Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I started out being a teacher in a remote village, teaching grades 6-10 in all subjects. I loved it, but felt unable to help my students navigate through the challenges they faced on a day to day basis. I later went back to school and got a masters in counselling and now work in private practice as a grief and family counsellor. My greatest joy has been being a mother. I have been blessed to raise two amazing boys. My greatest heartache came when my oldest son was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumour at age 12. He later died at 13, and during his dying taught the world about love, hope and faith. Since his death, I have felt compelled to share his story so the seeds of love he planted keep spreading out to others. His legacy is hope and I will do all I can to share hope with others.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning: A Story of Hope After Tragedy. In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning was birthed after a long season of grieving. After the deaths of my husband and son to cancer, I found myself in the wilderness, unable to navigate through the darkness. Even breathing was hard. My pain forever changed me, scarred me and contaminated the way I viewed life; however Jesus met me in the middle of the dark valley and led me through the heartache so I could see in colour again. In him I was able to find renewal, meaning and purpose even after unthinkable tragedy . My journey compelled me to write In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning in the hopes that my story might help others find their way through their own pain journeys.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not sure if my writing habits are unusual, but I have to be moving to write. I will go running and words start to pour out of me. I write them down on my iphone while I’m out in nature and then go home and flesh out my ideas.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed, Nicolas Wolterstorff’s Lament For A Son, Phillip Yancey’s Where is God When It Hurts, Jerry Sittser’s A Grace Disguised and Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts
What are you working on now?
I am focusing on my counselling practice right now. My youngest son is in grade 10 and I want to spend the next few years focused on connecting before he goes out to find his way in the world. My priority is my family.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I find the best way to promote my book is one on one. I love author signings where I can meet with people and have a chance to find out about their lives. I find social media to be a bit detached, and although I know it is important for promotion, it is my least favourite way of connecting. I enjoy connecting with my readers on my website at www.inthecleft.com. Right now I am trying to find people who will share their stories about how they have overcome the painful things in their lives.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up. Keep writing because your story matters. Pressure can take the joy out of writing, so write for fun and let go of perfectionism.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Beauty comes from the most painful places.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading Thomas Merton, The New Seeds of Contemplation
What’s next for you as a writer?
Right now I’m focusing on my first love which is journaling and contemplation. We will see what comes out of this.
What is your favorite book of all time?
This changes weekly, but right now I’d have to say Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.