Welcome, Jessica. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
First of all, that I’m delighted to be here talking to you today! My thanks to
Lena for so graciously
hosting this discussion.
I’m a writer, an editor, and—before either of those—a reader. I work for small publisher Doulos Resources as the General Editor of their literary imprint, Kalos Press. My freelance work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and more.
Tell us about your family.
I’m a missionary kid who married another missionary kid—only I grew up in the snow of the sub-Arctic and my husband, Adam, got to grow up beside the warm turquoise waters of
Indonesia! Adam and I have four
school-age children, and we live in southern California.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
I was also the contributing editor of “Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home,” which is a guide to following the traditional Christian seasons in daily life. It includes prayers, recipes, history, and more. It’s the book I wish I had when I was first learning about things like Advent and Lent!
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
When it comes to non-fiction, I’m currently doing more editing than writing. One project I’m particularly excited to be working on is “Sarcastic Devotionals for Angry or Worn-out People” by Anne Kennedy. Despite the title, it’s one of the most encouraging things I’ve ever read. It’s an honor to help bring it to press.
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
Oh, knitting! It’s my love. After a day full of words, it’s so relaxing in the evenings to turn to a hobby that’s so tangible and meditative. It brings me down out of my head and back into my body.
Why did you write the featured book?
Truly, because it was needed. As you and I were discussing earlier over email, so many people have gone through the grief of miscarriage and infertility. Somewhere between 20-25% of all women suffer a miscarriage, and at least 1 in 10 has dealt with infertility.
These can be very private griefs, which lead to people feeling very alone. As the church, it’s important to comfort one another and to be there for each other—especially because, as Christians, we know that the unborn are real people, loved and known by God. And because we value children, and so can acknowledge that infertility is a real loss—not some pretend grief that people should just “buck up” and “get over.”
I think this book, which features so many real stories and which doesn’t shy away either from sorrow or from comfort, fills a real need in the church today.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
If readers have not experienced miscarriage or infertility, I hope they come away with a new understanding of their friends and family members who have and a new willingness and ability to love, comfort, and simply be with their loved ones in their grief.
If readers have been in the same place as the contributors to this book, I hope they will come away feeling known, affirmed, and understood.
And in all cases, I hope readers will come away with a deeper appreciation for our Lord, who didn’t leave us alone in this fallen world, but who came and suffered with us, who saved us, loved us, shares our sorrows, and will someday come again to make all things right.
Everything is not alright in the world right now. But the Lord knows that. And as Christians, we don’t have to ignore our pain or pretend everything’s okay. The Lord knows. He hears us, He knows us, and He will be with us.
Is there anything you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
Simply that I know that this isn’t the easiest book. This isn’t a book you pick up because you’re looking for a fun read. It’s more like the hospital; you don’t want to have to be there. But if you need it … well, you’re glad it’s there.
And I hope, like a hospital, this book will be for you a place of healing.
Please give us the first page or two from the book.
Here is the beginning of the first story in the book, from author Erin Gentry:
Miscarriage. My then-eight-year-old niece leaned in, eyebrows drawn, as she tried out the word in a funny, low little voice. Her face was a mixture of both sadness and trepidation, as if she understood that it was a sad word but wasn't sure it was okay to inquire further.
Kneeling down, I put my hands on her shoulders, looked her right in the eyes even as I felt tears forming in mine, and I said, “Yes. I had a miscarriage last week. Do you know what that means?”
She looked down, nodding. “Yes. Mama told me.”
I asked her if she had any questions or wanted to discuss it further with me.
“No,” she said, peeking back up at me, “but I am very sad that it happened.”
“That’s okay.” I reassured her, sniffling. “Uncle Peter and I are, too. Very, very sad.”
Even as I write this, nearly two years out from that moment, I am staring at these words as though they are coming from someone else, wishing desperately that they were, and yet they are inescapably mine. I had a miscarriage.
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?I have a website where I regularly blog about faith, family, and fiction. I’m also active on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and (for my fellow knitters out there!) on Ravelry. I’d love to connect with readers in any of those places.
Thank you, Jessica, for sharing this book with us. I'm sure all of us have known more than one family that has experienced one either a miscarriage or infertility.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage - paperback
Not Alone: A Literary & Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility & Miscarriage - Kindle
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