Susie Larson says she feels as thought she’s only scratched the surface with what God wants to do in and through her life. Her book Embracing Your Freedom explores God’s promises. Find out how author Susie Larson came up with the idea for her book and her message to women everywhere. Scroll down for a fantastic interview.
About the Book
While our culture places great emphasis on comfort, security, control, and success, there are deeper rewards for those who take hold of God’s promises and reach out in the Name of Christ. Adventure, faith, miracles, and a deep knowledge of Jesus Christ, this is what Susie calls her readers to realize.
Many women feel stuck in their faith. They are bored living in a Christian bubble and long for the greater adventure of significance God designed for them! But just how do we move past our fears and the lies that keep us bound to our past? And are we really called to change the world? Embracing Your Freedom will give you a deeper understanding of your freedom in Christ and a bigger view of God’s heart for the world
Hi, Susie Larson.
Welcome to Paperback Writer!
Q: Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
A: One day I was out to lunch with a girlfriend and we were engaged in a deep, spiritual discussion. She said to me, “Susie, I’ve seen God do some amazing things in my life, but I feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface with what He wants to do in and through me. Do you ever feel that way?” Without skipping a beat I replied, “Yes, absolutely!” I picked up a napkin and said to my friend, “Pretend this napkin represents my life. I started out with a trusting heart and a concern for other people.” I tore a piece of the napkin and tossed it on the table. “But as a child, I learned that my grandpa was severely beaten in the inner city over a union dispute. He later died of a brain hemorrhage. Over and over again my parents warned me never to go downtown alone. My grandfather’s story and others like it made me afraid of the inner city.” I tore another piece of the napkin and said, “When I was young, teenage boys pinned me down and took advantage of me. I lost my voice and my sense of value.” Several more times I tore pieces of my napkin at the mention of some of the painful experiences from my past. I held between my fingers what was left of my napkin and said, “My conviction is the size of this table but my courage is only as big as this little piece of paper. There is a big disconnect between what God has promised me and what I am experiencing. I want my land back!”
That conversation, along with my heart to see modern day slavery and human trafficking abolished, sparked the idea for this book. God wants us all free!
“Embracing Your Freedom” calls Believers out of ‘Self-preserving-Western-Suburban Christianity’ into a powerful life of risk-taking, freedom, significance and influence.
Q: Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?
A: The ‘napkin’ moment was a light bulb moment, but the concept of the book evolved from there over a period of time.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: My initial title was, “Her Freedom, Your Freedom.” The publishers and I worked together to come up with the final title.
Q: How did you find an agent and publisher?
A: After I self-published my first book (in 2000), and at the prompting of a fellow published author, I sent my book and a cover letter to Chip MacGregor who worked for Alive Communications at the time. Interestingly enough, we talked and worked on a proposal, but it wasn’t yet my time to be published. Around that time, Chip’s author load increased, and God was calling me to do something else for a season or two (a painful realization for me). A couple of years later Chip and I re-connected at a writer’s conference. He agented my first CBA book with Harvest House Publishers. Eventually Chip moved on to Time Warner publishing and handed me off to Beth Jusino (also with Alive Communications). She agented my next several books which are all with Moody Publishers. This past year Beth changed careers and I switched back to Chip.
Q: Who reads your work in progress?
A: With each new book I contract, I assemble a sample reader group comprised of a cross section of people as it relates to my subject matter (different ages, spiritual maturity levels, education, knowledge of the subject, etc.). I send my readers one chapter at a time and ask for their brutal honesty on the tone, flow, style, content, etc.
Their feedback is invaluable to me. It’s especially interesting to note when several of them make the same comments on a certain point or paragraph (at such times I know that I’ve hit the mark. Or missed it completely).
Q: Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
A: Hands down, the people who made the difference in the quality of this book were my sample readers and my wonderful publisher, Moody Publishers. This was a very tough book for me to write. I encountered lots of spiritual opposition along the way. My readers not only gave me great feedback, they prayed for me and cheered me on every step of the way. My publisher knocked it out of the park with cover design, page design, and by preserving my heart on the pages of this book. I love them for it.
Q: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
A: I wrote this 72,000-word manuscript from start to finish in four months. Typically, I write a chapter and then re-read it. The next day I read it again, comb out the snarls, and move on to writing the next chapter. The following day, I read what I wrote on the previous day (with fresh eyes, this time), I fix what needs fixing, and I move on to the next chapter. When I finish a section of the book, I go back to the first chapter and comb through every word in each chapter. When I feel ready, I move on to the next section. By the time my deadline rolls around, I am able to submit a clean manuscript to my editor. This process just works for me.
Q: How long did it take from start to publication?
A: This book was unique in that I worked with International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) to include stories of brave women who found their freedom. Due to the sensitive nature of IJM’s work, I had to make sure every detail of every story was approved for my use and that certain identities were protected. My agent and I started conversations regarding this book idea with IJM in spring of 2008, the contract was worked out by the fall of 2008, I started writing in December of 2008, finished just before my deadline in March of 2009, and the book released in October of this year (2009).
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
A: Don’t let your dream to be published consume you; let it motivate you. Don’t let your life get out of balance in order to achieve your dream. If you do, you won’t last there. Keep your walk of faith your utmost priority. Be available for your loved ones. Take care of your body through exercise and nourishing food. And remember, you are valuable because God says you are, not because a publisher validated your work. Humbly receive criticism, hone your craft, and put your hope in God. In due time, your dreams will come true.
Thank you, Susie Larson for stopping by Paperback Writer. I wish you continued success on your virtual book tour.
Thanks very much. God bless you!
About the Author:
Ask Susie about her conviction for women, and she’ll tell you, “The two pillars in my ministry, the two things I care most about are for women to be drawn into a ‘deeper life in Christ’ that they might live more ‘powerful lives on earth.’ When we pursue a thriving, personal, intimate walk of faith, we can’t help but be compelled to make a difference in our world.” With enthusiasm, humor, and conviction, author/speaker Susie Larson has spoken to thousands of women locally, nationally, and internationally. She is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Women in Christian Media, and has served on the board of directors for the Christian Authors Network. Susie also regularly fills in as guest host for Along the Way – a two-hour talk radio show (AM Faith 900). Susie worked as a freelance writer for Focus on the Family, and published over fifty articles with them. She has been featured on radio and TV programs across the country, including Moody Midday Connection, Family Life Today, Chris Fabry Live!, The Harvest Show, and the LIFE Today Show with James and Betty Robison.