Every once in a while I have the fun of getting tagged in one of these blogger memes. I love them. It’s an online ponzi scheme wherein one author tags five other writers who each completes a self-interview and names five more bloggers/authors. This meme is called The Next Big Thing, where I get to share a little more about my next big thing. It’s perfect because I was just going to write about my next book and let y’all know when it’s coming out and what it’s about.

For this interview, I was tagged by Rebecca A. Saxton, writing teacher and blogger at Binding Wor(l)ds Together. Keep your eye on her because you’ll want to read her book when it comes out!

Here are my answers to the interview questions:

What is the working title and genre of your book?

My first book, Second Wind, was such an incredible delight to live and to write. Once the hubbub of marketing died down a little, I had the chance to think about what I might like to write next (I mean, besides this cool running blog, which I LOVE doing). I’d been discussing a project with a friend of mine for a couple of years that picked up on one of the sub-themes in Second Wind: Religion and faith. After a great deal of work this past year, I’m pleased to say that our new anthology, Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religion, will be coming out in April of 2013!!!
This is obviously not a book about running, it’s an anthology with 25 authors writing about their own spiritual journeys getting into and out of religious communities that, in some way, apply restrictions the secular world wouldn’t choose to adhere to.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

Spirituality has always been an interest of mine. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to try and understand the numinous, the Mystery just beyond my reach. My co-editor, Susan Tive, and I met in a memoir writing class and discovered that although we came from different religious traditions, we understood one another’s struggles to distance ourselves from the harshest aspects of religion while still trying to remain grounded. We decided that we’d invite other women to join in on the conversation and it became a book.

Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie version of the book?

Well, I’ve always fancied the idea of Kate Winslett playing me in the film version of Second Wind. I wouldn’t mind if she’d like to play me in the screen version of any book I write, I suppose. We’d need a “binder full” of powerful actress to play the characters in Beyond Belief. I’ll have to think about this one.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Women write about their experiences getting into, staying inside of, and leaving restrictive religious communities.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency or publisher?

Seal Press will be publishing Beyond Belief. They are the same publisher whom I worked with on Second Wind. I love them.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

This book took a year. We had to find our writers and then work with them in the editing process. It was exciting to meet so many interesting women!

What other works compare to your book?

Drinking Diaries: Women Serve their Stories Straight Up (editors Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Odze Eptsein) and Love InshAlla: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women (editors Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu) are both collections of women’s writings that let us see inside private spaces often not talked about.

What or who inspired you to write this book?

I’m genuinely inspired by my therapy and coaching clients, to tell you the truth. Over the past 12 years I’ve had the privilege of sitting with individuals as they sort through the complex questions of life and try to move forward out of difficult situations into meaningful and productive existence. Faith/spirituality/religion is one area of deep, deep grappling for many people, and I’m inspired by how brave many of my clients have been as they ask hard questions and make tough decisions–especially when they decide they must walk away from something their community still values.

What else about your book might pique interest?

Susan and I were privileged to work with some pretty awesome authors who contributed fresh pieces to the anthology, including but not limited to:

Julia Sheeres (bestselling author of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown)

Lucia Greenhouse (fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science)

Donna Johnson (Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir)

Mary Johnson (Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service, and an Authentic Life)

Carolyn Briggs (Higher Ground: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost)

* * *

Tagged Authors:

Wendy Welch: The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

Jennifer Wilke: THEN now

Pam Helberg

Jolene Hanson: Jolene’s Life in Focus

Kari Neumeyer: Rhymes with Safari

The Fit School by Carol Frazey

Janet Oakley: The History Weaver