During my mother’s last days, I sat at her bedside, and each day I read to her from prayer books in the hope she would find a comfort I couldn’t provide. I don’t pretend to understand the power of prayer, but I can attest to its presence and the peace it gave my mother, a former cancer survivor who ultimately surrendered to a stroke.
When I learned Marion Stroud not only writes books containing prayers and Bible passages reflecting the joy and pain of being a woman, but also authored “Face to Face with Cancer: Comfort and Practical Advice for Sufferers and Carers,” a book prompted by the death of her father to pancreatic cancer, I knew I had to interview this special lady, especially when she’d gone to the trouble of contacting me.
Bedford, England’s Marion Stroud started out as a physiotherapist. The birth of her children sent her on a path writing children’s books. Realizing a need for books written about finding faith after marriage, she authored “I Love God and My Husband.” “Loving God but Still Loving You” followed.
Marion’s ‘Gift Series,’ prayer books surrounding friends, marriage, mothers, grandmothers, children, and maturing with grace, struck a chord with readers around the world, resulting in sales nearing a million copies and translations in fourteen languages. “It’s Just You and Me Lord,” a book offering prayers to women no matter where they are in life, was a Sam’s Club selection. With those kinds of statistics it’s hard to dispute Marion’s ability to connect with her audience.
Her two dozen releases include “Dear God, It's Me and It's Urgent: Prayers for Every Season of a Woman's Life.” I want to note here that “Dear God It’s Me and It’s Urgent” is an Easy Print book. That means the lettering is large enough even folks with eyesight like mine won’t have any trouble reading this marvelous book of prayers and inspiration.
Whether readers are in need of support, a shot of faith, or just want to enjoy prayers and passages designed for women everywhere, I heartily recommend picking up a book or three by Marion Stroud.
Q) I’m curious; why didn’t you return to physiotherapy?
A) I loved the opportunity to work with people, and help them to re-establish their physical fitness that being a physiotherapist gave me, but two problems faced me when our first baby was born.
The first was that I had injured my back while helping a patient to walk during my pregnancy. Keeping an elderly lady on her feet when she slipped wasn’t good for my spine!
The second problem was that in those days there was no ‘part-time’ work available; you either worked full time or not at all. I had always wanted to write, so if what I wrote could help people towards spiritual health, that seemed a great opportunity.
Q) “Face to Face with Cancer” had to be difficult to write. Obviously the book has helped many family members, friends and strangers. But, what did writing the book do for you personally? What comfort or release did you find in the book?
A) It was certainly the hardest book I’ve ever had to write. When my father was ill, I had five children at home and two of them were facing important examinations. I wanted to support them, as well as helping my mother to nurse my dad, and as a result I just blanked out my own emotions and got on with what I had to do. So when I wrote Face to Face with Cancer I was working through my own grief.
Then 17 years later my publisher asked me to update it, just as my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I cried all the way through the revisions, but the words of hope and comfort I offered to my readers helped me too.
Q) You have been working on a fiction novel with the working title “Rumor of Angels” for some time now. How is that project progressing?
A) Slowly! You know what they say about a ‘bird in the hand being worth two in a bush’, and when I get offered commissions, it’s easier to do what I know. But I have promised myself that before I write any more non-fiction, I will at least complete ‘Rumours’ and we’ll see where we go from there.
Q) You’re still finding your way around social media sites such as Facebook, building a U.S. fan base. How do American fans differ from U.K. readers?
A) The UK is definitely a post-Christian society. In a recent poll, around 78-83% of Britons professed a belief in God. However only a portion of these are practising Christians, who attend worship regularly, and we have a much smaller Christian publishing industry than you do in the US. Inspirational fiction for instance barely exists. However people still have a spiritual concern, and if you can meet them at the crisis points of life, and provide guidance in a time of need, they’re like any other fans and will look out for your next book.
Q) Finding a foothold in any writing market is tough, and getting tougher. Your prayer books truly connect with readers. What do you believe your books offer that other prayer books don’t?
A) One word – reality! I get as confused about how prayer works as the next person and often feel I don’t know enough or pray enough. But one thing I do know is that I can talk to God about anything, and be wholly honest about my doubts and my fears. He listens, he loves me and there is no area of life that is beyond his care.
Q) Any parting comments for fans and readers new to your work?
A) I am passionate about the power of the written word to comfort, inspire and inform people and consider myself very blessed to have been able to be a writer. I love the words of the author of the classic ‘Imitation of Christ’, Thomas a Kempis when he wrote: "If he shall not lose his reward, who gives a cup of cold water to his thirsty neighbour, what will not be the reward of those who, by putting good books into the hands of those neighbours, open to them the fountains of eternal life?”
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net