Interview with Marlo Schalesky and Heroine from Wrestling with Wonder with a Giveaway

» Posted on Oct 2, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Marlo Schalesky and Heroine from Wrestling with Wonder with a Giveaway

This week I’m hosting Marlo Schalesky with Wrestling with Wonder (US 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 (Oct. 5th) evening.

Interview with Marlo Schalesky:

1. What made you start writing?

When I was thirteen years old, I wrote a poem on the bus on the way to school. It was about an old tree, forlorn and desolate, standing alone in a field. I read that poem at every recess, tweaked it, polished it, and for the first time, felt the thrill of how the written word can convey profound beauty. That day, I fell in love with writing.

Shortly after that, I told my mother (with all the angst of a newly-turned teenager), “I will just die if I don’t write!” So naturally when I grew up I decided to get my degree in Chemistry. And, oddly enough, I didn’t die. I enjoyed chemistry. But always that desire to write was with me, in the back of my mind, saying “Someday, someday.”

Someday finally came in 1993. I started writing articles for various magazines and putting out proposals for book projects. I thought it would be easy to get my first book published, but alas, it took years of writing and honing my craft (6 years, in fact). And more than that, it took giving up my dream entirely. For me, I had to come to a place in my heart where I didn’t have to write to be content. I had to let go of that strong desire born at thirteen years old and embrace God’s will for me whether that will included writing or not. Only then, only when my dream had given way to God’s, was I offered a contract by Crossway Books for my first published book in 1999.

2. Why do you write?

I write to touch the hem of God.

3. What themes do you like to write about?

I’ve written about many themes, but the thread that runs through all my work is discovering the wonder of God in everyday life. This is what I say on my website, which I think captures the theme and the dream for my writing:

Pause for a moment and remember back to when you were a kid. Do you remember running through the sprinklers, arms outstretched? Blowing bubbles that caught every shade of light? Catching your breath at the sight of a dragonfly? Do you remember the laughter, the joy … the WONDER? Now glance around you. Has your life turned out just as you expected it to be?

If you answered yes, you’re in the wrong place. But if, like so many of us, your life hasn’t turned out just as you dreamed it, well then, you’ve found a place to call home. For thirsty souls yearning for a VIVID God, for the hurting, the disillusioned, the struggling, the weak, and those longing for more of God, come, journey with me into WONDER . . . You’re welcome here.

4. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Ha – what is this thing you call “free time”??!!?? I have six kids! I have long forgotten the meaning of this “free time” idea. Alas . . .

5. What are you working on right now?

Keeping my kids from turning into self-centered, entitled monsters, keeping my house from turning into a junk heap, wiping bottoms and scooping horse (and various other critter) poop. Oh, that’s not what you meant?!!? You meant writing-wise? Well, I’m not under contract right now, but if this book does well enough, I’d love, love, love, to write something similar but instead of looking at Mary’s journey, I’d like to explore the one-time encounters with Christ in the gospels … the woman with the issue of blood, blind Bartimaeus, the woman at the well, Jairus’ daughter, etc … and find Jesus in a fresh way through their stories. I’d call it, if I had my choice, Reaching for Wonder. I have some notes, but haven’t put it all together and started the “real” writing yet. Maybe soon! I just think there are so many gems to mine in the stories of how people encountered Christ in the gospels.

6. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Yes! In fact, Wrestling with Wonder was born out of reading through Mary’s story in the gospels and thinking, “Wow, I can relate to that!” I saw so much of my own journey in hers – her struggles, her doubts, her hopes, her disappointments, her dreams … and her dealings with an unexpected God. Walking with her, and seeing my journey reflected in hers, changed me. It changed my view of God – it made Him more vivid, more breath-taking, more wild; it changed the way I walk through this life with Him – I take off my figurative shoes, knowing this is holy ground; it grew me deeper and showed me a life that was nothing like I had expected. And I hope it does the same for others who dare to take this journey with Mary, and with me.

7. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

When I say readers have never seen Mary, or her God, like this before – I mean it! Wrestling with Wonder is a unique, contemplative journey through the life of Mary, Jesus’ mother, to reveal a passionate God who works in ways we don’t expect.

It seems that in our culture we either deify Mary or we ignore her altogether, but the truth is, she’s a lot like you and me. Her journey with God reveals so much about our own journeys. It shows us God in ways we may have never seen Him before.

After all, everyone wants to be highly favored by God. And yet, like Mary, we face hardships, life’s unexpected twists and turns, and times when God seems absent. What do we do with this apparent discrepancy? We walk with Mary through her journey, and let her and her God, walk with us in ours.

In the end, this book invites readers to recapture their hope, restore their souls, and renew their vision of a passionate and breath-taking God. It encourages them to experience a walk of faith that is vibrant in the face of disappointment, a relationship that is dynamic, alive – wondrous! It says, “Come, join the adventure of being highly-favored of God!”.

And because Wrestling with Wonder is a journey with Mary, Jesus’ mother, here is a brief interview with Mary, our heroine, just for fun:

wrestling_with_wonder_revisedInterview with the heroine from Wrestling with Wonder by Marlo Schalesky:

1. Mary, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Well, that’s just it. There really wasn’t much interesting about me until that angel showed up. I was just an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, in an ordinary village in the back corners of Galilee. Then that angel appeared, talking about favor and Messiahs and the Holy Spirit fathering a baby. And that was the end of my ordinary. That was the end of everybody’s ordinary.

2. What do you do for fun?

I like to think, to ponder. Oh, I know that doesn’t sound like much fun, but my life is so strange, so unexpected, so nothing-like-I-could-have-ever-dreamed, that sometimes I just like to take a long walk and think about the strange strangeness. And sometimes I just like to chase butterflies.

3. What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m afraid that my life is a lie. I’m afraid that my Messiah-Son has lost his mind. I’m afraid it will all fall apart and everything I’ve hoped for, dreamed about, believed in, will be lost.

4. What do you want out of life?

I want my son to be who I want him to be. But he won’t. He refuses. He always refuses to be the Messiah I think he should be. He is always shattering my expectations, dashing my dreams. He is too much like his Father.

And somehow I am glad for it.

Imagine that.

5. What is the most important thing to you?

I would have said that my Jesus become the Messiah he was promised to be. But I don’t know anymore. Perhaps the most important thing is not for him “to be” but for me “to be.” To be less his mother and more his disciple. To be not his leader but his follower. Not for him to be who I’ve dreamed, but for me to be who he’s dreamed … for me to become the woman God created and called me to be.

6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would wrestle more. I would forever wrestle with the wonder of who He really is. I would wrestle and call it faith. Real faith. True faith.