This week’s author interview is with Jenilyn Swett. She is the author of the new book, Singleness: Living Faithfully (31-Day Devotionals for Life series).
- When did you first want to write a book?
It may have actually been during childhood (I at least wanted to be published as a journalist!), but the first time I gave any real thought to writing a book was about ten years ago.
- Have you always enjoyed writing?
I have. I loved writing when I was a kid, and was given many opportunities to explore and practice different forms of writing (correspondence, poetry, research, journalism, essays, etc.). In my first year or two of college, one of my favorite professors put a note in the margin of one of my papers: “You write well. What will you do with that?” That was the first time I began to realize that perhaps this thing I enjoyed could serve a greater purpose.
- What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?
I’ve always wanted to be married, and grew up with the expectation that marriage was the natural trajectory of my life. But as the years went on and marriage didn’t happen, I started to ask more questions about singleness. How do I live as a single adult? How do I relate to others who are married? What do I do with my longings, desires, and disappointments? It was hard to find answers to these questions. My pastors, professors, and ministry leaders hadn’t experienced extended singleness. There were few solid resources on the topic of singleness. As I began answering some of my own questions “out loud” for others to read, I realized how much of a hunger there was for thoughtful, biblical writing on singleness. That’s when I began to think and pray about writing a book on singleness. I didn’t initially expect that book to be a devotional, but I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to write Singleness: Living Faithfully for the 31 Days series! This is a devotional I wish I’d had at 20, and 30, and am thrilled to have published at (almost) 40.
- Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?
Before the pandemic, I spent a lot of time writing at two different coffee shops that had high-top bar seating along a window. I loved being able to enjoy the energy of a coffee shop while also being able to stare out the window when my eyes and brain needed a break. One of these coffee shops closed during the pandemic, and one lost its window seating when it relocated, so now that writing in coffee shops is possible again, I’m on the hunt for a new spot! The majority of this book was written at a desk in the corner of my bedroom.
- Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?
For several years now, my e-mail signature has included this quotation from Madeleine L’Engle’s book Walking on Water:
“… the purpose of the work, be it story or music or painting, is to further the coming of the Kingdom, to make us aware of our status as children of God, and to turn our feet toward home.”
I’ve embraced these words as something as a mission statement for both my writing and the way I seek to live my life.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I still feel like an “aspiring writer” myself! My advice is to keep writing and to keep reading. Pay attention to what resonates with you as you read others’ work. Write well and artfully when you have the opportunity (even if it’s just in an e-mail or thank-you note), but also take time to just dump words on the page sometimes without overthinking.
- Favorite food?
I love anything eaten in the company of good friends! I especially enjoy anything that involves either bread, cheese, gochugaru, brown butter, roasted veggies, or noodles.
- The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?
The Chronicles of Narnia, because I’ve never been able to make it through The Lord of the Rings (I know, I’m a terrible Presbyterian! I share this because I’m guessing there are others out there who can relate).
- Tea or coffee?
Coffee! I take it black, which is something I never expected I’d do.
- What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?
I’d love to meet Terry Gross, who hosts NPR’s Fresh Air. She has had conversations with so many fascinating people over the years, and I’d love to get to know her and experience what a conversation with her would be like!
- Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?
My extended family is from Wisconsin, so thanks to their influence I love watching and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
- How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Now Available — Singleness: Living Faithfully
P&R Publishing: $7.50
Reformation Heritage Books: $6.50