- 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 Connecticut as the daughter of a PCA pastor, and now I live in Massachusetts where my husband is also a PCA pastor. We have four children, and I serve in the church and work part-time from home as an editor for The Gospel Coalition. I have no spare time, but, if I did, I would bake cookies–I love any project that has a tangible, quantifiable, and well-received result.
- Question #2—When did you first want to write a book?
I have always–from childhood–wanted to write. I have never–even to this day–wanted to write a book. I am probably the world’s slowest writer, and the thought of amassing that many carefully-constructed sentences is always terrifying. But I keep doing it because I think there are some subjects that deserve our thoughtful, sustained attention.
- Question #3—Which writers inspire you?
I subscribe to the New Yorker, and my favorite column is the restaurant review. The reviewer gets a tiny space (maybe 250 or 300 words), and he or she has to describe the restaurant and the food, give us a true sense of the atmosphere, and then offer some critique of the experience so that we will know whether we want to eat there too. I have learned so much from those reviewers about how to make a subject vivid and compelling in just a few words.
- Question #4—What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I love this quote from writer Marilynne Robinson: “I hope I never condescend to the audience. I think you should write as if people who are smarter than you are will read it.” There is so much sloppy writing out there, and sloppy writing does not honor the reader. If you are going to ask someone to spend the time to read your words, you should give them words that will stand up to rigorous thought–words that are precise, compelling, and truthful.
- Question #5—At what time of day do you write most?
I write in the mornings beginning at 5AM and then again when my youngest child takes her afternoon nap. I also keep a piece of paper and pen on the kitchen counter to capture any sentences that happen by while I’m making peanut butter sandwiches.
- Question #6—Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?
I grew up listening to the Pittsburgh Pirates play baseball on the radio. My dad would listen to them in the summers while doing painting or other household projects, and, to me, the sound of balls and strikes being called and the occasional crack of the bat is the most relaxing kind of white noise.
- Question #7—Favorite flavor of ice cream?
There’s a place near me that makes a flavor called “Sally’s Coffee Grounds.” Which, on reflection, sounds gross. But it’s actually amazing.
- Question #8—The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?
Narnia. I can never read this dialogue in Prince Caspian without weeping:
“Aslan” said Lucy “you’re bigger”.
“That is because you are older, little one” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
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