Friday, January 14, 2011

with Jessica Zondervan

A guest spotlight by Elaine Cooper.

Tell us about yourself, Jessica.
I was born and raised in Des Moines, IA, where I have lived most of my life. I say most of my life because I lived in Chicago for a brief period of time after graduating college. After moving back from Chicago, I married my incredible husband Randy, and soon following that, we welcomed our two precious children, Braedin and Audrey. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with those I love. Reading a good book. Writing. Sitting on a hillside in admiration of God's evident beauty. Watching the sun rise and fall, and listening to the sound of rustling wind. I love witnessing the evidence of changing seasons, the feel of crisp snow, my hands warmed by a fireplace, and a good cup of coffee. Capturing memories that are fading and reliving the best of those times. I am also a freelance writer for, examining parenting issues and local events within the community.

What is your book about?
Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One, deals with death: its timing, its existence, and the magnitude of its impact. In my book, I share my grief-story and how I coped with losing both of my parents, my grandparents, my two dogs, my college professor, and a dear friend - all within a few years of each other. I walk the reader through the challenges I faced, regardless of how painful, ugly, and unglamorous those challenges were. The beauty that flourished from my many grief-experiences/challenges, allowed me to re-establish my faith in Jesus and the outcome was beautiful healing.

What prompted you to write it?
I wrote Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One out of a longing to share my grief-experiences with others who were and are experiencing the same. I wanted to equip readers with a faith-filled hope that would resurrect their passion for life after surviving the loss of their loved one(s). I’m not necessarily trying to answer a particular question or give a remedy for grief—I’m trying to make a connection. I want to comfort those who read my book as they themselves question their experience with death and their belief in (or need to find) God. I want them to know that they are not alone. There is hope and healing for them in Jesus. My book provides readers with an honest approach and a vulnerable perspective on what it means to walk through the grieving process with peace.

What kinds of obstacles did you face when writing it?
Writing Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One was an emotional experience; it required my willingness to relive certain memories over and over again. I had to write, even when I didn't want to…even when I knew the pain would come. Then when it did come, I continued to write. I had to make an effort to tell my story so that everyone with a story like mine could one day find hope and inspiration in the pages of this book.

What are your favorite books to read?
First and foremost, the Bible. Next to that, I would have to say that I enjoy reading books that are inspirational. They can be fiction or non-fiction, but they have to have a hope-filled message. I am in the process of finishing Randy Alcorn's book titled, Heaven. So far, it's been an amazing book and has taken me on an amazing journey.

Do you have more writing projects planned?
I have recently been inspired to write a children's book on grieving. The idea for this project was birthed when a young girl came to one of my book signings and wanted a copy of my book. Her mother told me that this little girl had just lost her dad, and that she thought my book could help her. That same day, I realized that my book is not necessarily tailored to younger kids; from that moment on, I have been inspired to write a book just for grieving children.

What would be the ideal, dream day for you?
Family. Friends. Food. Football.

You can purchase Breathing On Purpose from Amazon.

Jessica is giving away a copy of Breathing On Purpose. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

A guest spotlight by Elaine Cooper.


Joanne Sher said...

This sounds like such a wonderful book. Please enter me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Read Randy Alcorn's heaven as well.

Meredith said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! There was a few years in my life that involved many deaths of close family, as well as divorce and other issues.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

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