Tuesday Talks-Interview with Miranda J Chivers

Today we are blessed to have Miranda Chivers with us. Miranda is a retired Social Worker and former Tourism Owner/Operator. She is an avid researcher and constant student of the deeper Christian life. The twists and turns of difficult seasons in her life produced gems of God-inspired insight. She believes that our failures can be our biggest assets and provides us with the tools to teach others. Her mission is to heal hurting souls by sharing her own experiences through both fiction and non-fiction. Welcome, Miranda. Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

I’m a baby-boomer—born and raised by Mennonite parents in a rural area in the cold Canadian prairies. Although I was raised in a very strict religious environment, I questioned everything. The answers I received were unsatisfying. At the age of sixteen, I left my protected environment to explore the real world. I chased knowledge and spiritual meaning through low valleys of depression, chronic illness, poverty, homelessness, family dysfunction, and abuse. This colorful background shaped my personality and shifted my understanding of humanity. I learned to balance despair with an intimate connection with God.  The cornucopia of life experiences morphed my faith dramatically.

What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?

With my social work background, non-fiction is my first go-to for both reading and writing. I blog on various Christian themes, relationship issues, and mental health.

I’m learning to write fiction since my life reads like a fiction novel, I have lots of material to draw from.

 I love reading historical fiction and memoirs. I’ve read most of Brock and Brodie Thoene’s books.

What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

I don’t remember not loving books. I had three brothers and no sisters. Living in a sexually segregated society, I wasn’t allowed to play with the boys. We had no TV and one radio. Living in a rural area without playmates, I created imaginary friendships. Fantasy became a coping skill to conquer loneliness. Books were my comfort.

At the age of eleven (1966) I wrote to a writing school asking them if I could take their course. They wrote back thanking me for the interest, but they didn’t accept students under the age of eighteen. I was crushed and spent the rest of my life hiding my writings. I published in the school newspaper in high school, briefly wrote a social column in a community newspaper, and published a few academic pieces as a social worker. I always wanted to write a book but never had the courage to take the plunge—until now.

Tell us about this book.

Unequally yoked: Staying Committed to Jesus and Your Unbelieving Spouse is a non-fiction manual for living. It addresses the common problems faced by those living with a spouse who doesn’t accept your Christian truth or believe in God the way you do. It helps the Christian spouse reframe their perspective of their non-Christian spouse’s belief system and respect those differences.

Although the book is targeted to the believing spouse, it is also helpful for the non-believer since it focuses on the importance of understanding how your spouse thinks and learns.

Reviews from both Christian believers and non-believers state the book is applicable to all relationships, regardless of faith.

What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

I was really surprised by how much I knew on the topic. Although I started with a few questions, the project grew very quickly.

I discovered I was still the little girl who likes being alone with a good book. Only this time, I was cocooned behind a desk—writing. I found the process of writing comforting. But when it came timeto let others read my work—I was a nervous wreck. I’m a private person. Sharingmy writing means sharing my soul. That’s tough for an introvert to do.

Our marriage changed both during the book writing season and after. Both the task of writing and the content of thebook helped us understand each other better. My husband was very patient duringthe process—waiting for me to come out of my cocoon. He learned to accommodatemy creative moments and irregular dinner hours.

I was worried about the impact on our marriage when my husband read the first draft. He didn’t know what I was writing, so he was surprised by the final result. The book opened the doors ofcommunication and we discovered new levels of intimacy—despite almost thirtyyears of marriage.

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

I start with a mind map. I write down rabbit trails of information. These become ideas that may or may not be useful.From there I create a rough outline. I’m a pantser and a researcher. I startwith a headline and write from that.

My digital notebook is full of ideas that might be useful in a future blog or book.

Is there a special place you like to write?

I have an office in my home that’s all mine. I don’t share this space with anyone.

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded?

I never planned to write this book. It came out of a mind-map experiment.

At the age of sixty, I made a commitment to myself to publish a book. But I had so many ideas, I didn’t know where to start. I listened to the experts. They said to write what you know. This topic kept coming up in my doodling, so I started expanding the rabbit trails. When they started to merge, I knew I was on to something.

I was terrified when I realized what I waswriting. What would people think of me, of us? But I couldn’t quit. I needed tofind out how it would turn out in the end. Would this book change my life, mymarriage, my family? Was I willing to risk everything for this book?

As it turned out, the ending wasn’t as dramatic as my imagination.

What advice would you give a new author?

Write every day. Find a time that works best for you and stick to it. Communicate with your family so they understand you cannot be disturbed. Turn off all devices that might interrupt your creative flow. Make writing a priority.          

What project are you working on now?

Historical fiction. My story takes place in 1937 in Germany prior to WW2 but reaches back to WW1 in Ukraine and Russia.

I’m also toying with an Early Readers adventure book on faith.

I’m hoping to publish both books in 2019.

Where can we find your books?

On Amazon. See my author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Miranda-J.-Chivers/e/B0791MGZP7

The link for “Unequally Yoked: StayingCommitted to Jesus and Your Unbelieving Spouse” is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0791LJYX8

Like what you see? Share away! Check "INFO" to enter our giveaway!