ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another episode of The Blog Studio! And now, heeeeeeere's our hostess, Carol Ann Erhardt!
THE CURTAIN PARTS, AND CAROL ANN WALKS ONSTAGE, SMILING AT THE AUDIENCE'S APPLAUSE.
CAROL ANN: Wow, thanks everyone! It's great to be back here in the studio again. And today, I'm especially honored to be interviewing two fabulous people who collaborated and released this book.
CAROL ANN HOLDS UP A BOOK AND THE CAMERA PANS IN:
CAROL ANN: Isnt' that a great cover?
CAROL ANN: Let me tell you a little about the authors. Michelle Cox is the author of Honor Books' Mothers Who Made a Difference and is a frequent contributor to several Focus on the Family magazines. She is a popular speaker, and has been interviewed for Family News in Focus. A member of the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Group, Michelle is also active in local politics. Married over thirty-three years, Michelle and her husband Paul live near Asheville, North Carolina, where they have spent almost thirty years working with teens and singles. They have three grown sons.
John Perrodin is a novelist, researcher, speaker, and attorney. Currently the Craftsman mentor and senior editor for the Christian Writers Guild (and the orientation speaker for the Guild's writers conference each year), Perrodin works full time for best-selling author, Jerry B. Jenkins; he was formerly Special Assistant to Dr. James C. Dobson. He is the co-author of three novels with Jenkins. Perrodin and his wife Sue live in Colorado with their family.
Please put your hands together and welcome to the studio, Michelle Cox and John Perrodin!
AUDIENCE APPLAUDS AS THE TWO AUTHORS WALK ONSTAGE.
CAROL ANN SHAKES HANDS WITH MICHELLE AND JOHN.
CAROL ANN: Thank you for agreeing to appear with me in the studio today.
JOHN: It's our pleasure.
CAROL ANN SITS IN A CHAIR, WHILE JOHN AND MICHELLE SEAT ON THE SOFA FACING HER.
CAROL ANN: How did the two of you team up to write this book?
MICHELLE: I know God put our writing team together. During the days when I was a new writer, I attended a conference where John was one of the mentors. I finally worked up the nerve to ask him to look at my writing. He was so nice and we stayed in touch over the course of the next few months. When I was in Colorado the next summer I visited him and the staff at the Christian Writers Guild. John and I talked that day and by the time I left, we had decided we ought to try writing a book together. The rest is history.
CAROL ANN: How did you gather the stories together to compile into the book?
MICHELLE: The stories came to us in a variety of ways. A few were stories that we already knew about. We contacted friends asking for their experiences and many of them forwarded the requests for us. Some of the stories came from casual conversations or from something we heard in a church service or at a conference. Without a doubt, John and I know God sent us these amazing stories.
CAROL ANN: I always ask authors if they believe the pen is mightier than the sword. I'm pretty sure of your answer just from the title of this book. Who would like to elaborate on how words can change a life for both the better and the worst?
JOHN: I wish that more people realized how much their words impact others. Too often we think they’re “not listening” or “they don’t care what I think.” But that’s not true. Whether we mean a spouse, co-worker, neighbor, or child, they hear us. And if we blurt out unkind words they can stick like a shard in the soul for decades.
CAROL ANN: That's so true. Hopefully, your book will help bring that to light to more people. The two of you seem to make a great team. Will you coauthor another book?
JOHN: I certainly hope so. Michelle is the most encouraging co-author I could hope to work with. Beyond being an outstanding author, she gets the work done on time. She always strives to create the most trouble-free manuscript an editor could want.
MICHELLE: John is a dear friend and the world’s best writing partner. He is an amazing writer and we have tons of fun working together. I have been blessed to work with him and look forward to future projects.
CAROL ANN: What do you find the hardest thing about coauthoring versus writing solitary?
MICHELLE: I think the distance is probably our biggest challenge. I live in North Carolina and John is in Colorado so we can’t sit down and work together. Other than that, our writing partnership has been nothing but positive.
JOHN: I love the fact that Michelle is always there with a phone call or email of encouragement. And that makes it possible to get through the rough writing spots and looming deadlines.
CAROL ANN: Can you share something amusing that happened while writing or editing this book?
JOHN: My favorite Dreadful Incident was having to call Michelle and confess that I’d obliterated her personal website (www.michellecoxinspirations.com) while trying to update our joint Simple Little Words site (www.simplelittlewords.com). I accidentally pushed the wrong button and we ended up with two sites for our new book. Everything Michelle had created disappeared. She was a good sport and overlooked my mortification once we got her site back to its former pristine state!
MICHELLE: That was quite an interesting moment and I still laugh when I imagine what John’s face must have looked like when he realized he had deleted my site.
CAROL ANN: Since I do my own website, I can appreciate this. You both are such amazing authors. How did you realize that God was calling you to write?
JOHN: I don’t believe this calling is constant. I think there are certain projects that I must be a part of. And those are the ones that I want to get involved with. God sometimes touches my mind and heart with an idea. And the more bizarre it is the more I trust that it’s directly from Him. That’s not to say that Simple Little Words is bizarre, but the circumstances that led to Michelle and I co-authoring, getting our contract, and ultimately promoting our books, have God’s fingerprints all over them.
CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
JOHN: New authors have high hopes. That means (and meant) that Michelle and I have worked to help promote this book with great passion and intensity. No matter what the publisher was doing, we tried to push even harder to do even more. Between us, we’ve set up multiple book signings, radio and TV interviews, speaking events, and paid for our own advertising. Being an author is not for people who want to be pampered. You’ve got to get out there and do the hard work – or watch your book’s ranking drop like an anchor!
CAROL ANN: How do you balance your "real" lives with your "writing" lives?
JOHN: I work for the few brief hours when I have the time to write. But my family always comes first. I’ve seen too many authors who care more about book sales than interpersonal relationships. All the success in the world won’t replace precious time lost with a spouse or child. That’s why I try to write when everyone else is busy – and do things together whenever we can.
MICHELLE: The “real” life comes first. I enjoy spending time with my family and consider them my top priority. I can look back and regret not writing another book or article but I don’t ever want to look back and regret missing important family times. I believe God honors that and somehow the rest seems to fall into place.
CAROL ANN: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy lives to share your insights with the studio audience. The director is telling me our time is up. Quick, before they drop the curtain, where can readers learn more about you and your books? Website address, blog, email???
MICHELLE: Please visit us at www.simplelittlewords.com. Our site includes information about us, a sample chapter from Simple Little Words, a free discussion guide for each chapter in the book, simple little tips, and content from some of our media interviews. Your readers can reach us through our contact page on the website. We love hearing from everyone.
AUDIENCE GIVES A STANDING OVATION AS THE CURTAIN DROPS ON ANOTHER EPISODE OF THE BLOG STUDIO.