Born in Japan to missionary parents, Alice J. Wisler dreamed as a child of writing books. Today, she is a multi-published author, with multiple magazine and anthology credits and a list of inspirational novels. She recently released a devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache (Leafwood Publishers), a project that was birthed from the pain of the loss of her four-year-old son, Daniel, and her desire to help others in the process of recovery.
Alice lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband, Carl, their children, and their two dogs.
Which came first on your path to publication, non-fiction or fiction?
I started with a short fiction piece—a story for Sprint, a take home paper published by David C. Cook.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I like to make my characters real, needy, with flaws, and have them develop an awe and love for God over the course of the chapters.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive or that you were able to use in a positive way?
I’ve had many detours in life. The major ones I wish had never happened (death of my son and divorce from his father). But life is about getting up again and showing up each day to walk with Jesus. So I try to do that.
I think my new devotional stresses how we have to make our negatives into positives. That’s why I have a sign at my desk that I see every day that reads: Only positive!
Please tell us about your new devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache (Leafwood Publishers, January 2013).
Getting Out of Bed in the Morning was inspired by the life and death of my four-year-old son Daniel. He was diagnosed with a malignant tumor and died after eight months of treatments. Parental bereavement is horrendous. You feel like you are swallowed whole. For years I wanted to write a book that stressed some healing factors in grief and loss—writing, doing things in memory of those who have died, seeking God, even wrestling with Him. All of those threads in the grief journey are covered—and more. The book has lots of comforting scripture and is laced with the everlasting hope we find through knitting our lives with Jesus. It’s for anyone going through a time of grief and loss—loss of loved one, career, finances, health, and broken relationships. Eugene H. Peterson (translator of The Message) says about it: “Believe me, you will be changed as you read this book—a book of grief and comfort. Written without easy answers, but with gritty, courageous prayer, wrestling like Jacob with God’s angel.”
You’ve also developed a grief-related writer’s workshop, “Writing the Heartache.” Please tell us about that.
For nearly twelve years, I’ve taught writing workshops at conferences and online. Writing was a life-saver for me when Daniel died. I’m a huge advocate for putting pen to paper. Releasing pent-up emotions onto the secure pages of a journal is a great way to heal. I love hearing about the discoveries that my students unveil when they write. I also teach a workshop on “Writing the Psalms” and I have a presentation I give on “Broken Psalms,” which ties in with my new devotional. My courses are listed at my website.
What’s next for you in the way of fiction? Will there be more Amish stories like Still Life in Shadows (River North, July 2012)?
Actually, Still Life in Shadows isn’t an Amish tale. It’s based on a man who leaves his Amish community due to abuse and the need for freedom. (I got the idea from one of those Amish shows aired on NatGeo.) Gideon settles in the mountains of North Carolina and helps other dissatisfied Amish youth relocate to modern society. Someone just asked me today if the characters from that novel will be showing up again, but right now I doubt it (although I did enjoy them).
Currently, my agent is working on getting two of my fiction manuscripts published. I also have a non-fiction proposal for him to find a home for. I wish him luck!
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Steamed rice with strips of seaweed. I grew up in Japan . . . need I say more? : )
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I love to sing Karaoke and in the shower, but that is the extent of my musical talent.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
One that starts off as a lament, but ends in hope.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I will always be the little girl. It’s funny you should mention that character because I often equate myself to the little girl in a dress, riding the train to school with her tights bagging around her ankles and the faint aroma of doggy poo on her patent leather shoes.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I am trying to love the dogs we own. But if it weren’t for my kids and husband, I wouldn’t own any animals. We have a beagle named Dixie and a boxer named Levi. They are cute together. Levi loves ice cubes and I often give him one to chew.
Thank you, Alice. It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thank you! What fun to be a guest at DivineDetour!
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For more information about Alice, visit her website at http://www.alicewisler.com or her blog at http://www.writingtheheartache.blogspot.com.
For information about Alice’s writing workshops, logon to http://www.alicewisler.com/writing-the-heartache-workshops/all-day-writing-workshops/.
To purchase Getting Out of Bed in the Morning (Reflections of Comfort in Heartache) logon to:
Thanks for hosting me here, Kathy!