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Interview: Susie Larson, Author of Embracing Your Freedom

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I want to thank Susie Larson for taking the time to answer a few questions for me.  I found her answers to be thought-provoking, beautiful, humorous, and a glimpse into a wonderful woman.  Susie Larson is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Women in Christian Media, and has served on the board of directors for the Christian Authors Network.

Susie is a talented and much sought after inspirational speaker, as well as the author of many wonderful books including her latest release Embracing Your Freedom and the upcoming Growing Grateful Kids. Inspirational and uplifting, Susie Larson shares her beliefs and thoughts with the world, lending a hand to bring comfort to those around.  

Enjoy my interview with Susie Larson and once you do, I hope you will check out her book Embracing Your Freedom, or any of the others that she has written.

First of all, could you tell us a bit about Embracing Your Freedom? What is the story about, who are the characters, etc.

Embracing Your Freedom calls women to tenaciously contend for their freedom in Christ. All too often we allow ourselves to be bullied by our fears and held back by our insecurities. God has a big plan for our lives; He wants to use us in mind-boggling ways, and we’ll miss out on the great adventure if we choose to live small, self-protective lives.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from Embracing Your Freedom? Could you share that with us, please?

“Every nook and cranny of your existence, every mishap and misstep, Jesus knows about them and loves you completely. You are treasured. You have girlfriends all over the world whom you’ve never met, but you’d love them if you did. Allow your heart to be knitted together with theirs. Enlarge your heart to include people who long for the freedoms you enjoy. And for His name’s sake, press on, take risks, and recover every shred of who God intended you to be.” (p. 88).

What do you want readers to take away from reading Embracing Your Freedom?

I want every reader to be challenged to push past her fears and insecurities; I want her to know how important she is to God and to His purposes on this earth; and I want her perspective on the sufferings of others to change significantly. I want every reader to become a world-changer.

What was the most fun about writing Embracing Your Freedom?

To be completely honest, writing this book was a huge challenge for me. I really didn’t have a fun moment during this process, but I knew my assignment was an important one and I did my best to complete it. I will say though, holding the first copy in my hands moved me to tears. It was such a labor of love and my publisher did such a phenomenal job with the page and cover design, I was overwhelmed that God allowed me to be a part of this project. The finished product is simply beautiful (hope it’s okay to admit that). 

What was the hardest part about writing Embracing Your Freedom?

Without getting into too much detail, I would say that the toughest thing about writing this book was the spiritual opposition. From sleepless nights to terrible nightmares, from computer problems to health problems, I battled the elements while trying to stay on task. Talk about grit and tenacity. Writing this book required every shred I had.

What kind of research did you do for Embracing Your Freedom?

I worked closely with an organization that I love: International Justice Mission. My husband and I serve alongside recording artist Sara Groves and her husband Troy as co-chairs of the IJM benefit banquet in Minnesota. I worked closely with my friends from the communications department at IJM to make sure that all of my stories and stats were accurate.

Could you please tell us about your writing process?

I split my time between writing, speaking, and radio. As a women’s conference and retreat speaker, my busiest seasons are fall and spring. During the winter months, I take only a few retreats and Christmas events. I typically write my books either in the summer or during those winter months. This allows me to stay very focused on the task before me. When I am in book-writing mode, I am like a dog on a hunt. I don’t dawdle. I get up early in the morning and spend a significant amount of time in prayer; I go to the Y and workout several times a week, and then I sit down, surrounded by resources, files, and scribbled notes, and I pound out the words; day in and day out. Since my kids are grown and my husband is so supportive, this schedule works for me.

Do you ever put yourself within your characters?

Ha. I wish I could. I so envy my fiction-writing friends. In fact, most of my author friends are novelists. When we get together, we talk about their characters like they’re part of the group.

Do you have any particular habits that you take part in while writing? By that I mean certain music you like to listen to, foods you like to eat, environment that helps you write better, etc.

I like to listen to instrumental music when I write. And sometimes I like it perfectly quiet. During the winter months I like to write in my family room by the fireplace. In the summer months I like to write in my living room where the sun shines in the window.

Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?

Most of my ideas come out of my time with the Lord. I spend a lot of time with God each day and I do my best to listen to what He’s saying about the times and about the precious women to whom He has called me to encourage.

How did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Were there any authors or books that made you think "Wow, that's what I want to do – craft stories of my own for others to read"?

In my early years of marriage, my husband and I walked through some very trying times (high risk pregnancies, babies in the hospital, battling my own disease, and my husband’s cancer). Right in the middle of one of those seasons, God lifted my chin and showed me a bigger purpose in all my pain. Out of that place, my dream of writing and speaking evolved.

What make you take that leap from "wanting" to be a writer, as opposed to "becoming" a writer? Many talk of being a writer and dip their toes in, but it seems there is often a sort of "push" to bring one over that wall.

Boy, are you ever right about needing that push to get started. I had the dream in my heart for a long time before I started writing. And then, one day, I received that push from my husband. He walked up to me and pointed me to our office and said, “Go start writing. Start today. Start now. Put some words on a page.”

I’m telling you, that was the push I needed. I self-published my first book and received contract offers for all of my other books after that.

How do you come up with the names of your characters? It almost seems as though, as an author, you have the continuous fun of naming children!

Again, you’re making me jealous of my novelist friends. Hey, maybe I’ll just change the names to some of the actual people in my books.

Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

I grew up in a family of seven children and our house was like Grand Central Station. I remember loving to read but not really being encouraged to do so (I adore my parents, but they had their hands full with caring for us and keeping food on the table). I checked out lots of books from the library, but for some reason, I can’t remember any of the titles except Charlotte’s Web.

If you had to summarize your life and give it a book title, what would that title be?

Wow, that’s a tough question. I would have to say: Walking in God’s Presence as I Live Here on Earth (Psalm 116:9). Not too catchy but it summarizes my life verse.

What are you working on right now? Could you give us a taste/teaser (aka excerpt) from your current WIP?

My next book releases in March (2010) and is titled, Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places.

“With the currents of materialism and entitlement flowing so strong, how do we raise kids who are simply thankful? With simple language and biblical applications, Susie helps us to understand that although teaching perspective and gratitude to our children is critical, it’s not difficult.”

What are you reading right now?

I just finished reading, The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. I am currently reading, And I Will be Found by You by Francis Frangipane. Soon I will start Michael Card’s book, A Better Freedom: Finding Life as Slaves of Christ. I treat myself to novels in between events and in the summer time. It’s my favorite thing to do.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite non-fiction authors are: A.W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Catherine Marshall, and Francis Frangipane. My favorite novelists are: (my very precious friend) Susan Meissner, Lisa Samson, Nancy Moser, and Francine Rivers.

If you could have lunch and chat with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I think I would most love to sit down with Andrew Murray. He speaks my language. He is all about intimacy with God. I love his work.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?

Right now I serve as an on-call host for a talk-radio show. But, I am working with the station behind the scenes to develop my own show. We plan to launch this summer. My show will air on six stations in five states. Over the next five years I’d love to see the show grow from reaching a regional audience to a national audience. I recently went back to school. I would like to get my degree in Communications (but I’m so busy communicating, it’s hard to find the time to squeeze in all of the classes). I would also like to publish a few more books in the next five years. Oh, and on a non-career related basis, I want to compete in the Iron Girl Duathalon next fall (I’m contending with an old injury so this will be a major accomplishment). 

Is there anything that you would like to add? That you would like readers to know about you or your writing?

I write a weekly devotional blog and would love to have you visit and leave a comment! Also, if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll receive a quarterly E-zine full of great content, book giveaways, and great book recommendations. My contact information is below:

Where can readers get in touch with you? Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc?

Thanks for asking! Here are my links:

Twitter: @susielarson

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About April Pohren

  • Jennifer Bogart

    Reading this book right now – really enjoying it. I cried while I read it today.