14 November 2011

Interview with Maggie Brendan

Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Maggie Brendan is the author of Deeply Devoted of The Blue Willow Brides series. Maggie’s first series was Heart of the West, which included No Place for a Lady, The Jewel of His Heart and A Love of Her Own.

I recently met Maggie at the ACFW conference and had the privilege of talking with her while traveling back.

Maggie, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

My heroine in Deeply Devoted has a tragic past, but I’d be giving away the best part of the book here so instead I’ll tell share my own difficult times. My brother was my writing mentor, with seven westerns under his belt. He died suddenly and without warning from the Hantavirus contracted most likely at Glacier National Park where he was Deputy Superintendent. I felt like my world was caving in because he was not only my friend, but the father figure for most of my life which had been thrust upon him while he was still in high school. A year before his death, almost to the day, another brother died suddenly from cancer. Four years earlier, my sister died of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—a rare type. I didn’t think it could get much worse, but my mother died three years after my sister. Then during the deadline of Deeply Devoted, my oldest brother died of congestive heart failure. I couldn’t have walked through any of this without my faith in God and the knowledge that I know for a fact, I will see them again. Praise God! He gave me strength to face each day and surrounded me with His love by supplying me with the love of a few close friends and of course, my family. The more deposits you get in Heaven, the more appealing it becomes. I look forward to it someday. Other very sad things happened during my deadline, but that will have to be shared in the future. Let’s just say God is continually working in my life, stripping away all the layers of self to get to my heart.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Oh goodness! I have several but I usually sign this scripture on my book: Psalm 27:1a (NASB) The Lord is my light and my salvation: Whom shall I fear?

Disability friendliness:
My previous books are in large print and available on Kindle and if your guests reading this didn’t know, Kindle can read to you. J Deeply Devoted will soon be in large print later on. That usually happens after it has been in print for a few months.

Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? 

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
I like my readers to know that man may plan his life but God directs his steps. I’d say that our entire life and future is dependent on our faith in God and if we allow His direction, instead of trying to handle things on our own we can have abundant life. In Deeply Devoted, I used what is broken, cracked and even lost can be ransomed and redeemed by God’s eternal love. I relate this to the Blue Willow china in that just as china must be fired to become a durable piece in order to have a delicate pattern, we, too, are also tested by fire to refine our character that can result in becoming purified as God’s works in us to be in a more resilient follower of Christ. He who is deeply devoted to us is the ultimate author of love and romance…The Living God.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
The one thing that always comes to my mind while researching is the resilience of the people who settled the great West. Today, we wimp out when a thunderstorm takes out our electricity for a few hours or days instead of using that time for reflection or reading and just enjoying the quiet. That’s when we can hear God’s voice…in the quiet stillness. Our world seems so full of constant “noise”. We all need a respite from this crazy techno world we are experiencing at this stage in history. I doubt most of us  would’ve lasted one week if we’d had to endure what the settlers of the West dealt with day in and day out.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
As mentioned, restoration, through God's grace, is a theme in this book.

Comments from Carrie:
Maggie’s answers really gave me pause.  She has certainly had her share of grieving. Having lost my own mother a little over a year ago (and she loved the Blue Willow pattern!).I feel like I am just coming out of that shock of having no parents. But as Maggie says, one day we will see our loved ones again, in heaven. And what about those people who don’t have that reassurance?  We need to reach out to them today.

Do you know someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one? Are you?  What can you do or what has been done for you to ease pain?

GIVEAWAY:  We will be giving away a Kindle version and a paperback version of one of Maggie’s books, any of your choice.  Leave your email address with your comment to enter.  


  1. My 25 year old son died in 2006 after a lengthy illnes. It has been the most devastating event in my life. I searched the scriptures for comfort after he went to be with Jesus, and God did not leave me comfortless...He sent His Spirit to walk through that long valley of grief with me and put a joy in my heart that could only have come from Him...and Maggie is right...the more deposits you have in Heaven, the more you want to go there, too! margie at mijares dot net

  2. My biggest loss would have to be my Grandpa on my mom's side. He was so loving and comforting. He would buy me special dresses. Bought me a watch engraved for graduation. He died within two weeks of my graduation. I was devastated. I did not know the Lord at the time. I have such fond memories of him. I think that;s what helped me through. My MIL would be my next loss.

    I cannot imagine your loss of so many in your family so unexpectedly. So glad you had the Lord to pull you through it all.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  3. Dealing with loss is such a hard thing and we all do it in our own ways: some healthy and some not so healthy. For me the easiest way to ease the pain is to find ways to move forward and know that God has a plan...though it is not at all easy.

    My biggest loss was losing my dad when I was in 7th grade(1997) and then my mom in 9th grade(2000), while I am way past teh greiving stage there are still days that are tough but I know God has a plan for it and I would not be where I am today without the tragedy.

    jen.whitney08 at gmail dot com

  4. Maggie, welcome to OTT, and thank you for sharing your heart with us. I am deeply sorry for all the loss in your life; it's amazing how God sustains us and gives us supernatural strength to endure these things, and also the knowledge that we will someday see our loved ones once again.

    I have shared this several times before, but soon after my mom passed away, Maggie gave us a sneak peek of her new cover of Deeply Devoted. Instead of feeling sad, I was strangely comforted by it; my mom was Dutch, my grandparents lived in Holland, and my mom collected Blue Willow. So this book will always remain near and dear to my heart for that reason, and also because it is a wonderful book, written by an equally wonderful lady.

  5. Marjie, I'm sorry you lost your son. Losing a child has to be the hardest to bear. Fortunately, I haven't had to face that. Diana, thanks for your kind words and support. It gives me such joy to know that my book touched your heart just at the time you needed it most! It's funny all the signs that the Lord gives us to let us know we are not alone...

  6. Oh Maggie, I am so sorry! My Daughter had Hogkins lymphoma, and PTL she survived. My Sister's found a Son she had given up for adoption 36 years prior. They got together, and he was like he was always a part of the family. He ended up dying 2 years later of Non-Hogkin's lymphoma.
    I do have a friend that did just bury her 49 year old daughter today.
    Praise you for helping with your gift of words.
    You make me think of Job.


  7. Maureen, I'm glad your daughter didn't have the non-Hodkins. I'm sorry for your sister's loss and your friend losing her daughter as well. I often wonder how my mother made it after my sister died. She was about 85 herself. She was never quite the same after that. Thankfuly, my brothers died after my mother. Just think in Heaven all our tears will be wiped away by the Jesus :)

  8. Maggie, I've heard you speak of the heartbreaks you've experienced with your family before, but it sitll shocks me anew seeing it written once again in this beautiful interview. Nobody could go what you have and stay whole without God, that's for sure!

    Carrie, don't enter me for Deeply Devoted -- I had the pleasure of reading and owning my own copy, which is Maggie's finest work yet.


  9. Hey, Julie! Thanks for popping by. You honor me with your ebdorsement of DD. I worked very hard on it and it was just the Strength of my life that got me through-PS:27-1. I wonder what hope non-believer's have to hang onto when their heart is breaking without the hope of Heaven?

  10. Exactly, Julie and Maggie, which is why we have so many unfortunate people taking drastic measures because the deceiver convinces them that there is no way they will overcome the tragedies and losses. But there is One! Three in One!

  11. Margie, I cannot imagine losing my 22-year-old daughter like that. Losing a child is supposed to be the worst and I believe it. But God was faithful.
    Linda, thank you for sharing. My husband's loss of his grandfather was his first death (and I think is a common pattern for many.) Doesn't make it any easier.

  12. Jen, I am so sorry for your losses. In this day and age we rarely hear of a young person having lost both of their parents like that. My mom had cancer when I was 12 and survived (was gone from us to a hospital most of one year) and my father suffered a severe stroke when I was 16, changing him. But I still had both of them. I bet Maggie's writing would resonate with you!

  13. I lost my father 3 months after my daughter was born due to cancer. It was tough, we had a rough relationship and I had always hoped we could reconcile before he passed away. When I went to see him before he died, I did not have the courage to share the gospel with him or forgive him. My brother on the other hand did share the gospel and he was saved. I am thankful for that always. It took me years to get over being angry at him and God for taking away my father before I ever had a chance to have a good relationship with him. Lots of prayer brought me through that time, that and also I wrote a letter to my dad that helped me get out all my feelings and hurts and that brought some closure. Time does heal the pain but never gets rid of the sadness.

    kcmelone at yahoo dot com

  14. I bet you love your bro all the more for what he did for your dad and for you, too, Courtney. Give him lots of hugs!!!

  15. I will definitely have to read her books! They will go on my wish list for sure. I love reading books that show depth of the characters and are not afraid to deal with hard topics.

  16. Since I only have one of her books, I would love to have any of them!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  17. oops....forgot to send email....

  18. Courtney, I lost my father to brain cancer when my daughter was almost 2 yrs. old. I really loved him but he was an alcoholic and rarely home. So I lost out on that relationship but was able to witness to him & in his weak condition we knelt on the floor and prayed and he accepted Christ. I was just a young woman then. I understand your anger more than you know and I'm sorry you had to endure that. Remember-Forever, God is faithful-Forever, God is with us.

  19. Maggie, you are truly an ispiration. Thank you for sharing ~ it gives perspective to our trials in this life and encourages our faith in what we know to be true. I'm so glad we had the chance to meet at ACFW conference! Thank you, Carrie for having Maggie stop by!

  20. My Grandfather, Mother, fifteen month old grandson and my Dad passed between 2000 and 2005. Each death was hard especially the grandson. But you have to believe God has a purpose for all of us. We grieve that they are no longer with us then we celebrate the life they lived and the gifts they left behind.

    Blessings to All,

    plb1050 at gmail dot com

  21. I agree, Rebecca, that Maggie is truly an example of God's helping us to deal with losses in life. I am so glad I got to meet her at conference, too!

    Patricia, it sure seems like there are some times in life when we have more losses than others. Often there are these clusters and it feels like an attack from the enemy. But God is good. You are so right to celebrate their lives!

  22. Hi Jen,
    I have found solace through writing - sometimes in retelling family stories and other times through fictional characters. It's such a blessing to have that outlet. Thank you for your post.


  23. I lost my Husband 3 years ago of a massive heart attack without a chance to say goodbye and every day in my prayers I ask God to tell him goodbye for me until I see him again and my Brother is waiting for me as I also lost Him and my nephew in a car accident and again no goodbyes.Your books are such a comfort and an enjoyment.Irene idebauche2009@hotmail.com

  24. Irene-my heart aches for you. Loses are hard to bear, and it takes time to heal but after a while the pain becomes less. I try to remember the sweetness that everyone brought into my life and count myself lucky. My sister-in-law didn't get to tell my brother goodbye either. He was put on a ventilor so when the doctor came out to tell her, there wasn't a chance to speak to him and he died several hours later. But of course, he knew she loved him, but it was so sad for her. I can't help but wonder what was going through his mind at that time.

  25. My only brother died in 2001 with brain cancer. He was 43. We found out he had cancer the day the Twin Towers were hit and died 6 wks later. The thing that has helped me through the grief is knowing where he is and that I will see him again. You see, he had accepted Jesus as his Savior before he got ill and due to circumstances beyond my control I wasn't allowed to witness to him. I prayed that the Lord would sent someone to witness to him before the end. Just days before he died he awoke to tell us he was going home (and when), that Jesus had come to him in his sleep and told him that he needed to accept Him into his heart and he did. Praise God. Now I know that I will indeed see him again.

  26. I forgot my email.

  27. Beemama, Yours is yet another example of how God can get us through the truly unimaginable. I love how Jesus showed himself to him. He had to do that with me to draw me back to him, too. I remember sharing my testimony with a lay leader at a Catholic service (charismatic) and apparently even the charismatic person wasn't too sure if I was delusional. Once I shared that I was a psychologist he looked awfully relieved. Thanks so much for sharing with us and I am so sorry for your loss.

  28. WoW, Beemama. What a testimonial. Isn't is sweet how the Lord shows up right on time? Not a minute to late or too early. I'm so sorry for your loss and I, like you, cling to the wonderful reunion we will have with all our loved ones. It may be sooner than you think. God bless you on this journey called Life.

  29. Wow! I was speechless after reading about so many losses in such a short period of time. My heart hurts just thinking about it. I've lost a baby, and my mom passed away from non-hodgkins lymphoma, in my arms, 10 yrs ago. That was by far the most difficult thing I have ever had happen. But God is good. He was and IS my Comforter! Thank you for sharing so intimately with us, Maggie!

    I LOVE the title of this series! The Blue Willow Brides :)Delicate is the word that comes to mind. I can't wait to be able to read this book.

  30. Anne, I am sorry for your loss but so glad you got to be with you mom. I was able to speak to my mom before she died and she came out of her coma and was alert which was such a blessing. She was dying and not able to communicate but she opened her eyes and was aware and looking at us. So grateful I go there in time. It was just a year ago and still doesn't seem real. Oh, I cannot imagine how hard that is to lose a baby. It was hard when I worked with infants in the NICU at Richmond Memorial Hospital in SC and we would lose a precious baby esp. those we had in there a long time, who I was consulting with the nurses and families about. We'd get so attached ourselves. Awful quiet on the unit for a while after those losses.

  31. I would love a chance to read this book. We lost my father several years ago and my mom is still really struggling with it. Please include me in your giveaway.

  32. Thanks for leaving a comment, Debbie! We will enter you. About to do the first drawing!

  33. Beemama, You were selected by random.org as our first winner from the interview. I will email you shortly. Congrats!

  34. Congrats, beemama! Now the rest of you need to comment on my review for a chance to win the second drawing this weekend! Go to newer post down below...


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