idea of second chances permeates the book. God is constantly seeking us and restoring us. No matter what has happened in our lives or what we have done, God is always ready to welcome us back into the fold.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?The favorite scenes for us are those breakthrough moments that a character experiences when they see God in a new way through Psalm 23. This book was fun to write because we had so many of those moments. A lonely dry cleaning employee who lives a life of want finally sees the abundance that God wants for him. A soldier wounded in Iraq learns what it means to lie down in green pastures.
We both love scenes that bring back our childhood. Like the chapter where the two characters on the plane are discussing Thanksgiving dinner. We had such fun writing it and adding our own special parts of the meal, from the big bowl of limas with a large pat of melting butter on top, to the pies: pecan, sweet potato, chocolate cream, and vinegar. And the “moist maker” sandwich with leftovers (you’ll have to read the book to know what the “moist maker” is!)
Sounds like there are a lot of different, interesting facets to the story. What do you plan to work on next?Writing together has been a great adventure and we are continuing the journey. We are continuing to focus on scripture as our inspiration and are currently working with the Lord’s Prayer on a follow up to The Shepherd’s Song. We also have a series of children’s book based on scripture from the viewpoint of animals. The first one, Glad Tidings: The Diaries of the Christmas Animals, will be released this fall.
That ought to keep y'all busy. :) Where can readers connect with you? Where can readers buy your book?We love our readers and stay in touch through our monthly updates where we reach out to those on the list and share our free devotional books and goodies. Sign up here if you want to connect with us. We are both pretty social and enjoy keeping in touch, so we like social media. Blogging (WritingSisters.com) is fun because we can freely share our thoughts or Twitter is great for those short messages to connect. And we like the personal aspects of Facebook, pages and Pinterest where you can see what’s going in people’s lives. Life is to be shared!
You can see more about The Shepherd’s Song and buy a copy here.
Wonderful! Last but not least, apart from writing, what is your favorite creative outlet?We love all kinds of arts and crafts. If anything can be hand made we want to make it. Our parents gave us a lot of room to create. Dad was an engineer and had a huge tool shop in the basement, and Mom loved to sew and had lots of fabrics and bric a brac around. We took full advantage of all of that, putting on puppet shows and plays and go cart races, and the like! Visit us at Pinterest to see all the things we want to make!
Oh, that sounds like great fun. Thanks, Betsy and Laurie, for taking the time to share with us today. I hope The Shepherd's Song touches many hearts for God.
Okay, everyone, here's your opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Shepherd's Song.
Have you ever had Psalm 23 minister to your heart?
We'd love to hear about it.
Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.
The winner will be announced in Monday's Weekly Windup post (April 20th), so be sure to check back to see if you won.