Debut authors are special people in my book, and Joyce Magnin is no exception. The title of her novel, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, is enough to make you wonder just who Agnes is, and why her prayers merit a book title!
I'd like to invite you to enjoy the view from Joyce Magnin's window as she shares her thoughts with us about her novel and gives us a peek into what her future in writing holds. Welcome Joyce to my window!
Why a 600+ pound woman as the main character? The inspiration for this was?
I'm not exactly certain where Agnes came from. She just kind of arrived. But as it turned out she was the perfect reflection for what I wanted to do with the story. Anyone else would not have worked.
Is her physical prison a reflection of her spiritual prison? Was it intended that way?
Yes and yes. But don't forget that even though Griselda was not obese she was just as heavy as Agnes, emotionally.
Griselda lives in her own emotional/spiritual prison, also of her own making. How often do we take on the guilt/shame of a loved one and alter our own life's path because of it? How do we prevent this from happening?
Unfortunately, Griselda was so enmeshed in her sister's issues she couldn’t see a way out. That's the first part, to see that we have allowed someone else's emotional jungle to entrap us. That's hard. Secondly I believe we need to understand that God intended us to be our authentic selves and that love does not equal enabling another person.
The people of Bright's Pond are quick to place their faith in Agnes' prayers. Why didn't they develop their own faithful prayers? Why did they give her prayers more "power" than their own?
It's easier. Agnes prayed and things happened. They wanted a piece of that. And maybe, the faith of the folks in BP was a little on the rocky side. Agnes was in a sense their meal ticket to heaven. Sad. And when the bad stuff happened, they had a scapegoat. Um, that's one of the ugliest aspects of human nature for me to witness, blaming others for our sin, even when we know we are forgiven. Yikes.
Why is it so hard for believers to realize that we all come before God in our prayers, no matter how feeble they may be?
I believe shame is a strong emotion. How sad that so many of us don't feel worthy to sit at Jesus's feet and listen, simply listen to Him.
Was the weakness of the Sparrow sisters' faith a challenge for readers to realize the power of their own personal relationship with Christ?
Maybe, but the odd thing about writing a novel, at least for me, is that it's a story first and I don't really go at it with a particular agenda in mind. But then, as I write and as I begin to see the pieces meld even I discover truths I didn’t know were there. So, yes, I believe prayer is powerful and God is listening even if it seems like he's having lunch with all your friends and didn’t invite you. You are stronger than you know. Just tap into it.
What comes next from the pen of Joyce Magnin?
A new novel, Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise will release next fall from Abingdon. Another quirky read with twists and turns. The fun part is that some of the folks you met in Bright's Pond will show up in Paradise.
What exciting things is God doing in your life? Any words of encouragement you'd like to share with your readers?
Oh, boy. I am humbled and in awe of what God is doing in my career and in the career of so many of the new Abingdon authors. It's like a little firestorm going on. I suppose the encouragement is to say Feed the Ocean. Even if you feel like a small drip in a tiny stream, remember that all that water will eventually make it to the ocean. Keep on doing what you do, it's important.