Marti Pieper’s passion for reading, writing, and prayer has yielded her many adventures, writing, ghostwriting and/or editing books, including the 2008 YA bestseller I Would Die for You: One Student’s Passion, Service and Faith. She is also a regular contributor to Sisterhood magazine, an editor, and a conference speaker, and she serves as Director of Prayer and Publication for Awe Star Ministries.
Marti holds a B.S.Ed. from Ohio State University and a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Tom, a worship pastor, live in Florida and have five children.
How far back do you remember wanting to be a writer?
I’m one of those who wanted to be a writer almost as soon as I could read. I had a little memory book as a child, and after every school year, under “What I want to be when I grow up,” I wrote “Authoress.” (In my childish mind, that was the correct term, I guess.)
Detours in life can be frustrating, but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
My husband had a forced resignation from a ministry position in 2005 only weeks after I told God that He could do anything, anytime and I would serve Him no matter what. For the first time, writing became more than a hobby, and a friend helped me find some editing/ghostwriting jobs. One of these was for an entrepreneur whose primary message was “see the value of the potential.” Almost at the same time, I became involved in a prayer project for a young man, B.J. Higgins, who was in the top two percent of ill people in the world. God allowed me to see the value of the potential in his story, and I obeyed Him by volunteering to write it. The resulting book, I Would Die for You (Revell, 2008) not only became a young adult best-seller but also moved me into a career as a ghost-and collaborative writer. All glory to Him (and to divine detours)!
Let’s talk about Escape the Lie: Journey to Freedom from the Orphan Heart (Randall House, May 2014). Please tell us about it.
Escape the Lie was written for Dr. Walker Moore, President and Founder of Awe Star Ministries. It’s our third book together. Dr. Moore is a popular Bible teacher and conference speaker but is also dyslexic, so I have the privilege of putting his teachings into print.
The message of this book has touched both our lives in specific, personal ways. The Orphan Heart is the lie Satan implants in our hearts, often through a wound or perceived wound from a parent or other authority figure, which says we don’t matter to God or to other people. Sometimes we respond in rebellion, like the prodigal son in the New Testament story. Sometimes we respond by trying our best to be perfect, like his elder brother. Either way, we lose.
We may know Christ, but we don’t live the abundant life He promised because we’re stuck in the past and afraid of the future. Our everyday lives are filled with “if only” and “what if” instead of the fruit of the Spirit. The Orphan Heart keeps us living as those who have no father, no identity, no purpose, no direction, and no destiny.
I’ve been in the congregation when people have come forward, weeping, to confess their resentment toward the father who rejected them or the mother whose words ripped them apart. I’ve seen rebellious, angry young people push through their tears to tell me, “I am my Father’s favorite child”—and mean it. I’ve seen testimonies from CEOs who realized their drive to outperform others came from a childhood wound that festered until it infected everyone they claimed to love.
Escape the Lie gives practical help mixed with powerful, personal stories that help people do just what the title says. With your blog’s emphasis on worship, you’ll be interested to know that Bart Millard of MercyMe wrote the Foreword to our book. He believes in its message as much as Walker and I do.
God often uses our work to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I wanted to write this book for Dr. Moore because I had learned so much from its message as he preached and taught it. But by writing it, I learned even more about the power of the Orphan Heart and how I must actively work to escape the lie.
You’re also a speaker—and speak on a range of subjects, from writing and editing to homemaking and subjects related to your books. What is your favorite speaking topic?
If I may, I’d like to choose two. I love to teach about writing and have taught at several writers conferences over the past few years, but I also love to speak on prayer. In fact, I’m preparing a prayer seminar to teach on a teen mission trip to Costa Rica in July with Never the Same Missions and Sisterhood magazine.
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?
I love strawberries and blueberries, so I guess I would have to say those are my favorites for celebrating. But my go-to comfort food is the old reliable grilled cheese sandwich, probably because I ate many of them as a child.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I play a little piano and sing alto in our church choir, but my husband is the real musician in the family. He’s a worship pastor as well as a professional trumpet player and before we married, played with the group TRUTH which has birthed many CCM artists including 4Him and Avalon.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
What a great (and challenging) question! I’d love to be a jazz tune—deep but surprisingly creative and fun.
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?
None of these exactly, but I would say I most resemble the girl next door.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Our family loves Australian Shepherds and just said a fond farewell to Promise, our fourteen-year-old Aussie, a few weeks ago. But our bouncy, two-year-old Australian Shepherd Mix, Oso (“Bear”), still blesses our hearts and home. And my husband is a turtle lover, so we also have four box turtles. He would love to own a Galapagos tortoise one day!
Thanks, Marti! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thank you, Kathy. You do a great interview, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and my heart with you and your readers.
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For more information about Marti, visit her website.
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