|A special friend and a few surprises
||[Feb. 18th, 2013|09:49 am]
18 - 22 February 2013Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance
Is IntroducingSoul Friend: The Story of a shared Spiritual Journey
(Even Before Publishing October 2012)
Jo-Anne BerthelsenAvailable at Light the Dark for $16.95
About the Book:
Soul Friend is an honest and intimate portrayal of the author's own journey with her wise, spiritual mentor and the warm, life-giving relationship that developed between them during their fifteen years of meeting together. This story is written in the hope that it will inspire many not only to seek out such a spiritual friendship for themselves but also to provide such a friendship for another.
Beautifully written, this honest and insightful memoir is an inspiring celebration of the ancient art of spiritual companionship. Dr Rick Lewis
About the Author
Soul friendship is a very under-emphasised resource of Christian discipleship, particularly for Christian leaders. Jo-Anne has written honestly, beautifully, sensitively and powerfully. Dr Keith Farmer
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but
grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of five published novels – Heléna, All the Days of My Life
, with a sixth, The Inheritance
, due for release in 2013. Her first non-fiction work Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey
was released in October 2012. Jo-Anne loves music, reading, mentoring younger women, and sharing with community groups about writing. She is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren.
And now a special treat. A guest blog from Jo-Anne. Welcome Jo-Anne and thanks for joining us here.
Soul Friend Surprises
It has now been around five months since my book Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey was released by Even Before Publishing. And what an interesting time that has been, as I have watched the journey of my latest literary offering unfold!
I did not know quite what response to expect from my readers this time around, since Soul Friend is my first work of non-fiction. Would those who enjoyed any or all of my five published novels make that leap with me over into non-fiction? Would there be anyone out there who could relate to my own journey at all and the things I share of my times with my spiritual mentor Joy? Would I find new readers, now I had at least temporarily changed genre? Or had I made a huge mistake?
My first Soul Friend surprise has been the depth at which this little book of mine seems to have touched the hearts of some of my readers. I am always moved when people bother to contact me with feedback about any of my books, but some emails, as well as face to face comments I have received this time around, have caused me to feel very humble indeed and very blessed. For example, an old friend wrote: I know that what you have written in this beautiful book is true and it is its authenticity that spoke to me as it will to many others. Another commented: We need books that are honest and for real and I am sure this book will help many. Then just a few days ago, an older gentleman shared how touched he was with the vulnerability and honesty displayed in my book. Heartfelt words, all of them. I had longed for such responses, yet when they came, they surprised me with their obvious depth of feeling.
My second Soul Friend surprise has taken place on various occasions and been quite comical at times. When some have discovered my new book is non-fiction, they nod in approval and seem immediately interested. It’s as if I have finally seen the light, after writing what they surmise are frivolous novels! I am happy to connect with this new found audience who seem to feel I am ‘okay’ now as an author, but I smile wryly to myself at times, too. Many of the issues I mention in Soul Friend have already found their way into my novels in the experiences of some character or another. I write general fiction, with strong faith themes, and tend to portray struggles with big life issues such as forgiveness, disappointment, rejection, change and grief. Yet now I find, to my surprise, I am cloaked in a respectability as an author that I did not previous enjoy in some circles!
A third surprise has been the number of people, including younger members of our society, who seem to connect so readily with the idea of having a soul friend or spiritual companion—someone who is prepared to walk beside you in your own journey, listening to you, praying for you and sharing godly wisdom with you when required. There is a yearning in all of us, I believe, to be understood, valued, encouraged and supported in life. And I hope and pray that in some small but significant way, my book Soul Friend will be used to meet that need.
My surprises so far with Soul Friend have shown me then that I didn’t make a huge mistake, after all—which make me one relieved and very thankful author!
Thank You Jo-Anne for that post.
To read my thoughts about Soul Friend head down to my review on January 17th Of course on the way you might also want to check out my interview about a work in progress, and other reviews and book info.