31 May 2014

Interview with Lorna Seilstad by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Author Lorna Seilstad

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
Like most people, I’ve had a few periods of my life that I’d call difficult. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home, so I’ve always sought God’s comfort and direction when those times have occurred.
Three weeks ago, my father went to his heavenly home. I’m sure he and my mom are having a wonderful reunion, but this time in my life has been especially difficult.
My mother died of colon cancer in 1996. I was 31, a young wife and mother, and the loss left a huge hole in my life. I remember very little of the six months following her death. I went through the actions, but it’s sort of a blur. A lot of prayers and a lot of tears. I’d cry in the bathtub, so if my five-year-old asked what was wrong, I could say I got soap in my eyes.
Although my father had been an insulin dependent diabetic for nearly 45 years, he died of chronic heart failure. He needed a new aortic valve, but wasn’t strong enough for open-heart surgery, and they don’t make a valve big enough for him to have TAVR (a new valve replacement procedure where they go in through your groin).
Since January, he’d been in the hospital four times, and my husband had been in once. Hospitals are not the most conducive places for writing, I can assure you, so with a book due June 1, I felt a lot of pressure.  I’ve clung to the verse, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on until it is completed.” (Phil. 1:6)

The doctor had given my dad two to six months, but he died only two weeks after hospice had been set up. Watching a loved one struggle to breathe is heart breaking, but I can’t even put into words how precious those moments were for me to say “I love you” one more time. It was also the last thing he said to me. I think the hardest part of both of their deaths was telling them it was time to go when everything inside of me wanted to scream Don’t leave me.
My grief is fresh right now. There’s a special ache knowing both of your parents are gone. I know from my mother’s death that eventually the painful moments will come at great intervals like when you drop a pebble into the water, and the rings get farther and farther apart.
As I press on toward my writing goal, I continue to cling to that verse.  My stories come from God, they’ve always been His, and He will carry them on to completion. When your heart is hurting and your mind spinning, that’s great news with a looming deadline.


While Love Stirs
Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
My e-books are audio capable. I wish I had them available in large print and in audio format, but I don’t yet. I get a lot of requests for large print, though, and I always suggest using a Kindle or Nook where you can make the print larger.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
I’d like to think so. Anyone with control issues would relate to Charlotte and Joel’s struggles. Their healing comes through faith and trust in God. Charlotte also lost her parents when she was only 17. This is key to the choices she makes today.
The hero, Joel, has mild OCD. I don’t know if reading about him would be therapeutic or not.  I modeled him after a friend who I’ve always admired for the way he laughs at himself. We used to go in his office and turn his ships around. He’d fix them within minutes of entering the room and just laugh.


Joel grew up with a father who had a debilitating injury which caused chronic pain. His father self-medicated. This all happened during a time period where people didn’t understand those kinds of injuries. Joel heard their hurtful comments and it affected him greatly.


Giveaway: Choice of any of Lorna's books, choice of format, to one commenter.


45 comments:

  1. Thamks for sharing Lorna, I am sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my Dad to pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed on May 6th and passed away on July 7th. I too was able to be with my Dad when he passed, as hard as it was I wouldnt have it any other way. I love the cover of your book While Love Stirs, it is beautiful. Thank you for a chance to win one of your books. ~ blessings to you and keep clinging to that bible verse ~

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I wouldn't have it any other way, either. Bless you.

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    2. Lisa, my mom's started very tiny in her bile duct and then she underwent horrific surgery and survived initially only to have the cancer spread and kill her within 19 days of returning home to Michigan from out of state where the surgery was done. Going quickly is better, IMHO, with less suffering.

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  2. My Father died just over a year ago now. It was his time, & as sad as it was, it was a blessing too. I am reminded of him all the time. He saw beauty all around him.

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    1. Mary, it sounds like you had a great dad, and I understand how it can be a blessing, too.

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  3. Hello Lorna. I know how hard it is to lose our parents. I didn't get to be with my dad to say goodbye or I love you. He and mother had gone to visit a one of my sisters in another state. an died while there. But had several days with mother before she left us. In fact I spent many hours in her bedroom the day before she passed during that night. I am so happy for that special time with just me and her. I too was born into a christian home, so had learned at a young age to talk to GOS in times of trouble. So much luckier than some tho for my mother's mom died when mother was only 5. How sad that would be for anyone. And being number 7 of my siblings, my mother's dad died when I was just 1 yr. old, so never knew those grandparents. I pray for your book to be a big success. I have loved this cover since first seeing it. So lovely. I would sure love to win this book. Thanks to you for that chance, and thanks to my great OWG girls for having you. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Mary, I'm sure you treasure the time you were able to spend with your precious mother. I'm sure it was hard to have your dad pass that way, but I think there's never a truly good way.to lose a loved one.

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  4. LORNA, thank you so much for sharing on OWG. That was so heartbreaking to read... I know how tough it must be for you having only lost your father just 3 weeks ago. But I'm so glad for you that you had that extra time with your dad to adjust a little to the situation, and to be able to say 'I love you'. When my father became gravely ill due to meningitis and we were all called up to the hospital to say goodbye... it was just too sudden. But there was much prayer storming heaven and we were blessed to see him come out of his coma and learn to talk and walk again. An absolute miracle. We don't have him with us anymore... But every day, week, and month after that first scare was a blessing and helped us all to prepare better. Especially for our mother. Praying it gets easier for you soon, Lorna.
    Btw, I'm SO excited for the first book in this series to arrive here in Australia from Carrie! 'While' Love Stirs just sounds wonderful also, and the cover - just gorgeous! Bless you!

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    1. Oh, Noela, you were indeed given the special gift of extra time! I'm sure you treasured it. I do hope you enjoy When Love Calls. I certainly had fun writing it!

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  5. Lorna, I am so sorry for your great loss. With your parents together now, I know they are looking down at you and are so proud. With God's help , we make it through difficult times. Please know that you are thought of. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Melanie. I often think about my parents being together now. It does bring me peace.

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  6. Lorna, I am sorry to hear about your dad. We just lost a close family friend a week ago and no matter how much you prepare it is never easy. Thank you for sharing. griperang at embarqmail dot com

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    1. Angela, you are so right about it never being easy. Loss never is. I spoke to someone yesterday who'd lost a pet--a treasured, lifelong companion. The cat had cancer and they'd tried to save her, but finally lost the battle. They were heartbroken.

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  7. LORNA, thank you so much for being with us this week on OWG, and for opening up about your grief. I know how difficult it had to have been to do so. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I lost my mom 4 yrs ago this month and at times it isn't any easier. And at other times I can laugh and reminisce about her funny, wonderful ways. Knowing our parents aren't suffering anymore is the greatest comfort of all.

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    1. I'd have to agree with you, Diana. With both the loss of my mom and my dad, I've had days of crushing grief and days of laughter, but God is good, and I know there will be more days of laughter and joy.

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    2. Those anniversary months are hard, Diana, and I'm coming up on one for my mom.

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  8. The cover of your book is just beautiful
    So sorry for your loss I would love to read it. I lost my grandma this past January and it's been hard. It was my dads mom but she is in a better place now. It was just hard not being able to hear here voice and seeing her pretty smile and telling her that I love her.
    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

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    1. Danie, I have to give Revell's art department credit for the great cover! They did let me pick out the hat.:) Your grandmother sounds very sweet.

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  9. Wonderful interview, thank you for sharing. I love Lorna's books and would be thrilled to win her new one, thank you for the chance.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Hi Wendy! It's so great to see you here. Thank you and good luck!

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  10. LORNA thank you so much for sharing with us while you are going through such a difficult time; I pray that GOD will use this as a way to ease some of your pain. It is very difficult to lose a parent but it's even more difficult to watch them suffer immensely beforehand. My father had heart problems most of his life along with several other debilitating problems and his last few years he was pretty much an invalid. It hurt so much to see him waste away it that it was a relief to know he was healed in Heaven. I still miss him and it's been 18 years since we lost him. Lorna think on the good things about your dad's life and how much joy him and your mom are having sitting at the feet of Jesus!! You and you family will be in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you again for sharing your precious story with us!

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    1. Teresa, I am trying to do exactly what you said--to focus on the good things about his life. There were over 200 people at the visitation and 250 at the funeral, and everyone had a story about him--young and old.

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing, Lorna, I can so relate! I, too, lost my mom when I was a young mother (I was 27 with 3 small children). My mom died of a heart attack and my father struggled with back and breathing problems his whole life. He was eventually put on oxygen, which helped him, but he lived a hard life (he was a Jack of all trades, trying to support a wife and 8 kids *5 of which weren't even his biological children*) Both parents are now gone and I still feel the sting of that loss.....I remember being upset with God when my mom passed, because I wasn't finished needing her yet. But, God saw me through it and I finally realized that He needed her more. When my dad passed, all I could feel was relief for him, because he was suffering so much. I pray that God will comfort you during this time. Hugs and God bless.

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    1. Debbie, my mom always told me her job was to work herself out of a job. I remember thinking that her job wasn't done. Then, I realized I was wrong. She'd given me everything I needed to be a mother--a good example and a heart for the Lord.

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    2. My mom gave me all that I needed as well...and her passing forced me and some of my siblings to rely on God more, rather than her, in tough times. :) I guess you can say that she was the glue that held our family together. We all had to make an effort to stay a family once she was gone. (I fear some only stayed close because of Dad) Some of us aren't nearly as close to each other now....but we still try to keep in touch.

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  12. Lorna, thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry for your recent loss of your father. I had a similar situation with my mother. Although it was a difficult time, I was glad to be able to spend her last days with her.
    I just finished reading When Love Calls yesterday and Making Waves today! I love your characters! Looking forward to reading While Love Stirs.

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    1. Thank you, tmainini! I have a lot of fun with my characters. They become very real to me. I think it's like playing with Barbies on paper.

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  13. Lorna, I can't imagine how hard this must be launching a new book when your father has just died. And pancreatic cancer is such a painful killer most of the time. Witnessing its devastation is terrible. Praying for you in your time of loss.

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    1. Thank you for your support, Carrie. It means a lot.

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  14. Lorna, your post is especially significant for me as this week they sent hospice out to be with my daddy. He's 85 and breathing seems to be the worst of his ills though COPD and congestive heart are issues, too. Cariie my mama went home in 1997, the year after yours, but at least I was 47, 31 is much too young to lose your mama. I'm so grateful to God for the full assurance we'll be reunited! Blessings to you both and HUGS!

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    1. Sending prayers your way, Caryl. May God surround you with his loving arms.

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    2. Praying for you and your family, Caryl! It is so hard to go through this. Hugs!

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  15. Lorna
    Im so sorry for your loss
    (((((BIG HUG)))))))
    God bless you
    Chris Granville

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  16. condolences on the loss of your father, and of your mother. my mother and I had writing and music in common. I know it all plays together into your writing, and your life at large. I look forward to reading your book, While Love Stirs (control and manipulation I am all to familiar wit.)
    ~ Robin
    robinsnest212.wordpress.com

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    1. My mother and I both loved language. She was a huge reader. She taught me to listen to the way language sounded. She took such joy in what she read, I think it made me want to create that joy in others.

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  17. Sorry for the loss of your father. I have loss a daddy,sister and mother. My mother's death has been the hardest for me not sure why. She has been gone 5 years. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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    1. Bless you, Angela. I think losing a mother is just extra hard. They hold our hearts so close to their own.

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  18. Lorna, Sorry for your loss and I know the words are so small and it is hard to convey the meaning to someone who hurts over losing a loved one. I know because I lost my sister suddenly in April and her husband found out he had cancer soon after and was dead in May, a month later. Our family too is grieving and our hearts reach out to you.
    I love to read and would love reading they type books that you write, thanks for sharing.

    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  19. HI Lorna, This comes at a good time for me. My mom was just promoted to glory on April 16th, 2014. I just finished an album today about her last 8 days, the memorial service, the dinner following, the guests who came, and many contributions from people of how she impacted their lives. She was 83, so lived a long time. And she had 8 months after the cancer was diagnosed. I'm so thankful for that since it gave me a lot of time to spend with her and prepare myself emotionally for her death. Blessings, Amy

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  20. Sweet Lorna, I lost my mother to cancer and dementia on February 12, 2014. I blogged about her "Journey to Sunset" up until her last day. We had hospice, praise God, and since she and my dad moved in with me two years ago we had a lot of quality time. I retired in May of last year to help dad care for her and those nine months were very precious. I still struggle with her loss but my faith has given me strength I never knew I had. I too had difficulty telling her it was okay to leave us, even though I knew she would be going into the arms of Jesus. The best advice I received about handling my loss was to allow myself as much time as needed to grieve and let the tears fly....Tear drops are I Love You's being sent to Heaven.... Bless You and I am sorry for your lossl

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  21. Lorna, I'n very sorry for your loss. I lost my father when he was 50, and I was in my early twenties. My mom died two years ago. I miss them but know they're in a wonderful place.You asked about the most difficult time in our lives. As hard as these two events were, the hardest thing for me was my divorce. As a Christian, I never thought it would happen to me. Divorce is rougher, because a loved one who dies doesn't usually choose to leave you, but there's so much more pain, rejection, and betrayal in divorce. But, as the Bible says, God brings good from the bad, and this situation made me pull even closer to God and depend on Him all the more. Isn't God awesome!

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  22. Thanks for sharing your recent loss with us Lorna. I lost my dad several years ago and as a 'Daddy's Girl' (the ONLY girl, between two brothers) it was difficult. The theme from everyone's mouth at his memorial was, 'he was always smiling'. What a wonderful legacy. One of my biggest 'concerns' after beginning a crazy travel life with my husband (for his job) was that I might lose someone close while gone and unable to get back 'in time', however, God was good and allowed me to get home in time to spend w ith him during his last few days. Now, I try to make sure I get at least 1 day to spend with my precious mom during each 'visit' at home (1 week, every 5 weeks...).

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  23. And your book sounds great - nI pray sales will be great and you will be blessed.
    Vicki

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  24. Well, I rarely cry when reading an interview but this one has me in tears. Lorna, I am so sorry for your losses. I know how difficult it is to watch a loved one struggle to breathe in those final moments. My oldest daughter passed away two years ago. It is not an easy thing to go through. My prayers for healing your heart. I am actually glad I came back and read this interview, despite the tears. It has spurred me on to put some more thoughts on paper. I wonder, do you journal through your grief? I hope you have a successful book launch, and that I will have an opportunity to read your new book.

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