I love all my authors. Truly. I love that they are brave and generous enough to share their wisdom, experience, passion, knowledge, hopes, and imagination with the world. And each time a client becomes a brand-new author, I feel a little like a proud momma at graduation.
Jen Forsthoff makes me especially proud. Aside from being a joy to work with, Jen’s desire to help others is evident in every chapter of her new book, Chosen for Charlie. So imagine my delight when I received a text with a picture of her and sweet little Charlie holding the first copy of their book.
The theme for My Writers’ Connection in 2016 is Make Your Message Matter. Jen is doing exactly that by sharing her story. Chosen for Charlie offers an unfiltered, honest and faith-filled look at what life is like for parents of a special-needs child. And while there is joy (Just look at those faces!), it can be hard to bare your soul on paper. I asked Jen to share a little about why she wrote her book and how she hopes her message will help others.
A. We have a story and a hope that we couldn’t keep to ourselves! As a new mother, raising a child with Down syndrome, I battled with questioning why this would happen to my precious baby, I feared the unknown of the future, and I was unsure how my faith and God’s Word would work together to navigate motherhood. And while in the greatest valley, I have experienced the greatest goodness of God.
If, back when my daughter was first born, I could have had a mother share with me the revelations that God has since given me, I would have been forever grateful. I decided to write Chosen for Charlie because I thought, if just one person could experience the hope and breakthrough that I have experienced, it would be well worth it!We have a story and a hope that we couldn’t keep to ourselves! @jforsthoff #chosenforcharlie Click To Tweet
Q. How long did it take for you to gather your thoughts and go from idea to manuscript?
A. When I finally decided to sit down and begin the writing process, I simply began to list the greatest revelations God has given me in raising a child with special needs. From there, my list grew as I shared ideas with family and continued to reflect and pray about what God wanted me to share. The scriptures that gave me truth to stand on, along with personal stories and analogies made each chapter grow and grow until I felt like I shared every last word and piece of my heart.
Q. What were the biggest challenges in writing your story?
A. With this being my first book, I had a lot of opportunity to grow! Writing an entire book, rather than an article, blog post, or brief testimony, was new territory! The challenge to connect ideas, consider an audience, keep the reader engaged, and dive into the writing process to an extent I had never experienced was challenging but exciting!
One of the biggest challenges was sharing my writing with professionals who revised and edited. To have your work critiqued and corrected can be a tough thing; I simply had to realize that with others’ help, my message could be communicated more effectively. Rather than fighting for a particular word or phrase, I needed to stay focused on the big picture and fight for the message!
Q. What fears did you have to face while writing your book?
A. Since I wrote Chosen for Charlie from a vulnerable place, I wrestled with all my weaknesses being exposed. I consider myself a private person, but in my writing, I wanted to be as honest and open as possible so that others might connect and realize they were not alone in their valleys. I found so much hope and comfort from other parents when they were transparent with me about their struggles in raising their special-needs child. I wanted to do the same for my readers.
Q. What hopes do you have for your book?
A. I want lives to be changed! I want parents to experience breakthroughs as they raise their children. Rather than struggle, I want them to read Chosen for Charlie and be filled with hope and to thrive. I want families and marriages to be stronger as parents are encouraged to turn towards one another. I want people to know the power of God’s Word and be forever marked by His truth. I want churches and communities to see this book as a great resource to counsel and help parents move forward with their calling to raise their child. I want people to draw close to God as they realize He is their hope and help, not just in raising and caring for a special-needs child, but for their life!
What is your story? Will you share it and make your message matter?