I have found the most delightful little book. It is the PERFECT Mother’s Day gift. I wish you could hold it in your hands, flip through it, and read some of the chapters. Then you’d see what I’m talking about. But since you can’t hold my copy at this very moment, the next best thing is to get to know the author (yes, she gave me a delightful interview) … and then run immediately to a bookstore and get a copy for you, for your mother, your aunt, any woman in your life. In fact, my thirteen-year-old daughter couldn’t keep her hands off this book once we got it inside our home. It really is that good.
What is the book? It’s the freshly released, Confessions of a Completely (In)Sane Mother, by Kersten Campbell. I remember the day it arrived at the post office. I opened the package and began to flip through the book. I intended then to set it aside in my car to continue my further errands around town. But …. I couldn’t put the book down. That astonished me, because rarely do books seize me that way. You’ll see once you get your own copy; it’s a book that rarely rests because so many hands are fighting to snag it! (And yes, this is a good thing in today’s world where so few read books anymore.)
I’m excited for you to meet the author of the book.
C.S: Kersten, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
KERSTEN: I am a mother of five beautiful children ages 3-13 who loves to read, write, garden, paint, and play with children. My husband and I live in Washington and I joined the LDS church about twenty years ago when I was in college. Since then my life has been the most amazing, wonderful miracle. I love the gospel and what it does for people and the beautiful change that takes place. It is truly miraculous whether you’ve been in the church all of your life, or joined at a later age.
C.S.: I have in my hand your new book, Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother. I adore your book. Every time it comes up for discussion, I tell others they simply must get this book. When did the first kernel or idea come to you for this?
KERSTEN: It was actually an accident. I love reading and received my degree in English Literature, and after I had my fifth child I decided it would be fun to try and write a book. So I sat down and started to write a teen romance novel. Well, I laugh about this now, but it was TERRIBLE…and every time I tried to fix it, it kept getting worse. I thought to myself, “Boy, writing books is harder than it looks.”
But then one day I got this crazy idea that I would try to write humor stories about my family to help LDS women feel better about the ups and downs of family life so they wouldn’t get so discouraged. I decided to post them on a blog, and the few people who read them (Hi, Mom) kept telling me that they were laughing so hard they cried. So then I wondered if I might be able to get them published. And it turned out that Cedar Fort wanted to publish them in a book.
C.S.: What was the process like for you writing this?
KERSTEN: It is interesting. From the beginning I have felt the hand of the Lord in the writing of this book. I am pretty sure the idea came from Him, because it surprised me. And I know the talent for writing humor must be coming from Him because I never knew I had this talent before. It’s like the Lord chose the least of his servants, and made me be able to do this in spite of my many obstacles.
The other miracle is that I only have a short time during my youngest son’s nap in which to write. As any writer knows, that is not enough time to write anything cohesive, yet time and time again, the ideas flow through me as soon as I sit down and start to type. And I know that many of them are not mine. I believe that miracles happen when we put our family and the gospel first, and then the Lord makes it possible to fulfill our dreams, perhaps not in the way we first imagined, but in His way. And His way is always more amazing than anything we could ever dream up for ourselves.
C.S.: When did you discover that just maybe you’d like to be an author?
KERSTEN: I never realized that I wanted to write until after college. Then after I had my first two children I began sending articles to the church magazines and other magazines and I was surprised that they kept getting published. So that’s when I really realized, “Hey, this is fun, and I love it!”
Sending articles in to magazines is a great way to start learning about the process of writing. And there is no time commitment. If you want to do just one article a year, that’s what you can do.
When I finished the humor book I sent it to a publisher who said they weren’t interested in that type of humor at that time. I was really discouraged and was about to file it away for good, when something stopped me and told me to try just one more time. I’m so glad I did, because the next publisher liked it!
C.S.: What would you tell other writers who would like to see their book(s) on store shelves?
KERSTEN: I would say two things. First: Never give up. I believe that writing can be learned. It just takes practice, and then more practice. I still believe that someday I’ll be able to fix that terrible romance book I started.
And secondly: Don’t sacrifice the things that are most important. I believe that all your dreams will come true as you put the gospel and your family first. This is the way that allows you to secure the blessings you will need to be successful as a writer. And it is the only way to true happiness.
C.S.: In your journey to become a published author, what have been some of your most valiant lessons learned?
KERSTEN: My most valiant lesson is that God is a God of miracles. And when we put Him first in our lives and take care of the things that are of eternal importance, then everything else will fall into place. We will see great miracles happen in our lives, including being able to obtain the talents and the time and the personal revelation that we need to make our dreams come true.
C.S.: Do you have any other hobbies that relax you?
KERSTEN: The most relaxing thing I do is gardening. I love the peace and the serenity of taking care of such beauty. It’s another way fulfill my need to create. Creating beauty is such a noble quality of womanhood. I think every woman longs to do it. Gardening, writing and family life fulfill that need for me.
C.S.: What projects do you have that you’re wanting to work on next?
KERSTEN: I would like to work on more humor stories since it is such a joy to me to see this book making women so happy. I am also working on a spiritual book about where mothers can find great power to fulfill their sacred calling.
C.S.: What do you hope readers gain from your work with this?
KERSTEN: I hope they will get a sense that it’s okay to make mistakes and that everyone struggles with the same issues. Mistakes and mishaps were part of the eternal plan. They were supposed to happen so that we could learn and grow. That is why a Savior was provided for us. I hope that the book will empower LDS mothers, helping them to break out of the cycle of discouragement and embrace the opportunity to grow into the magnificent women of God they are all destined to become.
C.S.: Any final thoughts for others, especially if they’re feeling discouraged in accomplishing their own dreams?
KERSTEN: Yes. I believe that the Lord loves every one of us as as a Father tenderly loves His child. He knows of our hopes and dreams and wants to bless us. I know from experience that as we sacrifice to accomplish His work, He is then able to bless us in His own time with more than we can possibly imagine for ourselves. If we stay close to Him through prayer, devotion to our family and the gospel, and regular temple worship…we will be amazed at what the Lord has in store for us. It is through His power that all of our dreams will come true.
Thank you, Kersten. Here is a link to her publisher’s website where you can purchase the book. It is also available at Amazon, at Seagull books online and in their stores.
My readers who know me well know that I never recommend a book I do not like. So with that in mind — Mother’s Day is May 10; Confessions of a Completely (In)Sane Mother truly is the perfect gift.