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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Author Interview: Megan Boudreaux and Susy Flory

Susy Flory and Megan Boudreaux under the Tamarind tree.

Anne: I have a double honor today. Last week I reviewed Miracle on Voodoo Mountain  on this blog (click HERE to read the review), written by Megan Boudreaux, founder of Respire Haiti. I get to interview her here. And then there's Susy Flory, a writer who has more irons in the fire than your typical nineteenth century laundry. You'll know which responses are Megan's (hers are in a warm brown) and Susy's (hers are in red to match her blouse in this picture).

Now, Megan, usually my first question is what inspired the book--but after reading your marvelous story of how you happened to go to Haiti, that would be the duh question of the century. So, instead, how did you and Susy come together to write this? 

Megan: Thanks so much for sending these questions. Writing this book was an experience that grew me tremendously. I’m so thankful for Susy who was my amazing writing coach and helped guide me through the process of my first book!

Debbie Wickwire (who works with Thomas Nelson Publishing) had read my blogs and had some friends who had heard me speak about Respire Haiti. We began communicating and she asked me if I had ever considered writing a book. After a few months of prayer, I decided this was something that God wanted me to do. Since I had only written blogs and needed help with the structure of the book, Debbie connected Susy and I. Susy was incredible and even came to Haiti to see the real story herself.

Anne: I understand the urge by God to "go." Got a similar call, but it wasn't that drastic a change for me. Tell me, how many people asked if you were out of your mind to take off for Haiti, not knowing what you were going to be getting into--and did you wonder the same thing?

Megan: God’s call can come in all forms. Sometimes it’s not even to “go”, it’s to “stay” exactly where you are and love people there. For me, I had said that often, that your mission field is where you live and loving people is what God calls us all to do. I believe, because of that mindset, God had been preparing me for years to do His work in Gressier. When I visited Haiti, the urge in my spirit to move there was overwhelming. My friends and family were encouraging but hesitant. However a few months after I moved to Haiti and they began to see what God was doing in Gressier, they really began to believe in what God was building in Haiti.

Anne: Can you explain a little to the readers how about the partnership works between the author and the writer who is helping the author tell the story?

Susy: Every project is different, so there really is no one-size-fits-all answer for this. For Megan’s book, she had an amazing story to tell, she already been sharing stories on her blog, and she had a strong sense of the book she wanted to write and the message she wanted to share. I just came along behind and helped! Communication is important, so there were lots of phone calls, texts, and emails. We used Dropbox to keep our chapters straight, and a live spreadsheet on Google Drive to track word count and stick to our outline. One fun thing I got to do was help recover some important photos on a hard drive from Megan’s defunct laptop computer. I had a contact in San Francisco who does this kind of work, and he spent several days working on the hard drive. He wasn’t sure if he would be successful, but he made it happen and recovered over a thousand photos, some of which are included in the book!

Anne: Was there someone in your past who made a similar jump into the unknown at God's call?

Megan: No one specifically comes to mind. But I believe so many people make a jump into the unknown. When tragedy strikes, or when important decisions have to be made, these are all unknowns that change the path of our lives.

Anne: If you had it to do over again, is there anything would you do differently?

Megan: This is a tough question! Sometimes I think there are tons of things I would love to change, but then I am reminded that this has unfolded exactly how God has planned it to. My plan is not better than God’s and because of that I am grateful to be walking on the path He has laid before me. Even through the errors I have made, He has grown me and taught me in all of it.

Anne: Normally, I ask an author in an interview, "What's next on your writing plate?"but with you, Megan, what's in your plan for the future?

Megan: My heart is to continue pouring into the community of Gressier, Haiti. We are constantly discovering new ways to serve them here.

It’s an honor and a privilege to share the story that God has given myself and the people of Gressier. The best part of it, is that this is really just the beginning. Even since the book was finished, so much more progress has been made. God is still moving on Bellevue Mountain and changing the spiritual direction of my new home.

Susy: I just finished a book with Jep and Jessica Robertson of Duck Dynasty called The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God--it's a very engaging love story! And I have several new projects in development, including a memoir with an astronaut who has packed several lifetimes full of adventure into his forty-something years. I'm also directing the upcoming West Coast Christian Writers conference. You can check it out here and I'd love to see you there!

Anne: I'm in awe of both of you, and in awe of all God is doing through you. Susy, I can't believe how many books God has put you in partnership on. You are astounding and inspirational. And Megan--to go to Haiti on the strength of a persistent dream about a tamarind tree, and there to find...well, dear reader, you've got to read the book to find out what she found out. It will .
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