Interview of Dianne Barker with a Giveaway

» Posted on Jul 30, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview of Dianne Barker with a Giveaway

This week I’m hosting Diane Baker with I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life and Sunni Jeffers as Emily Thomas with All Sewn Up (US and Canada only). If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on your post with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (Aug. 4th) evening.

9781462735105_COVER.inddInterview of Dianne Barker:

1)  What made you start writing? During my teenage years, while most of my girlfriends planned to become a nurse or teacher, I dreamed of being a news reporter. Where my wild idea came from, I couldn’t imagine. Although I didn’t know then, it was God’s design for my life. During high school I recognized a gift in English grammar—I actually enjoyed diagramming sentences! Other than school assignments, I didn’t write or even keep a diary. But I had this huge desire to pursue journalism.

2)  How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book? At eighteen I landed my dream job, writing for our local newspaper while attending college. After finishing my degree, I joined the fulltime staff. In addition to writing news and feature stories, I covered many religious events and area-wide crusades, including Billy Graham’s crusade in Knoxville, Tennessee. The event made national headlines with the visit of President Richard Nixon. The crusade planning committee chose me to write a commemorative book, Billy Graham in Big Orange Country. I was twenty-four.

3)  How do you handle rejections? Of course, you mean after a reasonable period of pouting! I’ve learned not to take rejection personally. There are good reasons for a writer’s work to be rejected—it’s not a good fit, or market trends have caused changes in publisher needs/goals. I try to have several things in the works so one rejection doesn’t scream, “This is the death of your career!” Knowing Christ is in charge of my life helps me deal with rejection and recover, trusting Him to open publishing doors.

4)  Why do you write? My desire is to be a voice of encouragement in today’s culture, teaching what I’ve learned about living in joy regardless of circumstances. Discouragement is rampant—terrorism, wavering economy, devastating illnesses, crime, addictions. Even Christians are in despair, wondering, “Where’s all that joy and peace I’ve heard so much about?” Circumstances rarely bring us to joy. Joy is what Christ brings to our circumstances. He is the key to an abundant life…the maximum life.

5)  What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing? I’d convince my husband to move half-way across the country so I could babysit our two sweet grandchildren! But I’d still be writing. It’s what I do. I’m never without pad and pen. I’m always making notes of observations and thoughts. Even during a long absence from publishing (while taking care of my aging parents and parents-in-love), I kept a journal and filed notes, which are providing content for my current projects. My delight is investing my life in people—mentoring young wives, speaking for women’s events, and writing to encourage women to experience the maximum life found in wholeheartedly following Christ.

6)  What are you working on right now? My manuscript Help! I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out! The Maximum Marriage Maintenance and Repair Kit will be finished soon. I’m blessed to have been married 48 years to my high-school sweetheart. Marriage longevity is rare these days, and the fallout from broken families is heartbreaking. I hope that sharing what I’ve learned about adjusting to personality differences and applying Scripture to our daily walk will have a positive impact on the spiraling divorce rate. My conviction is that couples who consider themselves stuck in this marriage will do everything possible to make their relationship everything they dreamed. Even one person in the marriage, willing to obey God, can change the relationship.

7)  Do you put yourself into your books/characters? My genre is non-fiction, and most of my books have been about other people. After my 1986 book Twice Pardoned (life of Harold Morris, first book for Focus on the Family) became a national Christian best-seller, I turned down numerous writing requests in order to concentrate on my own projects. My 2012 book Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ is a collection of articles published in the newspaper column I wrote for 17 years. It’s a chronicle of my walk with Christ and a basic handbook for making Christianity work. These days, my books are about me and my total dependence on Christ.

8)  Tell us about the book you have out right now. I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life recently won the Christian Authors Network Golden Scrolls third-place award for non-fiction book of the year. The book throws a rope to the desperate who are drowning in clutter and over-commitment, giving practical strategies to organize space, time, and family chaos. Surveying 75 friends in 17 states from Pennsylvania to Hawaii, I identified four degrees of organization:

Category one:Born that way and sailing smoothly;

Category two: Learned to stay afloat in the riptide;

Category three: Struggling to keep my head above water;

Category four: Help! I’m drowning! Throw me a rope!

I was a category four, but I recognized that living a life that counts for eternity requires organization. The book encourages personal renovation—purging interior garbage (inferiority, low esteem) and submitting fully to Christ, gateway to balance and the maximum life.

9)  Do you have any advice for other writers? Never give up! If God has called you to write, write. It’s always been difficult to snag a traditional publisher. In today’s economy, it’s nearly impossible. I’ve been published traditionally. Focus on the Family did Twice Pardoned, and I was ghost-writer for Rexella Van Impe’s book The Tender Touch for Thomas Nelson. I’m honored to have had those opportunities. When I began getting back into the publishing loop after being away 15 years caring for our parents, I chose to go the self-publishing route. CrossBooks, a division of LifeWay, did an awesome job with Cabbages and Kings and I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck. If you’re confident God has called you to write, write! He will clear a path to publish.

10)        How important is faith in your books? Faith has been central to my writing since I began a weekly newspaper column at age 18. Being young and confident I had answers to life’s big questions, I began sharing my Christian convictions. Looking back, I smile at my boldness, but I really did have an answer to the big questions—Christ. I became a Christian at age 7 but struggled with assurance until settling my eternity forever by claiming the promise of Romans 10:13. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I knew Him as Savior, and when I finally grasped what it meant to acknowledge Him as Lord, I fully surrendered my life, no strings attached. I had such a thirst to know Him better and a desire to help others experience the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10. I call it the maximum life. My passion is leading desperate, discouraged Christians to pursue this amazing life.

11)        What themes do you like to write about? I enjoyed writing Christian biographies, but now I’m sharing my personal experience overcoming obstacles to the maximum life. Cabbages and Kingssuggests attitudes and habits essential for living in joy, such as moving past failure and guilt; putting love and forgiveness into practice; confronting anger, fear, and discouragement; choosing to rely on the Lord and live in His joy. I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck labels disorganization a spiritual issue and a hindrance to experiencing the maximum life. The forthcoming book Help! I’m Stuck presents principles from Scripture that lead to the maximum life and marriage.

12)        What is your favorite book you’ve written and why? My favorite book is always the newest one! Help! I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out has been my longtime passion. My husband and I are cheerleaders for marriage. We served several years as marriage-enrichment leaders for the association of Baptist churches in our area, and we teach a couples Sunday School class. For many years I’ve mentored young women seeking encouragement in their marriage. As long as divorce is an option, we will not fully invest in the marriage. Help! I’m Stuck stresses that the issue is not making our marriage work but making our Christianity work. Two people who are totally surrendered to Christ and seeking His direction will never stand before a judge and dissolve their lives.

13)        What is your writing schedule like? I work best in themorning when I’m refreshed and focused, usually 8:30 to about 1:00 Monday through Friday. Approaching a publishing deadline, I neglect everything else and work as long as necessary, often till bedtime. But I try to keep evenings and weekends free, except for church or speaking events, to spend time with my husband.

14)        You write Love Inspired Suspense books, too. What are the challenges for writing a short book? A long book? I write only non-fiction so this question does not apply.