It’s my honor to introduce you to Emily Paige Skeen. Emily is a sweetheart of a person, and she has just released a new book called Magnolia Lake. Over the last year, I’ve gotten to know Emily, and I’ve been impressed by her kind heart, her sunny personality, and her love for the Lord. I feel very privileged to be interviewing her today!
Danele: Hello, Emily! I’m so glad that you’re able to talk with us!
Emily: Thanks so much for having me, Danele! I’m excited to share a little bit about myself and my faith with your readers.
Danele: I’m so glad that you’re here! I’m eager to learn more about you! My illness taught me the importance of trusting God. Have you had a difficult situation in your life when you needed to totally rely on God?
Emily: Yes, I have. Back in 2014, my husband and I found out that we were expecting our second child. Until this point, I’d always worked full-time and I was currently employed as the Coordinator of Operations for a chiropractic group. I loved, loved, loved my job and my coworkers (seriously the best group of people to work with!)…but there had always been this longing deep in my soul to be home with our children. I’d missed so much of my daughter’s young life—and so many milestones—because of working outside of the home. I didn’t want that to happen with our next baby. I felt strongly that a big part of my life’s calling was to be home with my children. I knew it in my heart, I knew it in my brain, but I didn’t know it in my wallet. So I went to my husband with this idea to stay home. Well, really I went to him again—we’d discussed it in the past. And finally, after much talk and in spite of the fact that our financial situation wasn’t ideal (to say the least), we decided that with our oldest starting preschool part-time and a new baby on the way, my being home made sense. But we still needed money. I just knew there had to be a way for me to make at least a small income while being home. I’d been dappling in freelance writing for a few months, and I had previously self-published a novel—without much success. Writing had always been a passion of mine—I’d just never had the chance to really pursue it. This was that chance. So, I decided to dive into this writing thing all the way.
Danele: That’s exciting! What happened next?
Emily: In August of 2014, I left my office job, and in November we had our precious baby boy. The year that followed was…difficult, to put it mildly. Our son was a hard baby to deal with. For example, he didn’t sleep through the night until he was one. He woke up not once, but several times, every single night for an entire year. He cried constantly, and I could hardly get any writing work done. There were many days when I didn’t know how I’d ever make this situation work. How would I ever be able to bring in the money we needed when I was constantly dealing with the baby? And to top it all, I was forever exhausted from being up with him at night. My husband did what he could, but our son was (and is) quite the Mama’s boy. I struggled every day with feelings of guilt, sadness, worry, and frustration. The house was never clean, I was barely getting any work done, and the baby was always crying. And because I was so overwhelmed, I was neglecting my older child and my husband. I felt like I was failing at everything, drowning in chaos. I was just one big, soaking wet failure.
Danele: Oh, Emily! I’m so sorry!
Emily: In the midst of it all, God was there. He led me to Prism Book Group, and I ended up with a contract for that novel I had self-published. Over the years, I’d sent in many queries for this particular story, but had been met with only rejections. It wasn’t until I quit my office job and devoted time to my writing career that I finally secured a contract for it. It was as if God was waiting on me to take that leap of faith. On top of the publishing contract, God has always provided for us financially. From small writing gigs here and there to a run-in with a deer (that’s a story for another time), we’ve been able to stay afloat—even if only barely above water at times. What I learned in this past year was that God is faithful—and He didn’t create any failures. He wants us to succeed and be happy. If we can just put our trust in Him, things will turn out okay. I’m not saying life is perfect right now, but I certainly have plenty to be thankful for. And I know now that leaning on God through the chaos is the only way to really overcome it.
Danele: Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that experience with us! I love how God sees us through the hard times. Another thing I love is God’s sense of humor. Has God ever revealed Himself to you in a humorous way?
Emily: He sure has! This is pretty funny, and some may think it’s cheesy. But I just have to share! During that same time I mentioned earlier—when I was dealing with a fussy baby and trying to get my writing career off the ground—my husband and I purchased a fixer-upper home (which only added to my stress levels). Anyway, when we were ready to make the buy official, I was at work. There was one form I needed to sign and email that would seal the deal—and from which there was no turning back. During my lunch break, I prayed hard. Probably harder than I’ve ever prayed before. I asked God for guidance and for a sense of peace about the decision to buy this particular house. And then I went to Taco Bell. If you’ve ever eaten Taco Bell, then you know the sauce packets all have little sayings on them. Well, out of all eight or so of my packets, there were only two quotes. I actually can’t remember them now, but both said something along the lines of “Go for it!” Now, you may think that was just a coincidence, but I considered it God’s way of giving me the go-ahead that I so desperately needed.
Danele: That’s priceless, Emily! You just made me smile! I think it’s so special how God can give us little reassuring messages when we need them the most. Now, I know that there are many people in the world who are seeking for answers right now, and some of them are hurting horribly. If you could talk to them, what would you say to them?
Emily: Even though my situation was nothing compared to what so many other people suffer through, I do understand feeling like you’re at the end of your rope with nowhere to turn and no solution in sight. I know the soul-crushing pain that comes with feeling like a failure. If this sounds familiar, I’d like to tell you that there is hope. No matter what your storm may be, God is the calm. All you have to do is reach out to Him. With a little faith and some time, you’ll experience peace like you’ve never known.
Danele: That’s truly beautiful, Emily! Now, before I let you go, I’d love to hear more about your new book, Magnolia Lake. Can you share a little bit about it and give us a link where we can find it?
Emily: Sure! Magnolia Lake is my debut novel and was released on March 11th. I am so excited to share Cora Stephens’s story with everyone! Cora is a high school senior on top of the world. With a perfect boyfriend, good looks, great friends, and coveted social status, she has it all. But things aren’t always what they seem. In what should have been the best year of Cora’s young life, she faces betrayal, heartache, tragedy, fear, and pain. Magnolia Lake follows Cora on her sometimes terrifying and often heart-wrenching journey to discover if her faith can get her through the hardest thing she’s ever experienced. http://www.prismbookgroup.com/MagnoliaLake.html
Danele: That sounds wonderful, Emily! I wish you every success with your new book! Thank you so much for being with us today! I really appreciate this chance to get to know you better!
Emily: Thanks again for having me, Danele! I always enjoy reading your blog—you’re such an inspiration! It’s an honor to have been included in a part of your world.
Friends, Emily is such a sweetheart! She is an incredible person, and if you would like to learn more about her or Magnolia Lake, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!