Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview with Marja Meijers

Join me as I welcome Marja Meijers. author of Grace of Giving. Marja is a faithful blogging friend; I am so pleased to share this interview with you. Marja's also offered a copy of Grace of Giving for a giveaway. Details follow below; this giveaway is open to all our blogging friends, stateside or otherwise. :)

Karen: Welcome Marja! It’s great to have you here. Congrats on your newest book, Grace of Giving, part of the Ten Commandment Series. What prompted you to begin this series?

Marja: Well, I have to be honest, it wasn’t my idea to begin with, not at all! It was about the last thing I had on my mind when during my prayer time the Holy Spirit prompted me to write my first book, Sacred Sabbath, on Isaiah 58:13. I wasn’t too excited at first, I was willing to write on fun stuff but not so much on law and grace. But God changed my heart and attitude and I actually started to enjoy  studying this subject. Halfway through that first book it became clear that it was going to be the first one in a series about the Ten Commandments with emphasis on fulfilling the law in love.

Karen: Who is your target audience?

Marja: I am happy with whoever reads my books; I have received comments from new and old Christians alike, but also from atheists, scholars, pastors and teenagers. You’ll never know where your books will end up.

Basically I am looking for Christians who have a desire to learn more about God’s Word, but shy away from theological books or complicated Bible studies. I have noticed that most Christians (women in particular) would rather read romance than non-fiction study books, so I try to write my books as low key and inviting as possible. They are, however, thought-provoking and I hope they will inspire and motivate readers to dig deeper and study God’s Word.

Karen: Tell us a little about how you connected with your publisher. Did you have an agent?

Marja: When I finished my first manuscript I considered my options: self publishing, agency, or publisher. I passed on self publishing for starters and found both an agency and a publisher seeking new authors. I submitted my manuscript and received a contract from the agency and the publisher! So, I had a choice and I decided to go with Tate Publishing in Oklahoma.


Karen: I like what you said in Grace of Giving on page 109,

“There is no seven steps plan to become a cheerful giver; it requires a change from the inside out, a change in our whole being.”

How do you feel this change from “the inside out” happens in our lives?

Marja: In various ways. I believe it is God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, who changes our heart. The reading and understanding of the Word changes our attitude and the practice of what we've learned changes our life!

Karen: You divide your time between California and Holland. When you are in the states, what do you miss about Holland? And vice versa?

Marja: When I am in California I miss the social life in Holland. In Holland, friends, family and neighbors visit each other all the time for coffee, tea and conversation; it is part of everyday life. I find society here on the West Coast very lonely. When I am in Holland I miss the beautiful weather in California and the incredible landscapes of the South West…and brownies of course.

Karen: I love tossing out random questions, so here are a few:

Do you prefer coffee or tea? Tea

Writing in longhand or on the computer? Laptop

Favorite writing snack? None

Dream vacation? With a stack of good books on the beach.

What author, living or deceased, would you like to meet? Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life). That book really made an impact on my life and it has sold very well for a Christian book. Rick has withdrawn and is busy with other projects. I wonder how he looks back on the success.

Karen: What advice do you have for someone who wants to write a book but doesn’t know where to start?

Marja: Hmm, that’s probably different for everyone, depending whether you desire to write fiction or non-fiction. Looking at my own situation, I had no clue what I was going to write. All I had was a scripture and a very clear word from the Lord: “This is your book.” I made a folder in my computer which I simply called ‘my book’ and I added 10 sub folders which I simply called ‘chapter one, two, three, etc.’ Then I started praying and waiting for revelation.

Still, it might help to answer two questions before starting: What do I want write and why do I want to write it? Answering these questions will guide you in a certain direction. Then make sure your desk is empty because clutter distracts. Next, start a rough draft. Write whatever comes to mind first and work from there. The hardest thing about writing is the beginning…Sometimes all I need is an opening phrase for my columns for example, once I have one, it flows from there. Be alert, listen, read and learn from others.

Karen: How can readers find out more about your books and blog?

Marja: My blog can be found hereIt consists of news and updates on my books as well as meditations and short articles. My profile can be viewed at Goodreads by following this link.

Karen: Thanks so much for joining us. It’s been a great pleasure!

Marja: Thank you Karen, I truly appreciate your hospitality, I feel welcome and at home and always enjoy your writing.

Karen: You are most welcome, and thank you. :)

Giveaway Details

To enter to win a copy of Marja's book, Grace of Giving, note these important details:

• Leave a comment with your email address. Entries without email address are ineligible.

• Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.

• Receive a bonus entry by posting about this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please be sure and comment telling me so.

• This is open to United States and International readers.

• Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Friday March 18, 2011. Winner will be announced Saturday, March 19, notified via email, and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

What are your answers to Marja's writing advice questions? Above, she asks, "What do I want write and why do I want to write it?"


Happy writing,
Karen

50 comments :

  1. You've done it again Karen! You have polished a gem. Great interview.

    Take care my friend. xxx

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  2. Hello Karen and Marja: Great post! Enjoyed reading it.

    Let's see, thanks for writing the Grace of Giving, Marja. As you already know, the essence of happiness is giving it away! My email address is writingstraightfromtheheart@gmail.com Hope you enter me in the drawing.

    As for what I want to write, well, I just love to write on events in my own life, people I meet, restaurants I go to, collections, interior decorating, commentaries, personal profiles, etc. In other words, writing from my heart!

    As for the "why" of writing, it's just that it brings me peace, love, and joy to share my writing with others.

    Take care. Susan

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  3. Nice to meet you Marja. Your title really caught my eye and the explained concept has me most intrigued. Of course, I am a firm believer in the 10 commandments.

    Karen, wonderful job my friend. You do have a talent for interviews :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  4. Raymonde,
    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. You should enter the giveaway; it's open to those across the pond too! :)

    Susan,
    Got you on the list! Your joy for writing is reflected in your blog, that's for sure! :)

    Jules,
    You are so sweet, thanks! It is an interesting book with a good message.

    Blessings all,
    Karen :)

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  5. Hi Raymonde (what a beautiful, poetic name), thanks for visiting and you're so right, Karen knows how to polish a gem!

    Susan, thanks for commenting and adding value to this interview and blogpost! I'll hop over and visit your blog!

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  6. Nice post.
    Beautiful picture.

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  7. Yes, you do have a talent for interviews, Karen. And I like the reminder that God can take our gifts and do anything He wants with them. He's so very personal, and each of our journeys will look different. I love that about him.

    I follow (you bet) and I email (rschrockmt@yahoo.com).

    P.S. - I find Marja's observations on the difference in West Coast life and Holland hospitality so interesting. And if she needs suggestions for a writing snack, well - there's my email address. :)

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  8. Hi Karen and Marja,
    Great interview--questions and answers.

    I love your admission that the idea for your book came from the Holy Spirit.

    In answer to the question: What do I want to write and why do I want to write it?

    I want to write a book that will change people's lives for the better because I believe I have something worthy to say.

    Oh, and Karen, I've been a follower for quite awhile and appreciate it when you visit my blog and leave comments. My e-mail address is dvolkenannt (at) charter. net

    Donna v.

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  9. Hi Jules, I am glad you find the title an eye catcher :)

    Thanks for your visit Rhonda! I agree with you, Karen has a gift for doing great interviews, I enjoyed her questions, they really made me think about my writing journey! Haha, thanks for offering me a writing snack, but I'll pass, it's hard enough to keep my weight where I want it :)

    Irishoma, what a sweet smile! Thanks for participating. We have an equal desire: to write something that is life changing!

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  10. Nice to meet you Marja! Those questions are very important to every writer. I write fiction, so I want to help my readers escape into a different world for a little while.
    :)

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  11. Marja your book sounds fascinating and YOU are a fascinating person!! I would be honored to win a copy. =)

    Whiteplatonicdreams @ yahoo(.)com

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  12. Thanks for visiting Lydia... I have never really touched fiction writing (although some say my book BREATH OF LIFE falls in that category), so I admire anyone who can take me into a different world for a while!

    Tana, I just LOVE your weblog and thanks for entering the give-away. Your kind words makes me blush :) The blogging world is fascinating, don't you think? Karen's blog is one of the many I enjoy visiting!

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  13. Lovely interview with a lovely author! So inspiring to know an author whose focus is squarely on the Lord! Enjoyed the random question Q & A section too. God bless you both, Karen and Marja!

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  14. Fascinating interview. Thanks, ladies!

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  15. HG,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Rhonda,
    Got you down on the list! You're making me blush with your comments, sweet friend! :)

    Donna,
    Got you down too! Always good to see you, and thanks for the kind words! It's a pleasure to stop by your blog. :)

    Lydia,
    Appreciate your thoughts! I agree, no matter what genre, we need to challenge where we are going and why are do what we do.

    Tana,
    I think you just might enjoy this one! Added your name to the list!

    Maria,
    You've had the wonderful opportunity to have Marja visit too. She's a great guest and writer.

    Joylene,
    Thank you! You are very welcome. Glad you could stop by.

    Blessings everyone,
    Karen

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  16. This is the second post I've read on Marja and loved it again!

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  17. What a wonderful interview! I don't do many interviews because I can't think of many good questions to ask but you have such a wonderful style.

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  18. Oh I just love how in "Holland, friends, family and neighbors visit each other all the time for coffee, tea and conversation; it is part of everyday life." Makes me want to find a family to adopt me there!

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  19. Great interview Karen. I love the response about Holland too. And hearing how the Holy Spirit directed her writing.
    lp(dot)lynnjdesigns(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. PS. I tweeted and FB'd too.

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  21. I love the title 'Grace of Giving'. I can only imagine the words inside the book. Would love to win a copy!
    shanda.oakley@gmail.com

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  22. Hey Maria, great you see your sweet face here too!

    Joylene, I love your name!

    Terri, I am glad you enjoyed this interview too, Karen is a great host!

    Clarissa, you are so right, Karen has a gift for asking just the right mix of questions!

    Hey Margot, we'll adopt you :) Your last name is Dutch, so that's a good start!

    Good to see you here Lynn, you're a social media wizzard :)

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  23. Very good interview. I've never heard of Marja before, or her books, but they sound very interesting. Sacred Sabbbath is based on a verse I have always found very interesting (the whole chapter, actually).

    What do I want to write? Stuff to help build families and lives. Why? Touches people where they live, and builds stronger families, I hope. That has been much of my focus with the Proverbs book (Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks).

    Good interview,
    Warren
    bald (at) pld (dot) com

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  24. Hey Shanda, thanks for your kind words about the title!

    Thanks for your visit Warren, Sacred Sabbath is the first book in the series, and basically a study on Isaiah 58:13-14.
    ...Building stronger families... I like that and God knows how much we need it!

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  25. Great interview, Karen. The books sounds wonderful. Congrats and good luck to Marja.

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  26. Thank you, Karen, for introducing me to a new author! Enjoyed reading about Marja and her book.

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  27. Terri,
    Glad you enjoyed it! Nice to get to know Marja better! :)

    Clarissa,
    Thank you! I just ask things that I am curious about, and that I think others might want to know. :)

    Margo,
    Yes, I imagine the culture shock could take you off guard. And then shifting gears from one place to another could be challenging too!

    Lynn,
    Thanks so much. Appreciate you passing the info along too! Got you on the list!

    Shanda,
    Nice to meet you! Appreciate you stopping by and following. Added your name to the list! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  28. Warren,
    Thank you. Glad to introduce you to Marja! As for your writing - your blog reflects that in a big way. Thanks for entering!

    Rachna,
    Always good to see you. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

    Jennifer,
    Happy to do it. Marja is a sweet lady!

    Blessings all,
    Karen

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  29. I loved this interview! Thank you Karen and Marja!

    I love the idea of creating a My Book file and see how the Lord will direct!

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  30. Rachna, Jennifer and Cheryl, I so much appreciate your comments and kind words and thanks for visiting Karen's blog!

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  31. Excellent interview, ladies. I so admire you for obeying the Lord, Marja.

    Please enter me in the drawing--I love to give, and would like to love it even more!

    I am a follower.

    jeanettelevellie@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Jen

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  32. Thanks, Karen and Marja! Great interview, great questions, great time!

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  33. Cheryl,
    I'm pleased that you enjoyed it! I like that idea too. :)

    Jeanette,
    Thanks so much. :) You do like to give, and I think you would like this book! Added your name to the list!

    Jennifer,
    You are welcome! Glad you enjoyed your visit! :)

    Marja,
    I think everyone likes you...:) So glad you could come by this week!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  34. I love Marja!! I met her this summer and she is truly an amazing person. I am really blessed to have met her.

    I loved that one of things that she misses about being in the states when she is in Holland are brownies. When my team and I went to Holland for our missions trip (which is where we met Marja and her husband), a group of us brought brownies... Boy, were they a hit :)

    My email: senoritahall@gmail.com

    http://ladyonaroof.blogspot.com/

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  35. Great interview! The book sounds very good and was published quickly. Your random questions are so fun!

    sanctifiedtogether(at)gmail(dot)com

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  36. Hi Jeanette, thanks for joining us. I hope you'll win the book... but I have no say in it... bummer :)

    Jennifer, it is GREAT to have you here, I appreciate your comments!

    Hey Carolyne, you're a doll! How cool that we keep on meeting at various blogs!!

    Alisa, I enjoyed the random questions too! I think I'll throw some in the next time I interview someone!. Thanks for stopping by.

    Karen, I am just amazed at the response to your post! You are an awesome host and I am really thankful for your invitation!

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  37. Hi Karen & Marja -

    Thanks for a great interview! Marja, do you have any other books out besides this one? I'd like to read them as well.

    I'm almost finished with Grace of Giving. (What can I tell you? I'm reading four books at the same time!)

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  38. Hi Susan, glad to see you here. Three other books in the series preceded this one. When visiting my blog, scroll down and check the sidebar for my other books. The one before this is BREATH OF LIFE, which is based on the commandment "thou shal not kill" and is written from the perspective of the baby in the womb...
    I appreciate your interest, thank you Susan.

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  39. Senorita,
    It's nice to meet you, appreciate you stopping by! Marja is one sweet lady. :)

    Alisa,
    Thank you so much. Always appreciate your thoughts. Got you on the list!

    Susan,
    You are welcome! Thanks so much. :) Hope you enjoy Marja's other books too.

    Marja,
    I am thankful for a great blogging gang. They're very supportive!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  40. I thought this was an outstanding interview with much insight and helpful tips that I might try myself. I too find that living on the West Coast, though I'm surrounded by humanity, I feel more alienated that I did when I lived in Tennessee.

    Thank you Karen and Marja.

    I'm a follower and my email is jacksonlee51 (at) aol (dot) com.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  41. Lee,
    Thank you! Appreciate your thoughts! Got you on the list.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  42. Thank you Lee for your kind words, Karen has an excellent way of asking questions which prompted me to dig deeper into my writing journey!
    I find it interesting that you are sensing similar feelings about life on the West Coast... so it is not just because I am from another culture.

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  43. Great interview Karen and Marja. And what a beautiful book. You have done one thing today, Marja. Made me wonder. Made me ask myself some thought provoking questions. I truly enjoyed it.

    Of course I'm a follower. robyn(at)robyncampbell(dot)com

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  44. Well, you made my day Robyn! You asked yourself some thought provoking questions, that is certainly one of the things I hope to accomplish through my writings! Thanks for stopping by!

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  45. Robyn,
    It is a beautiful book! Written by a beautiful lady. So glad you could come by!
    Blessings and hugs,
    Karen

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  46. I received this book from the author and loved reading it! I would absolutely love to be the winner of a copy for a friend. I am posting on this blog, twitter and I just became a follower. That is three entries, you know! :)

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  47. Thanks, Toni! Nice to meet you! I noted your entries. :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  48. Hey Toni, good to see you here at Karen's blog! Thanks for leaving your comments, good luck!

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  49. I came across this interview today and still what a blessing! Love Marja and her writing as well as her tips for writers.

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  50. Dawn,
    Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. Loved this interview with Marja! She's a treasure!
    Blessings,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!