Monday, January 28, 2013

Author Interview/Giveaway and Book Review: Where God Finds You by Anita Higman

Welcome to the CBRB, Anita! It's a pleasure to have you here! Let’s start with God’s interaction with mankind. You’ve spent your career writing stories, so you must have thought about this before—why do you think God uses stories so often to communicate his truth?

I believe Jesus used storytelling (parables) because he knew that we could truly relate to this form of communication. After all, our lives are like living storybooks with each chapter being written every day. Stories go right to our hearts—stirring us, challenging us, inspiring us, changing the way we think. And most importantly, ever moving us toward redemption.

How do you see this book being used?

I believe Where God Finds You would make a good book to read while you’re sipping your morning coffee, or it would work well for a group Bible study.

What did the experience of writing these stories bring into your own life?


I have never felt so close to God as when I was writing this book. The experience felt a little like when you turn up the volume on your phone, and you can hear someone’s voice with more clarity. But it was also sensing his nearness—the warmth of his love and the light of his presence—that also made me well up each morning with worship and wonder and gratitude.

Why did you decide to tackle this particular subject matter?


Good question. I generally write contemporary romantic fiction, so working on a devotional book infused with Biblical fiction was not an easy task. Also, I’m not a Biblical scholar, so at first I was overwhelmed, knowing how much research it would take to write a book of this kind. In fact, I said no to the editor who’d asked me to take on this project, but then he asked me to pray about my decision. That weekend I did pray about it, and felt strongly that I was meant to write this book. I may not have a degree in theology, but I did want to be obedient to God. Writing this devotional book, Where God Finds You, turned out to be an amazing experience.

What do you think readers will take away from the book?


My hope is that people will enjoy discovering how relevant the Bible stories are to our lives today. I wanted to bring the characters to life and show that these ancient people were very much like us with similar hurts and tragedies, hopes and transgressions, joys and triumphs. Even though the culture was dramatically different, our hearts are the same. Those famous Bible folk needed God back then just as we need him in our daily lives right now.

What do you like about this book?


Getting to know these Bible characters and writing their stories in first person was a seemingly impossible undertaking, and yet the experience inspired and encouraged me. I hope readers will be equally moved.

Beyond your research, did you do anything special to prepare for a day of writing Biblical fiction?

During the months of research as well as the writing of this book I held to the routine of listening to the scriptures on CDs while I was in my car running errands and while I was getting ready in the morning. I did this hoping to absorb the Bible’s rich language, dramatic metaphors, and epic nature. In the end, this technique of preparing my mind for the day’s writing worked well. On some days the words flowed with little effort, almost like taking dictation, and on other days I struggled to complete one or two pages. But amidst my routine and aching back from long hours at the computer, the one thing that helped me more than anything was prayer. God really was faithful in helping me prepare this devotional book.

Do you have a favorite Bible character? 


If I were to choose a favorite Bible character, I’d say that I was drawn to Mary Magdalene. I wept when I read the exchange between Mary and Jesus just outside the empty tomb. I could not only see the Jesus who loved the masses, but I could see a more intimate portrait—the Jesus who loved Mary Magdalene as a precious friend—the same Jesus who loves me and you.

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Any other thoughts about the book that we didn’t cover?

Through the writing of these devotions I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering, “This book is going to change your life, Anita.” And I have to admit—it did. Even though all my troubles didn’t vanish when I finished the last page of the book, I did come away with an awareness—that the same God who set the stars in the heavens also knows the number of hairs on my head. Jesus is nearer than I imagined, and he cares more deeply than I’d hoped. And he’s constantly working things out for good in my life. And in your life…

I wanted to throw in a few fun questions, Anita, so.... When did you first discover that you loved writing?


Growing up I dreamed of being a writer. When I was very young (I don’t remember my age) I started working on a novel about a man from Mars who wanted to go to college in New York. I never finished that novel, but it left an impression on me. I knew deep down that writing was my dream, even though I didn’t get around to fulfilling it until I was in my thirties.

Has writing changed your life in any way?


Writing changes my life daily because I’m expected to be creative most of the time. That’s not always easy to do when you’re tired or you feel fresh out of words. But I love the writing life. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?


Thirty-four years ago I rappelled off a cliff alongside the man I was dating. We kissed in mid-air while dangling off that cliff. I ended up marrying that man, and we've celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary!

Where can readers learn more information about you?


I’d love for readers to drop me a note through the ‘contact me’ button on my website at www.anitahigman.com or interact with me on my Facebook reader page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorAnitaHigman

My Thoughts:

Where God Finds You by Anita Higman is the type of devotional that I've been searching for! I have to admit that hardly any of the devotionals I've attempted to read in the past have kept my interest, so I just gave up on devotionals, knowing that they wouldn't hold my interest. So when the opportunity to review Anita's devotional presented itself, I was already prepared to decline– until I saw that Where God Finds You was unique in that it combined fiction (which my readers know that I enjoy immensely) with a devotion.

I decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did! Each devotion focuses on one Bible character and a situation surrounding that Bible character. After a fictional account from the POV (point of view) of the Bible character, the story as told from the Bible is included. Next, a short devotional written by Anita based on the topic/theme being addressed and, lastly, a few relevant questions rounds out a devotional for one day.

The devotionals were short yet spiritually stimulating and the fictional re-telling from Bible characters was written exceptionally well. I enjoyed that, since the re-telling was in first person, I was able to experience the Bible character's thoughts and feelings first-hand. The devotionals from Anita kept my interest and effectively applied the lesson/theme being taught to modern daily life.

However, I have to say that what I enjoyed most about this devotional were the questions. The author obviously thought and prayed about what questions to ask the reader. They were soul-searching questions that prompted me to realize areas where I needed improvement in my life, which, in turn, prompted me to pray about that particular need. They were unique and, like I mentioned before, my favorite part of this devotional.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. If your looking for a devotional that will keep your interest and spiritually stimulate you, give Where God Finds You by Anita Higman a try. God willing, you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

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GIVEAWAY!
  Anita has generously provided me with an extra copy of Where God Finds You to giveaway! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen through Random.org.

8 comments:

  1. I would like to win this book. I need to see if it will help me get back to the point I need to be. Thanks Rhonda and Anita. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  2. Aizess, I am a subscriber and need another entry.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  3. I am also a follower. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  4. I shared this on my Facebook page for another entry.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  5. Hi Aizess! Thank you for a lovely interview with Anita, and a great review of her book. I'm very interested in reading it. Thank you also for offering a giveaway of this book.

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  6. I have owned a significant amount of devotionals and only one stands out as wonderful. This sounds like it may be what I am looking for as well. Thank you for your thoughts and for the wonderful interview.

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