Thursday, February 18, 2010
My interview with Lisa Hendey
I recently had the honor and pleasure of interviewing our dear friend Lisa Hendey from Catholic Mom.Com about her new book: The Handbook for Catholic Moms which has just released by Ave Maria Press. My interview with Lisa follows:
Lisa, I am thrilled about your book for many reasons, but two come immediately to mind. One is that your book is a wonderful comprehensive handbook for Catholic mothers everywhere and the other is that the world now has access to a book written by you! You’ve been so long working to hold down the fort at Catholic Mom.Com which you have created to help Catholic and Christian families and we have all felt your warm voice through it as well as have heard it through your podcast, Catholic Moments, but now we can read your book – another creative and inspirational means to communicate with us!
Would you please tell us what went behind the idea of creating this book?
Thank you, Donna-Marie, for your kind welcome and especially for being a contributor to The Handbook for Catholic Moms. When my publisher, Ave Maria Press, approached me about doing a book based on the CatholicMom.com website, they gave me a great opportunity to take what we’ve done online and to create a lasting, tangible and cumulative resource for Catholic moms. I wanted the book to capture the same sense of community and support that we have built at CatholicMom.com, with the goal of encouraging Catholic moms to care for and nurture ourselves so that we can better serve our families, our communities and the Church we love.
Well, you certainly have done that for sure. Your book is a wonderful extension of Catholic Mom.Com! Your book is very all-encompassing. How long did it take you to write it?
From conception to publication, the book publication process took approximately eighteen months. As a first time author, I found it fascinating to watch the process unfold – each step is critical, but for a blogger like me who is used to “immediate gratification” of writing online, the many phases of writing a book can feel very drawn out. Once my initial proposal and outline were accepted, I spent approximately four months in serious daily writing. The first draft of the manuscript was completed about nine months prior to the eventual publication. Those months after the first draft were filled with editing and subsequent drafts. I was blessed to work with the world’s best and most gifted editor, Eileen Ponder. Eileen is a fellow Catholic mom who holds an advanced degree in theology, and is an incredibly faith-filled writer in her own right. In retrospect, I see now that every step of the writing process was critical to the finished process.
Have you ever tallied up the many people who have contributed to your motherhood masterpiece including the friends you include in your text as examples of the points you’re illustrating as well as endorsers and sidebar contributors? It would seem that a lot of wisdom has gone into this mother’s handbook. I think it was a brilliant idea to include many perspectives in your book to really bring it to life and make it a book that so many can relate to.
I should definitely take the time to do that tally, but honestly it would take me while to do so! Countless voices contributed to this book. We have over thirty formal “sidebar” contributors – talented writers like you Donna-Marie – who shared their wonderful perspectives for each of the chapters in the book. These include moms, dads, priests, and a deacon, each of whom was specifically chosen for their unique voice and qualities. In addition to these contributors, I was blessed to have input of stories, quotes, ideas and encouragement from hundreds of my online friends in the CatholicMom.com, SQPN.com, FaithandFamilyLive.com communities, as well as in my social networking venues.
It's just amazing what you have done to draw all of it together into a superb resource for Catholic moms and families. What are your hopes for your book, Lisa?
My greatest hope is that The Handbook for Catholic Moms will be a support and an encouragement to Catholic moms and the families they love and serve. I hope that women will hear and embrace the book’s message.
What was the most difficult part about writing this book?
As I’ve shared in other places, last year I was diagnosed with DCIS, the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer. The diagnosis coincided with my writing the book, and my publisher offered to delay my deadline while I pursued my treatment. I was blessed that my situation was diagnosed early through a routine mammogram (note to women – go get your mammograms!), so I was treated with surgery and seven weeks of daily radiation therapy. I decided to try to work through my treatments and see what would happen. With the amazing prayer support of my friends as well as the hands-on care of my family and doctors, I was able to write my way through those seven weeks and hit my stride once my radiation treatments were finished. Honestly, what could have been the greatest challenge turned into an opportunity to see such a tangible sign of God’s grace in my life. Aside from this situation, probably the most difficult part of writing the book was finding the time necessary to spend several focused hours per day in serious writing. We moms need to be time management experts to succeed in our vocation, so I put many of those strategies into place while writing the book.
Lisa, I think that readers will find this really incredible to hear. I don't think you'll ever forget the writing process for this book, Lisa! God has truly blessed you and given you many graces to persevere through the challenges. I am sure that He is very pleased with you.
What was the most heart-warming part about writing it?
I have to say that the support and encouragement of my online friends was the most heart-warming part of this project. Every day, first thing in the morning, I would announce my writing topic for the day online. By the time I sat down in the library to write, I had a handful of quotes, stories, suggestions and prayers from my “fellow writers” all over the world. I was astounded by the generosity of spirit within so many souls I have never met in person who took on ownership of this project. That was a true blessing!
That is such a blessing! Will you be going on a book tour to greet your fans?
Well, unlike Mrs. Sarah Palin, I don’t have an entourage or a publisher paying for me to criss-cross the country promoting my book. I do have an amazing publicist and friend, Amanda Williams, of Ave Maria Press, who has been working with me to enable me to get out and share this book with others. I will be doing a good amount of speaking at conferences and in parishes around the country during the next several months. Readers can visit my personal website at www.LisaHendey.com to view these opportunities. Additionally, if your parish, group or organization is seeking a speaker, I would love the opportunity to come and meet you and speak to your group. In the coming months, I will be in the Chicago area, Indiana, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Boston, Colorado and of course California. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss these or other potential visits.
Lisa, do you have plans or hopes for a future book?
At this point, I am fully engaged in promoting this book and reaching out to Catholic moms and their families to provide support and encouragement. I absolutely love writing and would welcome the opportunity to take on another book project if that is what God has planned for my life!
Is there something else you’d like to tell us?
Donna-Marie, I would love to thank you for serving as one of my writing mentors, for your contribution to The Handbook for Catholic Moms, and for the work you do here and through your books to support and encourage women. You provide a beautiful role model for people like me who are looking to fully live out our faith in our own domestic churches!
That's very kind of you to say, Lisa. Thank you very much. Finally, Lisa, where can we buy your book?
If you are blessed enough to have a local Catholic bookstore in your community, I hope and pray that you will support them by buying The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul locally. You can find a growing list of Catholic booksellers carrying the book at here. Additionally, readers can purchase the book online at The Catholic Company, Amazon, Aquinas and More, or Barnes & Noble.
Thank you very much, Lisa for the time in answering my questions and the time and love you put into your wonderful ministry to Catholic moms and their families. God bless you!
To all of the readers, I recently heard Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio on Catholic Connection speaking with Lisa in an interview about this book and has suggested that The Handbook for Catholic Moms would be a great book for Lenten reading.
My endorsement of Lisa's book: "Lisa Hendey is the sister friend of Catholic motherhood! We know her so well through her work for families, her website: Catholic Mom and her engaging podcasts. She now brings us her book: The Handbook for Catholic Moms; Nurturing Your Heart, Body Mind, & Soul in which Lisa openly discusses the essential elements of a Catholic Mom’s life in an exceptionally delightful, engaging, dynamic, and practical manner. You’ll be turning pages and feeling as if Lisa is there by your side lovingly offering her insight and warm encouragement. You’re going to love this book!"