I’m excited to host memoir writer, avid reader, and blogger Juanita Nobles today to discuss her book, A Heritage of Faith. I met Juanita for the first time when I spoke at a writers’ group she belonged to in a community south of St. Louis. Then she took a blogging course from me through WOW! Women On Writing, and we’ve stayed in touch since. She has an amazing blog (if I do say so myself!) at http://juanitanobles.blogspot.com. Why is it amazing?
First of all, she has a ton of author interviews and giveaways lined up between now and October! Plus she reads and reviews so many books–it puts me to shame. Many of the books she reviews have a Christian theme. If you are looking for inspirational fiction, you should check out the reviews on Juanita’s blog. She also has her son guest blog for her, and she shares stories from her life and her memoir–like last week when she wrote about camping in the snake pit (rattlesnakes!) with her children. (Okay, I know you are all clicking on that link now to check out Juanita’s blog, but wait and read this interview and enter to win her book first!)
A Heritage of Faith is the story of both her husband’s family and hers. Married when Juanita was 19 and still married today (58 years!), the book focuses on how they served churches and took care of their family. She discusses a deep depression she had as a young mother, moving because of her husband’s job as a preacher, one of her son’s being gay, and her daughter’s struggle with infertility and finally adopting and then having a baby of her own. She shares happy times and sad times and all through the stories of her life–Juanita is a storyteller! To read more about this book, including a sample, go to this link: http://juanitanobles.blogspot.com/p/a-heritage-of-faith.html . TO WIN A COPY, PLEASE FILL OUT THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM BELOW THE INTERVIEW WITH JUANITA!Margo: Juanita, welcome to Read These Books and Use Them. You’ve had a very interesting life, as a pastor’s wife, mother of four children, grandmother to eight children, and you recently had a great grandchild join the mix. Right? So, why did you want to write A Heritage of Faith?
Juanita: Once we are gone, so are our stories and those of our parents, the ones they told us. I wanted our children and grandchildren to have these stories to remember us and the ones who came before us.
Margo: That is so lovely! I made a scrapbook with all my grandma’s old photos before she passed away, so we would know whom everyone was in the photos! Your book starts out more about your husband than you, so it’s not a “true” memoir, then? Or what would you call it?
Juanita: This is a family story. The two of us became one when we married, and I wanted our children and others to know about both of us. It’s actually “our life”. My husband is the more prominent one, since he was the pastor of all those churches, so I could not leave his stories out. Besides, his stories were really good. I heard them time and again, as he preached. He would tell a story of something that happened in his life, and bring home a spiritual message. I thought, “When my husband is gone and people come to tell me and our children how wonderful he was, what a great pastor he was, and how much they loved him, he won’t be able to hear them. I want him to know now as people read this book, how much he is loved, and he can celebrate during his lifetime what people think of him.”
Margo: What a wonderful gift! Who is the perfect audience for this book?
Juanita: People who like to read about real people, their victories and losses. I have read many stories about people I didn’t know and have been blessed by the reading. It is a true account of raising a family, moving and serving twelve different churches in three states, funny things that happened in those churches, and heartfelt sorrow that sometimes came. One of our sons is gay, and one of our daughters experienced infertility for years. We had common problems, and my book tells how the problems were solved.
Margo: Since I like to share with people what they can learn or use from a book, what do you think people can learn or use from yours?Juanita: If people want to read about a preacher’s family, the good and the bad, they would enjoy my book. Most of the stories are humorous; others tell about people we met through the years; and others relate experiences we all have and how we either solved them or learned to live with them. It’s just a light-hearted series of stories about one family.
Margo: You have sprinkled Bible verses throughout your book. How did you pick which ones and decide where to put them?
Juanita: I chose verses that related to the particular story that came before it. For example, there is a story about when my husband bought his first car. His family had no money, so they went to a friend who they thought could loan them $200 to buy the Model-A Ford. After the man agreed, my husband’s father said, “Don’t you want me to sign something saying you’ll get your money back?” The man replied, “I know you and I know you do what you say. If you say I’ll get my money back, your word is good enough for me.” The verse I used for that story is Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Because of my father-in-law’s good name in the community, he was able to borrow money, no questions asked. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, that’s the way business was done.
Margo: Cool story! Besides this book, what else have you written or are working on now?
Juanita: I have contributed to several magazines and newspapers. My work in included in three anthologies: Love is a Verb by Gary Chapman and James Stuart Bell; Grandmother, Mother, and Me compiled by Donna Goodrich; and Celebrating Christmas, edited by Donna Goodrich. I have written another book, but have not found an agent or publisher for it. This is a book of stories from the Bible about lesser-known people. What happened to Cain after he killed his brother Abel? Then there was Hobab, the brother-in-law of Moses, who helped Moses lead the people through the wilderness. We all know about Jacob, but what about his brother Esau? My book tells you something about him. Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah, son of Jacob, was a desperate woman. She was a widow twice and she wanted a son. So she seduced her father-in-law. Her son with Judah was one of the ancestors of Jesus. Amazing, isn’t it? Another character was Joseph, the husband of Mary. The Bible tells very little about him, yet he had a very important task, that of bringing up the Son of God along with his wife, Mary. There are 45 stories in the book. Each of them can be read in about fifteen minutes.
Margo: WOW! That sounds awesome. I would really love to read that. Where can people connect with you?
Juanita: On my blog (http://juanitanobles.blogspot.com) or you can write me at mjnobles (at) charter (dot) net.
Margo: Anything else you’d like to add?
Juanita: I did not study to be a writer, but all my life I’ve had a desire to write. After I retired from teaching school, I began to think, “My husband tells such wonderful stories. Someone should write these down.” And so I began. I joined a writers’ group, then attended a writers’ conference, and began to realize how much I had to learn. I wrote every day. I submitted, submitted, submitted. And then I began to get a few acceptances. If you want to write, you must submit, and you need to know where to send your work. Get a book called Writers’ Market and go for it. I also have Christian Writers’ Market, and I use both of them. One of the leaders at a writers’ conference said, “You have to read books about writing if you want to be a writer.” So I have begun a library about how to write, and have found some very helpful books.
Margo: Thanks, Juanita! That is great, great advice! Best of luck to you!