Jul 8, 2012

Living the Writer's Dream--Cathy McIntosh

Author Cathy McIntosh has released her debut non-fiction book, Finding Joy in the Journey.

Cathy, thanks for stopping by. We’re so excited about your book.  Tell us--how long you've been writing?   
I have loved to write since Junior High School and started several novels as a young adult but never had the drive to finish.  Several years ago, I felt a prompting in my heart to get serious about writing and establish a writing and speaking ministry for women. 
   You and John were the first to ask to see my work. I can’t tell you how much your encouragement and excitement fueled my confidence.  It helped me believe that I could actually complete a project and someday have it published.   It has made me realize the importance of cheering others on and helping them embrace God’s best for their lives.

What would you most like readers to know about yourself?   
I am the mom of two grown kids (who are both amazing in my eyes) and just celebrated 25 years of marriage with my husband whom I adore.  I’m just an ordinary woman with an ordinary life who has learned to love the process of finding joy in the Lord.  My desire, above all else, is to walk in obedience to Him and pursue the calling He has set before me. 
At this season in my life, my greatest service to Him is through writing and speaking.  It is a great comfort to know that I am responsible only to walk where He leads and HE is responsible for the results.  That includes all aspects of life, from parenting, to working outside the home, to writing and speaking.  I love to share what He teaches me about my own life and pray that it blesses others along the way.
Why the title Finding Joy in the Journey?   
Our lives are journeys.  We continue to learn, grow, and discover things about the Lord and ourselves for our whole lives.  Sadly, difficulties of life like fear, worry, shame and confusion often bog us down to the point that, in effect, we turn our backs on the joy of the Lord.  When we keep our focus on Him, we can find joy in our journeys, regardless of circumstances.   
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?  
I tend to listen to the voice of the enemy who whispers to my heart, “Who do you think you are?  You have nothing to offer!”  The hardest thing for me was to resist the enemy and walk the path that I believe the Lord set before me.  I shared this struggle with the Board of Elders at our church and asked for their prayer. One Elder bluntly said, “Well, Satan is a liar!”  How true.  These words came to mind more times than I can count when
I began to feel discouraged or struggle with the confidence to press on.                   

As you have so wisely said to me, Bobbe, writing is a very solitary work and we need each other.  While it is difficult for me to ask for help from others, I greatly relied on the prayers and encouragement of God’s people. 
How long did it take from the idea to publication?  
 It only took about 18 months, which seems fast.  An urgent family matter hit us hard and brought on nearly overwhelming fear for me.  I dug deep into God’s Word and received the care and counsel of our church staff, trying to find God’s way of handling the deluge of emotions.  A short time later, I talked with my pastor about curriculum for an upcoming women’s Bible study and he said, “I think you should teach on fear.”  My first reaction was to say “No way,” At that time I was still working hard to fight my own struggle with fear.  As I prayed, however, the Lord brought to mind – in what seemed like an instant – an entire course outline on joy and the burdens that threaten to steal it from God’s children.   The idea was born, and the rest is history!
In this day of non-traditional publishing, writers want to know which route you took and who is your publisher? 
 I established my own publishing imprint through Strengthened by the Word Ministries. The publishing arm is SW Publishing. The decision was all about timing and personal preference. I've learned that pursuing traditional publishing can take as much as 24 months to have a published book in hand. I had a speaking engagement and needed to have books available sooner. The Editor that I contracted with provided some great information on print on demand services, self-publishing services and imprints, and I immediately had great peace about the process. Not only could I control the aspects of the book and publish much faster than using traditional routes, I can also earn higher royalties. Using print on demand service meant I didn't have to lay out thousands of dollars to publish. It was an extremely economical route. For me, it's been a great decision with a lot of options. I can easily market books at speaking engagements and it is also distributed through, Amazon Europe, Barnes and Noble, and others. I plan to offer it soon on Kindle and other e-readers. Of course, I'd still love to publish traditionally someday, but while I continue to write and speak to smaller groups around the country, acting as my own publisher serves a great purpose for me. I've experienced a lot of joy in this journey. :)

What would you most like readers to know about your book?   
 Finding Joy in the Journey comes from the perspective of a real person with real struggles.  Life isn’t always pretty and my desire is to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with readers to help them navigate difficult circumstances.  It meets women right where they are and points the focus to Jesus Christ and all that He generously pours out for us.
What do you want readers to take away?   
The message I would most like to convey is that we don’t have to settle for mediocrity.  The Lord desires that we walk in His victory yet we allow the enemy to steal the joy that He provides to His children as fruit of the Holy Spirit.  The aim of Finding Joy in the Journey is to help women embrace God’s very best for their lives, even when circumstances are challenging. 
Do you have plans for future books? If so what are they?  
I am praying about writing on the other eight aspects of the fruit of the Spirit.  I would also like to write about the life of the Apostle Peter.  As I researched Finding Joy in the Journey, I connected with Peter’s story on a new level.  I would love to compile a study on his life and writings. 
For now, I plan to continue speaking to women’s groups at retreats, conferences, prayer meetings, etc.  I love to teach about joy and the burdens that mask it in the lives of God’s children, and pray that my work honors the Lord. 
Cathy's book is available on her website
A free Leader’s Guide will soon be available.