INTERVIEW | Elizabeth Maddrey, author of Wisdom to Know

By | February 13, 2013

Elizabeth, tell us about yourself.

I’m married to my best friend (going on 18 years). We have two amazing little boys (5 and 1) and live in the suburbs of Washington D.C. I’m a nerd at heart – I love all things computer (I was a programmer for many years) and science fiction (do not call when Doctor Who is on!) I’m incredibly blessed to be able to stay at home with the boys during the day and work writing in between homeschooling the older boy and thinking about how much I really need to vacuum.

How do you find time to connect with God?

I’ll admit that this is something I struggle with. I’ve been working to make sure that it’s a priority and not something I plan to get to later. What I’ve realized is that none of my boys (and that includes my husband) are morning people. So most mornings, I’ll let the older boy have some time with the TV or iPad while he’s waking up and while the baby toddles around happily, I’ll sit at the kitchen table with coffee and read the Bible and pray. Also? The shower. Sometimes my showers are much longer than they need to be because I’ll get caught up singing or praying.

 Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I have so many it’s hard to narrow down to actual favorites. I love to read! Let’s see in no particular order: Sandra Bricker, Susan Meissner, Stephen Lawhead, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Goodkind, Susanna Kearsley, Vince Flynn, C.S. Lewis, John White, Dorothy Sayers, Jane Austen, E.M. Forrester, Patrick Taylor, DiAnn Mills, James Herriot, Sandra Byrd, Lilian Jackson Braun, Elizabeth Moon. I’ll stop there, but I could go on for quite a while. As you can see, I’m not a genre snob – I’ll read just about anyone once (with the caveat that what they write isn’t grossly in conflict with a Christian world view. I read secular books, as you can see from the mix of authors, but don’t go back to authors who cross the line of PG-13.)

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I’ve been writing forever and always making vague statements that included “someday” or “one of these days” or “wouldn’t it be great if…” But I never really had the courage to take that extra step toward publication. I always let my sister read my books (she’s usually been the only one who got to. Maybe my mom.) and when she finished Wisdom to Know she made it pretty clear that she was going to hound me until I did the right thing by this novel and got it published. There was a lot of hand wringing after that, I’ll be honest. But I finally put together what felt like a million and one queries and started hunting agents and editors. Then came the inevitable waiting and rejection until finally finding that right fit. It was a roller coaster and there were a number of times where I seriously considered just stepping off, but I couldn’t shake the sense that God had a plan for this book, so I made myself hold on.

Tell us about your current book, Wisdom to Know?

Wisdom to Know tells the story of Lydia Brown. She’s someone I consider a pretty typical “good” young woman who, despite growing up in church, has never really made her faith her own. So she goes through the motions and knows all the right answers, but other than Sundays, you don’t see faith impacting her life all that much…until the consequences of her actions start catching up with her. When that happens, Lydia isn’t sure how to handle the crisis and she spirals into a deep pit without really caring what relationships she destroys in the process. After she finally crashes at the bottom, she realizes how much she needs God if there’s any hope of rebuilding those relationships.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I grew up active in pro-life ministry. My mother ran a Crisis Pregnancy Center for twenty years and over that time, I spent a lot of time helping out, both as a volunteer and on staff. One of the things we did a great deal of at our Center was after-abortion healing. The women and men who choose abortion tend to be forgotten (at best) in the pro-life arena and in churches, and so many of them are desperately hurting. Those who are believers (and the abortion rates aren’t significantly different for folks in the church when compared to those outside) often feel that they don’t deserve forgiveness – that they’ve done the one thing bigger than God’s grace.

What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?

That God’s grace is bigger than any sin. We can do a lot to mess up our lives – even as Christians! But God is and will always be bigger than that – and He’ll always welcome us back when we seek His forgiveness. As a caveat to that, though, we have to realize that sometimes in our sin we mess up our human relationships. Mending them takes time and a lot of prayer and willingness for both parties to humble themselves and seek Him.

What’s next for you?

Book 2 in the Grant Us Grace series, Courage to Change, will be out April 4, 2013. It tells the story of Allison Vasak (we meet her in Wisdom to Know) – and we’ll continue to see Kevin and Lydia, as well as a number of other characters, from Wisdom to Know.

Please tell us where we can connect with you online.


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