Interview with Lynn Walker

queen2.jpgBack during the Fall Reading Challenge, I saw on a couple of people’s reading lists the book Queen of the Castle: 52 Weeks of Encouragement for the Uninspired, Domestically Challenged or Just Plain Tired Homemaker by Lynn Bowen Walker. That sounded right up my alley! Though I enjoy being a homemaker and have wanted to be one all my life, like every job, there are days when I feel uninspired, challenged, and tired. There are plenty of great tips and ideas even for super-homemakers. I let my family know it was one of the things I would like for Christmas, and I received it and started it in January. I am loving it!

A few weeks ago Lynn e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to be part of her 30 Blogs in 30 Days blog tour. Did I ever! She also sent me a copy of her book to use however I wanted to. I decided to give it to a commenter on today’s post, so, if you are interested, leave a comment on this post and I will draw a name Thursday morning.

I’ve enjoyed communicating with Lynn and asking these questions:

1. You mentioned in the first chapter that you read many books about homemaking but none seemed to meet your needs, so you wrote your own. What was missing from the books you read?

I love reading about homemaking. And many of the books I read were great as far as they went. But most of them focused so narrowly on just one part of being a homemaker, and I needed help in all kinds of areas! I wanted to know not just how to be a great mom, but also how to manage my time when there were so many requests to volunteer, how to get dinner on the table when I wasn’t home in the afternoons to cook it, how to cope with the drudgery of doing the same old chores when I’d rather be trying a new cheesecake recipe 🙂

I also wanted not just information on what to do, like how to clean and organize, but encouragement to help me want to do it. When I understand from the book of Proverbs that God values the character quality of diligence, for example, that helps me to drag out the vacuum cleaner a little more often.

2. What do you think is the greatest need of homemakers today?

That’s a tough one. I think so many of us go to school and prepare for a career in the work place, whether it’s being a teacher, an accountant, a chemist – then we find ourselves home, raising a family, and we don’t really know what we’re doing! So I think training would be nice.

But also, and probably more important, would be encouragement. We are doing the toughest job in the world, one that demands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no vacation, no sick days, no tangible paycheck, not even the chance to go to the bathroom by ourselves sometimes (!), and our culture says we “don’t work.” That’s discouraging! It takes real effort to value what you do when no one around you seems to value it. I would really like to tell women who are keeping their homes, loving their husbands, and raising their children, good job! Keep it up! What you are doing is important. By building a strong family and providing a place where people can come to have their needs met, what you’re doing is really making a difference in the world.

3. What’s your least favorite homemaking task?

Probably mopping.

Most favorite?

That would be baking. Preferably something chocolate.

4. Can you tell me about the process of writing this book? When did you first consider it? How long did it take you to write once you started?

The book actually started more than ten years ago. When my youngest entered kindergarten, I joined a writers’ group, where we met monthly and exchanged manuscripts. At the top of each manuscript we were supposed to say what kind of work this was – “This is the beginning of the third chapter in my memoir,” for example – so everyone could get a context for what they were reading.

I noticed that month after month, I kept submitting things where I wrote at the top, “This is another article for a women’s magazine on the importance of the job of homemaker.” After a couple of years it finally dawned on me: being a homemaker was my passion! And it bothered me that we were so under-represented in books and magazines. I wondered if maybe God was directing me to do more than just write articles; maybe He wanted me to put my passion for homemaking into a book.

It was probably seven or eight years later before the book was done. I can’t remember exactly, but I know my boys were in elementary school when I started, and as I was finishing it up, our eldest headed off to college.

5. What is your writing schedule like? Just in bits and snatches as you can, or a regular system?

I had to write Queen of the Castle in short snatches of time, between driving the kids to where they needed to be and doing everything else that fills the committed homemaker’s day. I learned to jot down notes in my lap as I was driving (do not try this if you can possibly avoid it!). I wrote while in the bleachers at school waiting for the Washington D.C. informational meeting; I wrote in parking lots waiting for Little League practices to end; I wrote in the corner of the wrestling mat in the muggy gym, in the midst of sweaty boys. It was a rare treat when I had an hour to actually sit at the computer and write.

But that’s one of the things that has made me so thankful about this whole process. God so graciously allowed me to be a devoted homemaker and mom, and not miss a minute of my kids’ growing up years, yet still gave me the opportunity to write a book. How cool is that? What an amazing God we serve. I have no idea how He managed that!

6. How do you keep track of the quotes you use? I have little pieces of paper sticking up out of books to mark passages I want to go back to. 🙂

The little sticky notes in books is a wonderful method! I also photocopy quotes I like from library books. My favorite method is to copy quotes onto 3 x 5 cards, and to make sure I note where I got the quotes from in case I want to go back to the source later.

7. I like the weekly format. Often with these types of books, I read straight through and get all excited, but at the end of it I don’t retain much. This format helps me think on the chapter for the week all week. In fact, in light of this interview I tried to read ahead, but felt I was cramming in too much at once and decided I’d rather stay with the format as is. How did you decide on this format?

I’m glad you like it, Barbara! I like the weekly format, too, probably because I’m very distractible and very forgetful; focusing on just one thing at a time works for me  I also like knowing right where to go when I need ideas for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, or a refresher on how to make that Thanksgiving gravy!

The format kind of evolved over the years, I’m not quite sure how. I originally thought I might do a “365 days of homemaking” approach, but soon realized if I did that I’d end up with a thousand page book!

8. I like that you mentioned that every woman is a homemaker whether she is single, has children or not, etc. Sometimes ladies in these various situations feel left out or avoid what they think of as “mom blogs” or “mom books” or get-togethers when there is really good, helpful information there. How would you encourage us as women to come together as women rather than segregating into “moms” and “singles,” etc.?

Because I go to a really small church, we don’t have enough women to form a college group; we don’t have enough singles to form a singles group. We all just meet together as ladies, so I’m sure that’s impacted my thinking. We did a “homemaking” Bible study a number of years back which I co-lead, and one of the real joys of that for me was seeing women who hadn’t considered themselves homemakers before realize that even if they lived alone, they had a home, they used it to minister to others, they were indeed homemakers. Our homes are vehicles God has given us where we can minister to others, no matter our marital situation, or whether or not we have kids.

9. Do you have another book project in mind?

Nothing definite. I love homemaking and I love to cook, so any book project would probably have to include those two. If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

10. Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love to read essays and I love to read humor, so any authors who marry the two, I devour! Some of my favorites are E. B. White (who wrote Charlotte’s Web but also wrote lots of essays for The New Yorker), Bill Bryson, Calvin Trillin, Dave Barry. I also love to read essays about homemaking, so those writers would be Beverly Nye, Peg Bracken, Phyllis McGinley, Laurie Colwin, Erma Bombeck, and Gladys Taber.

11. Do you have a web site? If not, do you think you might in the future?

I don’t, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be ready to make that technological leap. I just got a cell phone and still can’t quite figure out how to retrieve messages. Of course I’m married to an electrical engineer, the daughter of an electrical engineer, and my two sons are both studying electrical engineering. God has a great sense of humor.

12. How has your family responded to your book project and publication?

Book? Did Mom write a book? 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks so much, Lynn, for visiting and allowing me to ask these questions. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. And thanks for the encouragement and inspiration. You can find Lynn’s book in many bookstores, at Amazon.com, and Christianbook.com. Or you can try to win a free copy here! Just leave a comment on this post. You don’t have to have a blog to enter. I will draw a name Thursday morning and post the winner then.

The contest is closed. Congratulations to Bet on winning the copy of this book. 

14 thoughts on “Interview with Lynn Walker

  1. I appreciate her philosophy about every woman being a homemaker! It’s a message that needs to be heard by both singles and marrieds. Both groups sometimes tend to segregate themselves–but when we do, it is to our own detriment.

  2. Encouragement is the biggest need I have, esp. now that I teach full-time, too. Of course, encouragement for others to help me would be great, too!
    Does she give any advice on that? 🙂

  3. The idea that homemaking vital for all women, not just married, is a very important point that needs to be emphasized in our churches. Also, I liked the multi-tasking example of how she wrote the book and managed to keep up a busy mommy/wife schedule as well. “Redeeming the time” is something every homemaker needs to strive for!

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