Our interview today is with Paula Whidden. Thank you Paula for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Answer: As an ordained pastor, I’ve been digging into God’s word for over 20 years. I’ve had the great pleasure of also coming alongside many couples who struggle with interpreting what it says and applying it to their marriage. But the biggest way I prepared for my book, Couple Corners: 52 Faithful Choices for a More Joy-Filled Marriage involved obsession. Because my father died one week prior to the beginning of my parents’ divorce proceedings, I found myself in an unusual limbo land. I didn’t know what a good marriage was, but I hadn’t become accustomed to divorce. At the age of 10, I began obsessively observing strong couples I knew. This obsession has helped my own marriage, and I hope it will help the marriages of others too.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: 16 years ago I married my best friend, Tim Whidden. He and I teamed up in youth and children’s ministry until our own children desired my attention most. So,I became a stay-at-home-mom. That’s when writing really began for me, as an outlet to share what I’ve learned while staying available to my kiddos. We’re actively involved still at the last church I served in ministry, Real Life Church. The people of RLC inspire and encourage my writing. Our whole family serves there as volunteers in a variety of ways. I’m constantly amazed at the family and marriage I have and can only give credit to God and the many things He’s taught me over the years. My family definitely inspires me. They are my first readers and critique-rs.
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: It’s sounds cliche to say I like to read, but I really do. In particular, I enjoy learning about the lives of real people whose real lives made a difference in the world as we know it. I also enjoy being outdoors. I go walking with my family and our dog Taz (my coach on four legs). We bike together and go to the park to play frisbee. Though I grew up a fast-food kid, I’ve discovered I really like cooking too. It provides a sort of creative outlet, plus everyone’s got to eat, so it’s practical too.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: Writing seems like such a solo sport, but good writing needs a team. My blog readers help me to share ideas and work through them, they give me accountability and the ability to learn what stuff is valuable and what should end up in the circular file Several friends I respect also did early reads and critiques, I swallowed my pride and learned from them. I had a great editor, named Kate Stephenson. She further helped me to see strengths and weaknesses to refine the book. My cover designer, Jon Bryan, has an amazingly creative mind and I appreciate his humble attitude toward his creations. Then, I also have a fabulous insiders group. We email back and forth and share thoughts.They helped me to narrow in on topics, to pick a cover and more. There are people praying for me and the book. They are praying for those who receive it too.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: Imagine you’re on a roadtrip with the person you love most. The car pulls up to a stop sign. As independent thinkers, you each assume you know the best way to turn. One says, “go left.” The other says, “no, it’s right.” That’s a couple corner. It’s a moment in your relationship where you decide to pull apart or turn together. My book, Couple Corners, contains 52 corners or choices we encounter in marriage. The great thing about any road trip is that you can always turn around and try again. These corners come up over and over throughout our married life. If we want to improve our relationships and find more joy, this book will help us to see the corners before they arrive. Then, we can choose to turn together.
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: I believe deeply in finding the joy of the journey. Often we want to get somewhere and just push through the process. I’ve discovered that the process is what makes a trip fun. My books are designed to help people enjoy the life God gives them, no matter what the circumstances.
Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: My husband and I took a trip to Hawaii years ago and decided to drive a long road from one side of Maui to the other, it’s called the road to Hana. Originally, we thought the goal was getting to Hana. Which is supposed to be beautiful and full of waterfalls. Many locals told us how boring that trip is, but we persisted. We bought an audio guide for the trip so that we could enjoy the journey. It was amazing. We never really saw Hana, because we arrived in the dark, but it was one of our best road trips ever. We ate guava, found a black sand beach, and ended up in someone’s back yard to see an exquisitely tall waterfall. We found the joy of the journey. It was a huge discovery.
Question: Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.
Answer: My husband has this great ability to bring out humor no matter what. Our friendship is so comfortable that we can be open about anything. We’ve had conversations about profoundly disgusting stuff, but I find myself laughing. My daughters picked up his humor, they can be absolutely ridiculous. One has this quick wit that catches me by surprise every time. The other outrageously over reacts to things just to get my response. When something goes well, she runs to me grabs me, rams her head against my chest to tell me how her day was, “Awesome,Awesome,Awesome!”
We also adore the plainly stupid humor of Duck Dynasty, I can’t help it. Those bearded millionaire bum lookalikes make me laugh.
Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: I have a book I’m preparing for Snippet.com and I hope to make it also a Kindle single. It’s called Dating Tips from a Wolf. It’s real advice I gained by observing a wolf, and I’m quite sure it isn’t what you’d expect.
Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: I have two books out now. My first was 25 Days ‘Til Christ: An Advent Devotional for the Family. Now, my second it Couple Corners: 52 Faithful Choices for a More Joy-Filled Marriage.
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