Susan May Warren is the author of more than thirty novels. She won her first writing contest in the first grade and went on to become a five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA finalist, a multi-award winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and an ACFW Carol Award winner.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Mass Communications, Susan, along with her husband and children, moved to Russia, where they spent eight years in international ministry. They returned from the mission field in 2004 and now live in a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior.
Let’s talk about your new book, It Had to Be You (Tyndale House, January 2014). Please tell us about it.
It Had to Be You is about Eden Christiansen, an Obits writer who feels she has nothing to offer to the world, and Jace Jacobsen, a hockey player/Enforcer who has spent his life as a tough guy on the ice and feels he has wasted his life. These two are thrown together to help find the identity of a John Doe—and in doing so, they discover that they are much more important to this world—and each other—than they imagined. It’s a story for those who feel they are “standing on the sidelines” of life . . .
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
One of my favorite lines comes from a quote in the early part of the book: You don’t have to do something amazing to receive the applause of Heaven. I think we all think we need to make some sort of world-changing contribution in this life. But could it be that we can simply live our lives as light in the world . . . and that is enough? I explore this idea—and the contribution we make in small—and big ways—in the story. It has really freed me up from the treacherous “to-do” list and allowed me to savor the small things in life.
Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a “detour” that changed your life for the better?
I am not sure if it counted as a detour—but we spent eight years as missionaries in Russia. I believe we were supposed to be there—we loved it. But as we served, God used it to strengthen my faith, show me the kind of person I wanted to be, and build my writing dream. Russia was training for the life I live now.
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Popcorn, with real butter and parmesan cheese. I love the salty crunch! (It actually helps me think!)
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?
Hmm . . . good question! I would like to think I have superhero qualities . . . I think my super-power is loyalty. I show up in the lives of the people I care about—from trekking to every football & basketball game, to track meets, to theater rehearsals. I also “show up” at home, making dinner and celebrating life with my people. But maybe that makes me the female lead, too. I think everybody has a little “super heroine” in them—they can be heroic when they need to be. : )
Thank you, Susan! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thanks for having me!
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For more information about Susan, visit her website.
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