Monday, January 27, 2014

Book & Author Spotlight With Marja Meijers


Marja Meijers joins us today to share about her writing journey and latest book, My Neighbor's House. This talented writer has five books to her credit with sales in the U.S. and overseas.  Please join me in welcoming her today. :)


Welcome Marja! Congratulations on My Neighbor's House. What do you hope that readers will take away from this book? 


First of all, thank you Karen, for inviting me here today. As most of us know all too well, there is a constant battle going on for our attention and devotion. The world tries to pull us away from God’s desire, God’s plan, for our lives. In this book I offer practical tools that will help the reader to pursue Godly goals instead of worldly goals. I hope readers will be inspired and encouraged in their walk with God while living on this earth.


It sounds like a helpful and inspiring book. I'm looking forward to reading it. Now that you have written five books, is there anything you wish you'd known when you started? 

It may sound strange or even funny now, but I am actually glad I was so innocent and inexperienced when I started writing. That childlike enthusiasm and zeal kept me going and still keeps me going, even now that I have learned how difficult it is to remain standing in the publishing world. I seriously think it is to a writer’s advantage not to know too much when starting on this journey, otherwise we would never do it!

I don't think that's strange at all. You make a good point, and I do nderstand. :) I love the cover of My Neighbor's House. How involved are you in the cover selection process of your books? 

For this series I have requested covers with colorful flowers, so the publisher lets me pick a cover from several examples. As far as the European translations of my books, I design the covers myself. This is a new area of artistic work I am taking my first steps in.

You made good choices. All of your covers are vivid and eye catching. I saw where your book Grace of Giving was published in Italian. Congratulations! You have books out in other languages as well, don't you? What is involved in having a book produced in another language? 

Yes, I have German translations as well and a Spanish one is being worked on as we speak. Normally you would need to find a foreign publisher first and then sign a contract. In my case, several translators offered to translate the books. That is when I started to look for publishers, which in some cases was successful (just recently I have had a meeting with a Portuguese publisher who is going to publish one of my books in 2015) and in some other cases I decided to self-publish the foreign books. The latter involves a lot of work such as editing, design, printing and distribution.

Self publishing is a lot of work, that's for sure. I admire your initiative. Congrats on the Portuguese contract too. That's exciting. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? 

Write as much as you can and ask for feedback. Learn to take criticism. Practice as many forms of writing as possible: poetry, fiction and non-fiction, short stories, drama, scripts, etc. Work on your skills and refuse to be discouraged.

That is wonderful advice. You are an inspiration! What's next on the horizon? Do you have more books planned? 

I have been working on a Dutch translation of Respectfully Yours which will be published later this year in Holland. I am in contact with several people about translations in other European languages. As far as the original series in the USA is concerned, I should be working on a sixth book, but I have been procrastinating. Yeah, I admit it. I find it hard to keep focus with so many different things going on. But I will definitely start working on the next one in this series.

If it makes you feel any better, I've been procrastinating lately too. Thank you for joining us today. May the Lord bless your work in the future!

Thank you, Karen. :) 

Here is the blurb for Marja's latest book:


What do we do with the old pages of Exodus 20 in this current age and time? How do we apply them in our daily life? It is one thing to say, Oh, I don’t envy my neighbor, his house, car, or wife. I don’t desire what someone else has. But come to think of it, what do you desire? What are the desires of your heart? Are you passionate for the right things? What does the Tenth Commandment offer to today’s society? How can you benefit from its wisdom?

The message of God's last commandment is both bold and obvious: don’t be envious of others. But that is not always the easiest thing to do, especially with an American media that bombards us with images of size zero celebrities, lavish mansions, and Louis Vuitton. In Marja Meijers’s fifth book in the Ten Commandments series, you’ll learn how to desire meaningful things and apply God's word to everyday life. Join Marja as she discovers the spiritual principles behind the Tenth Commandment.

Click here for info on My Neighbor's House.

Find Marja on:

Her website
Her blog
Goodreads 
Twitter

Do you have any questions for Marja? What are you reading this week?

Happy reading and writing, 
Karen


30 comments :

  1. Hi, Karen and Marja! I love your advice! And your books sounds wonderful. I love to read books how to apply God's Word to my life.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Jenifer. I actually enjoy applying the biblical principles as explained in my own books, haha! I enjoy writing from the lessons I have learend!

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  2. Interesting she'll be a hybrid author with the translations, both self and traditionally published. And we could all use help following God's plan.

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    1. Hi Alex, thank you for joining us. I am blessed indeed to be able to experience both self publicing and traditional publicing! There are many lessons to learn.

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  3. Jennifer,
    She does offer great advice, doesn't she? :) I've read a few of her other books and they are good, so I think this one will be as well.

    Alex,
    I hadn't thought about the hybrid thing, but it is impressive, isn't it? I am excited for Marja - she is reaching so many with God's truths.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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    1. Karen, I never thought about the hybrid thing eather, but I think I like it :)

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  4. This is very interesting, Karen. And hi, Marja! I liked what you said about not knowing too much. I can see what you mean. It reminds me of Peter,walking on the water and when the trouble came in.

    Congratulations on being published in different languages. That's wonderful!

    A Happy Monday to you both,

    Rhonda

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    1. Happy Monday Rhonda, I wish we would all speak and read English... but that is still wishful thinking! So I am very happy with the different translations!

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  5. Great advice from Marja, especially about coming into the business without full knowledge of how things really work. She's right---if the curtain was pulled back before we took our first steps we might not step out at all. Great interview.

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    1. I like the idea of the curtain Lisa... thanks for your comment!

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  6. Hi Karen and Marja! It's great to see you both today. Marja, you are such a hard worker, and I think it takes a lot of self advocacy and faith in your gifts to get as far as you have. What an inspiration to everyone who reads your journey here. I love the idea of being a wide-eyed writer in the beginning, and how important it is to take criticism and apply it.

    Best wishes in the future, and your new art interests too!
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Ceil, you are an encouragement!

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  7. Hi Karen and Marja -

    Congrats on the new book!

    Ignorance is certainly bliss in the publishing field. At the same time, I've seen some writers want to remain in that state and not face the realities. The most important thing is to follow the Lord's leading. If He called you, He'll equip you and bring it to pass.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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    1. Your wisdom knows no boundaries Susan, thank you. Facing reality and at the same time not losing faith in our work, that´s the key!

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  8. Fantastic spotlight. I wonder what I would have thought about the business if someone told me everything about it when I started.

    Congrats to Marja.

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    1. I think not many of us would start, knowing all the pitfalls and problems coming up. But... I personally have learned to enjoy the journey, no matter what comes my way.

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  9. Thanks for all the advice, Marja. So cool you get to design the covers for your foreign publications of your books.

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    1. I am still a babe when it comes to designing... but it stretches my creative talents ;) Thanks for stopping by Natalie

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  10. Karen: Thank you for spotlighting Marja and her latest book. I checked out her website. I follow her blog.

    Marja: Thank you for your work on these books. I look forward to hearing more about your work in God's Kingdom. either through your writing or through the ministries you work through.

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    1. Cecelia, thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments, you are such a faithful reader and blogger!

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  11. What an interesting interview. I agree with Marja that it is best not to know what is in store when beginning the writing and publishing journey. If I had known before I started what I would have to do, I might have thought it was too much. But now- I am happy to do the work because I want my book to be successful and I learn as I go about what I need to do. :) Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. This is so true, we learn as we go... and we must keep going. I wish you success in your writing journey Jess, just keep doing what you're good at!

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  12. Marja is the best and I love seeing her around the web. God is using her mightily for His kingdom. Hugs to you both!

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    1. Diane, so good to see your face here! You keep us bloggers together... really, that's how I see it! Thanks for your input and never ending enthusiasm. May the work of your hands be blessed!

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  13. Rhonda,
    Marja has so much to share! Love having her visit. So glad you could join us! :)

    Lisa,
    Yes, in some ways the "If I knew then what I knew now..." doesn't apply here, or at least fully. We might never start! :)

    Ceil,
    I agree, Marja has been diligent to what the Lord's called her to do. She is such a blessing and I am grateful to have her stop by! :)

    Susan,
    Yes, I see what you mean. Marja is a wonderful example of the right balance, I think! :)

    Medeia,
    I don't know what I would have done either. I had some ideas, and knew it was a lot of work but well, who knows! Glad we can learn from each other. :)

    Natalie,
    She has much to share, doesn't she? I too, think it is wonderful that Marja has a hand in the cover process. Makes it seem more personal. :)

    Cecelia,
    The book looks wonderful, doesn't it? I too follow Marja's blog. Always come away encouraged and enlightened. :)

    Jess,
    It is indeed an adventure, and we do learn a lot! Glad we have each other to share the journey. :)

    Diane,
    Yes, Marja is a wonder! I am inspired to keep moving forward. Hugs to you too! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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    1. Karen, wow, you're keeping up with all the chatting and comments. You're such a great host, thanks!

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  14. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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    1. Andrew, thanks for stopping by, I'll check out your blog!

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  15. Hi Karen and Marja - good luck with all those projects ... sounds like lots of opportunities there in the various countries. Cheers Hilary

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  16. Hilary,
    Good to see you, as always! Yes, it does sound like Marja has some great opportunities to share her book. I'm thrilled for her. )
    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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