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Interview with Sue Provost: ‘My profession still is to be a minister of the good news of Jesus.’

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Sue Provost is an active spiritual director, religious education teacher for both children and adults, and author of Where is God in Your Life? Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality. Her vocation in the practice of spiritual direction supports lay men and women, as well as clergy and those in ministry formation, in discernment of God’s gifting and God’s calling. Sue has a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation from Regis University, in Denver Colorado. She is on the board of directors of Small Christian Communities Connect (SCCC), as well as being the chairperson for SCC in her local parish. She writes a daily blog about the message of Jesus on her site http://letyourlifesing.blogspot.com and has a website http://sueprovost.com. Sue’s ministry is to bring awareness of God walking with us on this earthly journey. Her desire is to share her understanding of God’s love with others, so they can experience what she found in her own relationship with God. She feels that communication with God through prayer is the essential element needed to be able to see God’s movement in their lives.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Sue. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: This is my first book, but hopefully it will not be my last.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: This is my first book. Where is God in Your Life? Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: This book was originally my thesis paper for my Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation. It was my husband’s idea to get this published. He read all 400+ pages and decided that this was a message that needed to get out to the world. I did not submit it to mainstream publishers, but instead went immediately to a vanity press. I did not publish this book for my own purposes, but instead to be able to share the message to as many people as I could. The truth be known, I have probably given out as many books as I have sold. The idea was to make this available to spread the good news of Jesus and not to make money.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Since I did not send it to publishers for rejection or acceptance, there was nothing for me to overcome. I feel that if the book is successful, it is God’s success, not mine.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: My book was published in November of 2009, by Trafford Publishing. They seemed to have the best platform for exposure of my book. Also the day I made the decision to publish it, they dropped their price of publishing by 50%. I took that as a sign from God that I should publish with them.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: It was really good to see the book published, and I celebrated by giving away copies to friends and family.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: The first thing I did to promote the book was to send it to religious groups that I thought would find it of value. I put the information about the book on my website: http://sueprovost.com

I also put excerpts of it on my blog:
http://letyourlifesing.blogspot.com

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I don’t think that I would have done anything differently. I don’t imagine that I am the typical author looking to make a living wage from book sales. In that respect, I don’t have the pressures that other authors have in trying to be successful at writing. My success is when I hear someone tell me how much my book has helped them to develop their relationship with God or at least has brought them closer to a new understand of Jesus the God of love. To me, that is worth more than money.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: My book has just been out for a short time and the process of writing it has helped me to grow in my own spirituality. I am awed by the power of God and the transformation that God has made in my life. I don’t feel necessarily that I have grown as an author, but instead feel the growth I have experienced as a human being and child of God.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I can honestly say that I was spared all of those problems. I don’t really feel that publishing my book was a matter of what I did, but what God has done through me. I do not see myself as an author as much as a minister of the good news of Jesus. This book was a platform to get the message of Jesus out to the public. It is something that they can give to people. They can hold it, read it, and allow God to touch their hearts with its meaning.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: The biggest accomplishment I have achieved is the growth in my own spirituality and desire to help in the growth of the spirituality of others. There is nothing greater than to hear the enthusiasm of someone who has been touched by the hand of God. It is not an accomplishment that I have done on my own, but an accomplishment that has been facilitated by God through me. I cannot in all sincerity take credit for doing this on my own.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: My profession still is to be a minister of the good news of Jesus. That has not changed. If I am able to write 100 books, my profession will still be a minister and follower of Jesus.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: The beauty of collaboration with God is that nothing needs to be given up. All my talents work for the greater glory of God, not for my own glory. As long as I do not lose sight of this fact, I do indeed have the best of all worlds.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: In ten years, God willing, I see myself in the same profession. I place myself in God’s hands every day and dedicate myself to anything that God wants me to do.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: I guess my final words are that one must put oneself in God’s hands and allow God to be the director of your life. If being an author is what you are meant to be, that is what you will be. As a writer, write from your heart. Write what you know about and what you are passionate about. Make a difference in what you write and place your life and your talents in the hands of God.


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