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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Write More; Fret Less

Michelle Griep here introducing y’all to debut novelist EMILY WIERENGA. Grab a mug o’ joe, prop up your feet, and sit back for a fun interview. . .

A PROMISE IN PIECES is your debut novel. What sparked the story?

My Grandma Dow was very close to a brother who was killed in combat during World War II. Also, my grandfather served in the Second World War; I’ve always had a fascination with the time period, and being a pastor’s daughter who’s not only battled disillusionment with the church but miscarriage, the story about how God redeems broken hearts and sets the lonely in families just wove together.

What would you do differently if you were starting your publishing career today?

I would write more and fret less; I would enjoy the process more, as it’s a journey and even those tiny assignments are developing your style as a writer.

Share a bit of your journey to publication.

I received my B.A. in English at King’s University College in Edmonton, AB, and then was hired as an associate editor for a non-profit newspaper for three years. After that I resigned to become a freelance journalist and columnist, and during that time was commissioned to write a book for an organization. I discovered that I liked writing books, and became a ghostwriter. I then wrote a couple of self-help books, one with a doctor, the other solo, before venturing into fiction and memoir. This summer my first memoir is releasing with Baker Books, entitled Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I thought to Look.

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

I write with my sons on my lap. I will attach a photo. I write in our office at home, or in a comfortable chair in the living room, but with two young boys ages 2 and 4, I don’t get much alone time. My best writing times happen during the kids’ nap, or in the evenings.

What issue makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Insecurity makes it hard to market myself. I also find it hard to know how much to self-promote as I am a believer, and have been taught that the last shall be first. It is a fine balance, walking this wire between humility and a calling. I handle it on my knees.

What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? 
  1. Write
  2. Write
  3. Write.
 What 3 things would recommend not doing? 
  1. Don’t try to be someone you are not—don’t try to copy someone else’s writing style. Write as you feel comfortable and let your own style be birthed in the process.
  2. Don’t be discouraged by other people’s success; everyone has their season. Persevere.
  3. Don’t edit your first draft before it’s done—just get it out there, and then go back and be critical later.
A blurb about A PROMISE IN PIECES:

Following World War II, Clara Kirkpatrick returns from the Women’s Army Corp to deliver a dying soldier’s last wishes: convey his love to his young widow, Mattie, with apologies for the missed life they had planned to share.

Struggling with her own post-war trauma, Clara does not feel prepared to handle the grief of this broken family. Yet upon meeting Mattie, and receiving a baby quilt that will never hold the soldier’s baby, Clara vows to honor the sacrifices that family made.

Now a labor and delivery nurse in her rural hometown, Clara wraps each new babe in the gifted quilt and later stitches the child’s name into the cloth. As each new child is welcomed by the quilt, Clara begins to wonder whatever happened to Mattie—and if her own life would ever experience the love of a newborn. Little does she know that she will have the opportunity to re-gift the special quilt—years later and carrying even greater significance than when it was first bestowed.

Emily Wierenga is wife to a math-teacher husband; mother and foster mother to four boys; an artist, columnist and the author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy and A Promise in Pieces (Spring 2014). For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.


  1. I loved A Promise in Pieces. It's a stellar debut novel and earned a place on my Top Ten for 2014 list. I'm so proud of you, Emily!

  2. I love the synopsis of this story! Certainly tugs at the heart strings.I'll have to put it on my TBR list. Thank you for the writing advice and best wishes for a fascinating journey as a writer! I look forward to more from you.

  3. I'm so honored to be here, friends. And Ane, you've been incredible... thank you for all of your support. So much love, e.

  4. Nice to meet you, Emily! All the best to you--and wonderful advice we all need to be reminded of--WRITING comes first. Easy to get lost in the platform-building, marketing world for sure. Congrats on your book!

  5. What a wonderful interview, and I love the premise of your story, Emily. Sounds like a terrific read.

  6. So happy to see you here Em. You are a delightful blessing. I just handed your book off to my 90 year old Mom. My Dad served in WWII, she's a quilter, and I know she's going to love the story.


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