Interview with Christian Inspirational Author Susie Larson



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 recently finished writing her sixth book, “Growing Grateful Kids”, which releases this spring (March, 2010). Susie has been interviewed on radio stations across the country and serves as a regular guest host for Along the Way (A two-hour talk radio show on Faith Radio-900 AM).

While in Washington D.C., Susie and her husband Kevin, along with national recording artist Sara Groves and her husband Troy, represented International Justice Mission’s*concerns in meetings with Congress as part of their efforts to abolish and prevent human trafficking and slavery. The four of them serve as co-chairs for the IJM benefit banquet in Minnesota. Susie comes with a passion to share the love of a Savior who will never let us go.

Susie and her husband Kevin will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this March. They have three wonderful grown sons, and now, a new daughter-in-law.

*IJM, among other things, rescues young girls from the horrific life of human trafficking (visit www.ijm.org)
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Welcome to The Writer's Life, Susie. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Answer: Thanks so much for having me; I’m glad to be here. Just to tell you a little bit about myself, I’m an author, speaker, and an on-call radio host for a two-hour talk show. I am married to a great man who makes me laugh every day. We have three sons in their early twenties. I speak nationally and occasionally internationally at women’s conferences and retreats. When my kids were young, I started out as a speaker doing mostly retreats and conference breakout sessions. But deep in my heart I had a dream to also write books someday. The first book I had to write was about our story through the wilderness and of God’s faithfulness there. Unfortunately, after doing some research I learned that the only memoirs or biographies that sell are those of famous people, or dead people. Or famous dead people. In the year of 2000, I self-published my first book, “Mercy in the Wilderness: A Selfish Heart, A Faithful God.” This book sells itself at my conferences whenever I tell my story. In 2001 I attended a writer’s conference and met up with an editor from Focus on the Family. I pitched an article idea to him; he loved it and asked for a query. This began a great relationship with FOF over the years. I’ve since written over fifty articles for them. The following year I attended another writer’s conference where a publisher asked me for a proposal for a devotional journal idea I had pitched to him. My journal, “Sacred Conversations: An Invitation to Dialogue with God” was published, reprinted three times, and sold well in the U.S. and Canada before it went out of print.

From that point on, I published with mainstream Christian publishing houses. In 2005, Harvest House Publishers published my book, “Balance that Works When Life Doesn’t”. And since then, Moody Publishers has published the rest of my books: “Alone in Marriage: Encouragement for the Times When it’s all up to You”, “The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary”, “Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God’s Heart for Justice” and my upcoming release, “Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places” (March -2010).

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Answer: I honestly think that this book might be the most important thing I’ve written to date. In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 10 we read Jesus’ words: “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I come that you might have life, and life abundantly.” When the enemy steals from us through pain, betrayal, rejection, neglect, or some other traumatic experience, we change. We live differently as a result of those experiences. Often times we live from a smaller plot of land (so to speak) than God intended for us. It’s time to get our land back. “Embracing Your Freedom” is all about believing God’s promises for the abundant life He promised us and about recovering the things the enemy has stolen from us.

Furthermore, this book is about mobilizing us, the people of God, to contend for our own freedom that we might become the hands and feet of Christ and take our blessing of freedom to minister to a world in need. True freedom, the kind that Christ offers us, is all about functioning as joint heirs with Him. It’s about participating in His divine nature with lives marked by freedom, adventure, and miracles. Through us, God wants to change the world. How do we enter in to such a life? We walk with God, one step at a time, and we recover the ‘land’ the enemy has stolen through our past pains, mistakes, missteps, rejection, abuse, betrayal, and subsequent fears. We face the lie we picked up when life let us down. From there, we embrace the truth written over our lives. We refuse captivity because we are called to freedom. Moreover, in our pursuit of freedom, we remember those in literal captivity. We remember the hungry, the poor, and the hurting, because Jesus, in no uncertain terms, equated their needs with a significant part of our calling. To borrow my friend Sara Groves’ profound words, “A gospel that doesn’t acquaint itself with the sufferings of others, is not the Gospel.”

“Embracing Your Freedom” calls Believers out of ‘ Self-preserving-Western-Suburban Christianity’ into a powerful life of risk-taking, freedom, significance and influence.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

Answer: I can’t begin to describe the opposition I encountered while writing this book. You know that poem, “Footprints in the Sand”? Well, my poem would be more fitly titled, “Heel Gouges in the Sand.” There were moments when God had to drag me through the process of writing this book because it was so grueling and costly at times. My faith was stretched and challenged in big ways. I experienced several nightmares about being raped and attacked; terrible sleepless nights; continual computer issues, harassing thoughts, and a constant sense that I was awaking a sleeping giant in my midst. Day after day I just kept pounding out the words in spite of my mental and physical exhaustion and my stirred up fears. I don’t know how better to explain it except to say that I felt bruised and battered once I crossed the finish line. But God was with me, cheering me on, and I’m so thankful for His grace and patience with me along the way. And it was all worth it. I’ve already heard life-changing testimonies from some of my readers. Thank you, Lord! I experience a similar kind of opposition every time I speak on this topic. I think I’ve hit a nerve with the devil. He wants to keep us living captive insignificant lives. He wants us comfortable in our captivity so we never want to leave. He hates the message of freedom. Still, I wouldn’t dare take a step into this territory if not for my faithful group of intercessors.

Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

Answer: I have a DVD that shows clips of me speaking at various events and book signings along with clips of those who just heard me speak. The DVD is professionally designed and offers my contact information both on the back cover and at the end of the DVD. The DVD is easy to mail, looks polished, and is much better than the clunky package I used to send out (Sample speaking tape, photo, bio, list of speaking topics and writing, credits, etc.). My agent even used the DVD to accompany one of my proposals. People loved it. The problem is, it’s an expensive endeavor and things have been moving so quickly in my ministry over the past few years that it didn’t take long for my DVD to become outdated.

I’ve been so busy with speaking, writing, and radio lately, that I haven’t taken the time to update my press kit. I know it’s something I need to add to my task list. Thanks for reminding me.

Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

Answer: Yes, as I mentioned, I have a very busy speaking schedule and do quite a bit of radio, which I really enjoy. I had a full schedule this fall so I booked myself a little break in January/February to do this blog tour and a take a couple of classes. Towards the end of February, my spring schedule kicks in and doesn’t let up until mid-May. I’ll spend most of my weekends speaking at conferences and I’ll do radio interviews during the week. I have a media trip to Chicago planned in May at which time I’ll be a guest on Moody Midday as well as a number of other radio programs. I mentioned that I am an on-call guest host for Along the Way: a live two-hour talk show. I step in when the main host needs the day off. I am also a regular monthly guest on that show.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Answer: Yes, I think it’s necessary to have an agent. Not that you can’t accomplish anything without an agent (with God, all things are possible!), but in this day and age, reputable representation is crucial. Note the word, ‘reputable.’ Don’t be so anxious to have an agent that you align yourself with just anybody. What’s worse than not having an agent? Having a disreputable agent.

Chip MacGregor is my agent. I started out with him a number of years ago (with Alive Communications). When he moved to Time Warner, he handed me off to Beth Jusino (who was also with Alive Communications). Beth did a great job for me. This past year she resigned and took a job outside of the literary world. I’ve since switched back to Chip. He is incredibly smart and a good friend.

Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

Answer: I have a great publicist at Moody Publishers. She sent out a press release and an e-blast for interviews. She also booked me to come to Chicago for Moody Midday. I was so blessed to do a live show with Anita and Melinda before a live studio audience. They sold tickets, prepared a beautiful luncheon for those in attendance, and we took audience questions. This event was broadcast to their huge listening audience. It was a great day. I will say though, media hasn’t come as easy with this book as with my other books. I think the issue of ‘justice’ scares some folks. But that’s okay. I’m doing my best and leaving the rest with God.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Answer: Yes. As I mentioned, my next book, “Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places” releases this spring (March, 2010). I sent in my finished manuscript on the Freedom book and the next day I received an offer for the ‘Grateful Kids’ book. I was so tired that I wasn’t sure if I could start another book without a day’s rest in between. But to my absolute surprise, the book poured out of me and was a delight to write. My sample readers loved it and it’s already generating some buzz behind the scenes. I’m very thankful for and excited about that book.

After I submitted the ‘Grateful Kids’ manuscript, I knew it was time to let the land rest so to speak. I emptied my pockets to write those two books and I needed to push the pause button for a while. So I did. Now, I’ve got a new book brewing within me and I plan on writing that proposal this summer once I get through my spring speaking/media schedule.

Thank you for your interview, Susie. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Answer: Again, thank you for having me. I am honored to have shared this time with you. You can find me several ways:

Website: www.susielarson.com
Blog: www.susielarsonblog.typepad.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deeperlifeinchrist

You can purchase my books at your local bookstore or online at:
http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Your-Freedom-Personal-Experience/dp/0802452809/

God bless you all.
Here’s to Freedom!
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