I’m excited to have Susan M. Baganz back on my blog! Susan is a Christian author and an editor for Prism Book Group. She’s also the wonderful woman who “discovered” me and brought my books to Prism’s attention. She has been a tremendous blessing in my life!
Danele: Susan, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to speak with you!
Susan: Thank you for inviting me.
Danele: It’s my pleasure! Let’s get things started. Has God ever taught you an eye-opening lesson?
Susan: Yes. In the early ‘90’s I was on staff at a church, and I started to have problems with the drama director. We tried to hash it out with the pastor, but it just went round and round and I couldn’t figure out just what the issue really was. I began to see a therapist because of depression and stress. I stepped down from my position into a different one. I could hardly pray or read Scripture. I came across A.W. Tozer’s book The Attributes of God and I started going through Psalms trying to focus on who God was. I was on staff, so I couldn’t share the details of what was happening with anyone. It was an extremely lonely time. I even tried quit to my job. I handed in my resignation but my pastor wouldn’t take it. I went away to seek God, pray, read, and worship. God made it very clear I needed to stay engaged through the painful process. I obeyed.
My therapist encouraged me to pray God’s best for this other woman. I didn’t want God’s best for her! God started to help me let go of the anger, bitterness, and hurt and see this other woman as broken as well in need of God’s healing in her own life. Months later, I met with our elders. I did everything the elders asked of me but reconciliation was not possible between me and the other woman. She left the church and we lost an amazingly gifted person.
Leadership is messy and hard. People are messy. Even in the church. Years later, I still see the fruit of all I went through when things get challenging relationally in ministry. I serve more behind-the-scenes now but am very protective of church leadership because of what I went through.
Danele: I’m so sorry you went through that, Susan! You mentioned that during your difficult time, you studied the Psalms. Do you have a favorite Psalm?
Susan: Yes, Psalm 19. It starts out in verse 1 with how the world around us shows forth God’s glory. It proclaims that our God is the creator and sustainer of all we see: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.” (Ps 19:1 HCSB). It always makes me think of the sunrise! It goes on to describe the wonders of God’s word as perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, more desirable than gold, and sweeter than honey. The best prayer, though, is at the end. Kind of makes sense in light of my previous story. “Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me. Then I will be innocent and cleansed from blatant rebellion. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14 HCSB). I’m grateful God loves me just as I am and has given me so much in the world and in His Word to remind me of that. This Psalm is filled with God’s attributes. He is constant, sustains life, renews us, provides wisdom, makes my heart glad, is eternal, righteous, precious, protecting, forgiving, and redeeming. Who wouldn’t want to love, serve, and obey a God like that?
Danele: That’s so true, Susan! And speaking of serving God, why do you think it’s important to go to church?
Susan: Given how brutal serving in church ministry has been in the past, you might suspect I’d be more ambivalent about the church. In fact, I’m more passionate than ever for the bride of Christ. The church is a family of believers, and together we can encourage, pray, support, challenge, celebrate, teach, and reach the world around us. Most of the prayers in Scripture are corporate as well. We are not meant to do our spiritual walk solo. The church is filled with broken people saved by a holy, loving God and we grow up together in Him. The church is God’s gift to us, and it is a way for us to bless others. Spiritual gifts are given by God to benefit and bless the church. The church has been the vehicle God has used to make the most profound life-changes in me and I’m grateful for it—warts and all.
Danele: I know that the church plays a part in much of your writing. Can you explain why?
Susan: I’ve set my contemporary romances against the backdrop of a church because I wanted to illustrate the value and importance of community, faith, and accountability that we lose when we think we can do it on our own. Christ loved the church and so should we. My latest contemporary romance, Feta & Freeways, will be released in September 2016. It’s about a romance between Christian singer, Nikolos Acton, and his manager, Tia.
Danele: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Feta & Freeways! You’ve had another book published recently, haven’t you?
Susan: Yes, Baron’s Blunder–a Historical Regency Romance novella. Baron’s Blunder is part of Prism Book Group’s Love Is series. The Love Is series is based on 1 Corinthians 13.
Danele: Can you share the back cover blurb of Baron’s Blunder and a purchasing link with us?
Susan: Sure! Fighting evil has been a hobby, but fending off marriage-minded women—a chore. Lord Charles Percy fends off a highwayman attempting to rob a carriage in broad daylight. Noting he’s rescued a young debutante he lies about his title, claiming to be a mere mister. It’s a decision he soon comes to regret as the young woman’s banter intrigues him. The Honorable Henrietta Allendale isn’t convinced he is who he claims to be in spite of his act of heroism on her behalf. She has no intentions of ever marrying but this aristocrat piques her interest as no other man has. Meeting again in London, Lord Percy has a harder time keeping his true identity a secret from the confident woman as she engages in the season. When her life becomes endangered he’s forced to come clean in an attempt to protect her from the elusive Black Diamond. Can Charles convince Henrietta that his love is real and save her life in the process?
Danele: Thank you for sharing, Susan! Before I let you go, can you give us a list of the other books you have written?
Susan: My Orchard Hill contemporary romance series includes Pesto & Potholes, Salsa & Speed Bumps, and Feta & Freeways. I’ve written a historical Christmas novella called Fragile Blessings that’s featured in the book Love’s Christmas Past. I’ve also written Little Bits ‘O Love which is a collection of short stories/flash fiction.
Danele: Thank you so much for being here, Susan! I’ve really enjoyed talking with you!
Susan: Thanks for inviting me! It’s always a delight to connect with you. You’ve been such a blessing to me and to so many others.
Friends, Susan really is a wonderful person! I will never forget her kindness to me! If you would like to learn more about Susan or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!
Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMBaganz/