This week’s author interview is with Marissa Henley. She is the author of Loving Your Friend through Cancer: Moving beyond “I’m Sorry” to Meaningful Support.

"My purpose in this book is not to convince you to take the burden off your friend’s back and place it on your own... You are just one link in the chain of support that God is assembling around her." 
— Marissa Henley, taken from the Preface of her book

Loving Your Friend through Cancer_photo small       Henley_Marissa


  • Question #1—Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where I was taught to love Jesus and cheer for the Razorbacks. I’ve been married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart, Noel, and we have three kids—boys who are 14 and 12, and our little diva princess who’s 9. I aspire to have interesting hobbies, but in this season of life, I mostly drive kids around town and keep everyone fed, clean, and educated. I enjoy traveling with my family, playing the piano, and watching my kids do something they love.


  • Question #2—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

As a cancer survivor, I often hear from friends when someone they know is diagnosed. They want to know how to support their friend—what to do, what not to do, what to say, what not to say. After seeing how practical advice and specific suggestions could give my friends confidence as they sought to love their friends with cancer well, I decided to put the information into a book to serve a wider audience.


  • Question #3—What book are you reading now?

In the mornings, I’ve been reading Prone to Wander: Prayers of Confession and Celebration (by Barbara R. Duguid and Wayne Duguid Houk), and I think I’ve underlined almost the entire book. I’m also working my way through The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (by Melissa Kruger). The two books go hand-in-hand as they both are showing me the depth of my sin and pointing me to the beauty of the gospel.


  • Question #4—Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?

In Joni Eareckson Tada’s book A Place of Healing, she writes about a friend who told her, “God uses what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” I love this quote because I’ve seen the Lord do this in my life. I believe He hates cancer, sickness, and suffering, but I’ve seen Him use it to accomplish what He loves. He’s sanctified me through it, given me a deeper confidence in His character, and used my story to strengthen and encourage others in the body of Christ.


  • Question #5—What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Be willing to do the hard work of improving your skills and growing as a writer. Study, learn, read, and write consistently. Take the next step, even if you’re scared, and then leave the results to God. He will open and close doors, and He will guide our steps.


  • Question #6—Favorite sport to watch? Favorite sports team?

I love football and still cheer for the Arkansas Razorbacks even when it’s not fun. I also enjoy the NFL. My husband and I lived in Indianapolis in 2007 when the Colts, Peyton Manning, and Tony Dungy won the Super Bowl. I’ll never forget that game or the AFC Championship win over the Patriots that got them there.


  • Question #7—Favorite food?

Is coffee a food? I can’t imagine life without it.


  • Question #8—Favorite flavor of ice cream?

Caramel brownie. I mostly eat it for the brownie chunks.


  • Question #9—Favorite animal?

I love monkeys because I’ve always thought it would be fun to be one. Swinging through the trees looks like a blast!

Learn more about Marissa:

Order her book for 10% off from Westminster Bookstore by clicking HERE.