|Maggie Wallem Rowe, author of|
This Life We Share (NavPress)
Here's my official endorsement, which you'll find inside the cover:
"Maggie has spent decades following Jesus--as a pastor's wife, coworker, mother, daughter, and friend. Now she puts pen to page to share the wisdom she's learned along the way. Maggie has a gift for seeing the world and finding meaning in ordinary days, capturing it in delightful prose. She also has the gift of insight, the ability to harness her own self-awareness for the good of others. In this book, you'll find more than good advice; I expect you'll find a new friend."But don't just take my word for it, This Life We Share carries endorsements by Beth Moore, Sandra McCracken, Hugh Hewitt, Carol Kent, Sandra Richter, Gail MacDonald, and Lucinda Secrest McDowell, among others. In short, a whole generation of successful writers has recognized Maggie's keen insight and skill with words, and they have lined up to tell the world all about her first book!
Sadly, my own copy of Maggie's book is held up in postal quarantine in a warehouse somewhere, awaiting clearance for international shipping. While I eagerly await its arrived, I asked Maggie if she would do us the honor of a blog interview. Here's the story behind This Life We Share:
For those who don't know you, please tell us a bit about yourself. Where have you lived and what roles have you played in these places?
I grew up on a farm in rural Illinois and met my husband at Wheaton College. We moved east for seminary and then pastored two churches in New England over a 25-year period. During those years I acted in summer stock productions and community theatre, taught speech and business writing on the college level, and directed women’s ministries for a large regional faith-based organization. We were also very active in our communities and with raising five children - three who were born to us and two more “bonus kids” who joined us through foster care and spent their teenage years with us. When most of the kids were grown and in college, we accepted a pastorate in the Chicago area and retired from that position 16 years later. While back in Illinois I worked part-time for Wheaton College and then full-time for a Christian publishing house in Public Relations. Nearly two years ago, we relocated to the mountains of western North Carolina where I’ve been writing full-time. I can’t remember ever being bored!
When I wrote Bearing God's Name, I had in mind a retired high school shop teacher from our church in Oregon named Earl who admitted to me that he had only ever read one book cover to cover (a welding manual, if you must know). I thought if I could help someone like Earl engage with the Old Testament while keeping his attention to the end, it would be a success. Were you picturing someone in particular as you wrote this book?
Great question, Carmen. When I was asked to submit a proposal for the book that eventually became This Life We Share, the publisher specified that he was seeking a Christian living title with devotional elements that would cover “a big waterfront.” It needed to be relevant to young women in college or early in a career as well as older women in assisted living and everyone in between! It was a tall order, but with God's help I hope we’ve succeeded.
You have! You have such a knack for communicating with women of any generation. Your book is a series of 52 devotionals, designed to be read one at a time. Is there a golden thread that runs through the book--one big idea that you want your readers to grasp?
This Life We Share is organized into four major sections: The Inner Journey, The Intentional Journey, The Relational Journey, and The God of Your Journey. While it has 52 reflections with devotional elements (scripture and points of connection for discussion), it’s actually not a conventional devotional but rather a series of essays on several dozen different topics, including those as disparate as infertility, immigration, and the imposter syndrome! My prayer is that women of faith or those who are seeking will find empathy and encouragement as well as the assurance that they are not alone on our shared journey.
What has been the most joyful part of writing this book?
I have loved writing since I was a child, but honestly I never thought anyone would pay me to publish the type of candid, confessional essays I write! Speaking and teaching is a sweet spot for me, but you can only reach so many people live and in person. To have a publisher create this beautiful gift book in hardcover has been a tremendous affirmation that I never expected.
What a blessing! One thing I admire about you is the way you've pursued your dreams and your calling at an age when some are slowing down and pulling out their knitting needles. I watched you get your MA in Biblical Studies at almost 60 and now you're publishing your first book at 65. What would you say to readers who have hung onto their dreams for decades?
Don’t pay attention to your chronological age! Honestly, I have known women who were “old” at 30 when they stopped asking questions and seeking to learn from new experiences. I have always admired women in the later seasons of life who were game for trying new things. And what a joy to connect with a publisher who believes that older women have wisdom to share!
Maggie, you had over a decade of experience as a book publicist before you wrote your first book, so you know how this industry works. How is the CoronaVirus pandemic disrupting the normal process of your book release?
Thankfully the book was printed and bound here in the US, so it is releasing on time May 5. As with every other book published this spring, however, all physical events have been postponed. I was so looking forward to launch events here in North Carolina, back in the Chicago area and also in New England. I’ll have to wait longer for those. The pandemic has also affected book delivery as major suppliers like Amazon have prioritized shipments of household goods over new titles. Thankfully my publisher, NavPress, has an alliance with Tyndale House, the world’s largest independent faith-based publisher. The warehouse is operational and the publisher has been able to offer direct fulfillment, meaning readers who order online are actually receiving their copies early!
That is good news! How can appreciative readers help your book reach more people? What are some practical things we can do that make a difference?
I’d be grateful if readers would share your blogpost with this interview and the buy link, Carmen! They can order from Amazon here or directly from the publisher here. Book proceeds go to further the worldwide ministry of The Navigators. I also welcome visits to my online home at www.MaggieRowe.com where I share “Views From the Ridge” every week on my blog.
Perhaps readers are still looking for a Mother's Day Gift. Even if you can't see your mother due to the pandemic, you can send her your love in the form of this beautiful book!
Maggie, do you have hopes of writing another book? If so, do you have an idea of what it will be about?
Well, I’ll share a bit of a secret. I actually submitted a new book proposal just today! A publisher reached out to me recently with a specific idea after reading one of my especially quirky blogposts. We’ll see where it leads. (You heard it here first, folks!)
Hurrah! So delighted to hear this. Thanks, Maggie, for taking the time to tell us about your book!
Thank you for this opportunity, Carmen!