Monday, June 17, 2013

Author Interview - Circle of Sisters

Welcome to JoLyn Brown, whom I am interviewing today. JoLyn is the author/compiler of the new inspirational book, A Circle of Sisters: Inspirational Stories from Latter-day Saint Women. These are fun, inspirational stories gathered from LDS Relief Society sisters. I happen to have an entry in this book. *Cheesy grin* JoLyn and I connected as a result of having similar projects where we were both collecting inspirational stories--hers about LDS women, mine about LDS bishops. I know by experience how hard it is to get the word out and personally ask people to submit. I am pleased to see her project completed. And such a lovely cover, don't you agree? You can enter the Goodreads giveaway thru June 21 for a copy of this book through this link.
Look into the lives of ordinary Relief Society sisters as they share 50 stories of love and service. Whether it is facing a new calling or dealing with the sickness or loss of a loved one, these
stories testify of the very real power of women devoted to God and His work. In trial and doubt, in faith and in joy, sometimes all it takes is a circle of sisters to change a life for the better.
Purchase from Amazon: 
OR from Desert Book:

Let's find out more about author JoLyn Brown:
Me:   Please tell us something about you. What do you do for fun (besides writing)? What is your favorite snack? Where would you like to travel? 
JoLyn:   I like to make things, sewing, scrapbooking, or anything like that. I also like gardening and reading. My favorite snack is Oreo cookies. If I could travel, I’d like to go back East to see my husband’s family or to Hawaii. Australia would also be cool.
Me:   Cool indeed! I'll see if I can find us some Oreo's while we chat. What made you want to take on the Circle of Sisters project? Tell us about the journey.
JoLyn:   I think all along seeds were being planted in me to do this, but until fall of 2011, I didn't really see them. After the first idea came to me, I spent about two weeks doubting myself. I mean, honestly, what was I thinking? There are countless women out there much more qualified, why would I feel a prompting to do something like gathering Relief Society stories? Darkness settled on me. Nervous anxiety made me irritable and emotional. I went to my mother. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. We talked a long time about everything else in my life. Finally, I let out a little bit about this idea I’d had. “Why wouldn’t you do it?” My mom asked. All of the darkness faded. It wasn’t much, but I loved the Relief Society and a testimony was burning in my chest that God has a great work for his daughters. Whatever happened, even if all I ended up with was a folder of stories to keep in a sock drawer, I needed to do this.
Me:   Glad your mom helped you sort that out. How did you go about collecting these stories?
JoLyn:   I started out by asking for stories online. It soon became clear, though, that God didn’t intend for this to be as easy as that. Some of the stories arrived through the call for stories I made. The rest where gathered one by one as I personally approached women. I’m not really that comfortable doing things like that, but I’d be sitting there in Church, and see a sister I felt like I should talk to about the project. One time, the sister sat there stunned. “I don’t think I have any stories.” She told me. A moment later, her expression changed, “but there was this one time . . .” Her beautiful story ended up in the book. I have no doubt it was inspired.
Me:   Of course it couldn't be easy! (That part made me laugh--I really get it.) But I think the process is what endears each story that someone makes the effort to submit. Do you have a favorite?
JoLyn:   I spent about a year with these stories before Walnut Springs picked them up. By the time I signed the contract, each one had made a difference to me in some way. Stories I didn’t relate to became my story as I went through different challenges. I don’t have a favorite, but if you asked me about specific experiences, I could tell you which ones made a difference when I needed it.
Me:   Cool, but sounds rather personal. I'll move on to what you are working on now.
JoLyn:   I’m trying to find a publisher for a contemporary LDS Young Adult novel I’ve written. I’m also almost through the first draft of my first attempt at YA fantasy.
Me:   Awesome. Anything else you care to share?
JoLyn:   I think the main thing I learned through this is to never doubt that you can be a part of the Lord’s work. One sister in the book mentions how it doesn’t matter how inadequate you feel, when you desire to serve the Lord, he will make you equal to whatever you face. I couldn’t agree more.


Rebecca H. Jamison said...

I have a story in there too. I'm so excited to read it. And my husband is a bishop. I have no idea if he has any stories because he is soo good at keeping everything confidential, even things he should share with me. Haha.

Renae Weight Mackley said...

Cool, Rebecca, and I can't wait to get my copy too. As far as a bishop story, I'll check in with you later for a not-too-sacred-to-share one. I'm sure your husband has something.