Last year’s devotional, Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry, became a fast favorite among women. The book of light-hearted, often heartwarming devotions kick-started a conversation about the common goal of finding time within crazy schedules to nurture the spirit. The publishers, Summerside Press, recognized lightning in a bottle when they captured it, and they asked author Sandra D. Bricker to do it again, this time with a new team of writers. Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days, with the theme of faith in God as the first line of defense against the greatest challenges of life, will hit bookstores on March 1st.
“The combination of authors I chose,” says Bricker, best-selling author of laugh-out-loud fiction for the inspirational market, “was a no-brainer. Debby Mayne is the writer you always want to work with. She’s a pro, and I thought she fit well with the theme of the new book. Kristin Billerbeck is funny and bright, and she brings a bit of pop culture to the table. Trish Perry has a remarkable reputation, and I was really eager to loop her into a project like this one. I’ve always loved Diann Hunt’s writing, and she had a unique connection to this line of books that couldn’t be denied.”
Hunt had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer when the framework of the book was in progress. Because of Bricker’s history with the disease (she’s a six-year survivor), a commitment had already been made by the authors of the first devotional to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Since Bricker wanted to continue the relationship with OCRF, Hunt was a natural addition, and she penned her segment of the devotional while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
“My Nana had a miraculous healing from ovarian cancer in the early nineties,” says Billerbeck. “Now that I know two more survivors [Bricker and Hunt], it’s something close to my heart.”
Perry’s experience with ovarian cancer didn’t end so well when her aunt lost her fight with the disease within just a few months of diagnosis. “It was horribly frightening,” she says, “because she had no symptoms before it was too late.”
Despite the very serious intentions on behalf of OCRF, the authors calibrated very early on toward the goal of keeping a hopeful and fun overall tone. The collaboration was considered a success by everyone, from authors to publisher. “I enjoy working with other writers,” says Mayne, “who have the same goals and passion for what they do.” Hunt calls the experience “a blessing,” while Perry compares the writing process to “a long-distance slumber party.”
“I knew Kristin and Debby fairly well beforehand,” Bricker explains. “But all five of us had the opportunity to spend a couple of days together when we attended a writers’ conference in Denver last year. You’d have thought we’d known one another our whole lives! Five minutes together, and we were laughing and joking like old friends. I can truthfully say that I consider each of the other four authors among my very best friends. It was kind of magical the way we all fit together, like different parts of one complete body.”
All four of her co-authors label Bricker with adjectives like “compassionate” and “hysterical,” while Debby Mayne emerges as the “joyful” and “hopeful” member of the group. Kristin Billerbeck’s role, as categorized by her friends, appears to involve bringing “spunk” and “fun” to the table; Trish Perry is considered “encouraging, and someone you can always count on.” Diann Hunt? “Positive” and “down-to-earth.” It sounds like a wonderful combination.
“This group of five authors,” Bricker declares, “was the perfect storm. All the conditions were right when we came together, and wham! We’ve formed a very exclusive mutual fan club, with just five members! And I think readers will sense how special the experience was when they have the chance to read the devotions.”