Since this is spring and Easter month I decided to feature my book, Swallowed by Life, Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal. I was on the medical beat at the newspaper where I worked, and I began research for the book after we lost our 31-year-old daughter to Burkitt’s lymphoma. I wondered if I believed what I thought I did about eternal life. The book is the result of that journey into medical facts, as well as scripture.
Here’s the short summary:
Do you believe you could live with someone else’s heart or kidneys, but not without your body? Evidence shows we’re more than flesh. The author, a prolific religion writer and retired medical journalist, talks about the evidence; the wonder of life with all its electrical systems; the awesome truth about cell death and regeneration; mysteries surrounding the change from mortal to immortal; where we go when our body dies; resurrection; and a glimpse at what we will do in heaven. Questions and answers make this non-fiction inspirational book a great text for group study. It’s written for support groups, religion classes, people with chronic or terminal illness, individuals who fear death or are curious about it, the grieving, and those who give them counsel.
Review: “It was wonderful how the author merged the medical with the spiritual.”
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
The seeds were things we don’t even think about. I was still me when I was a fertilized egg the size of the period at the end of this sentence. I’d still be me if I lost a leg. I’d still be me if I had a kidney transplant, or lost other body parts. I’m still me after my body has been rebuilt cell by cell about every seven years.
A great inspiration was 2 Corinthians 5:4 NLT: “While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.”
What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?
I have more than 10,000 words on a sequel to The Lady Fugitive, a historical romance. I also have a non-fiction book, Facts, Faith and Propaganda, released in March 27, 2015.
Tell the readers how you started writing.
I became youth leader in my church when I was barely 15. The age then went to 35 (some folks today would love to be in a youth bracket at that age). God lit a fire in my soul. I spoke for youth group once before the election; then I felt the Lord tell me I would be youth president. Had he not prepared me, I would have refused. I had unique ideas for services and soon we had the church basement packed and people sitting on the stairs.
I started submitting youth service ideas to a leadership magazine. They were purchased and soon I expanded to articles and had success with several Christian publications. Two editors helped by telling me, “Add another anecdote to this story,” or “cut the length to xxx words.” I did it and they bought my writing.
I took a course in writing for Christian publications, continued to sell articles and stories, and then became interested in newspaper work. I started as a correspondent from Thompson, Utah, for The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colo.). Thompson? Population 100. In a short time I had a staff position with the Leadville Herald Democrat in Colorado, and within a week after leaving Leadville I was hired at The Pueblo Chieftain in a city of 100,000. I’d never had a journalism course. I didn’t receive my degree in mass communications until 1984. I was hired at the newspapers because of my stack of clips from free-lance writing.
My first book was published by the Assemblies of God in 1978. I now have six books and chapters in a half-dozen others.
I see you write in more than one genre. Do you have a favorite?
I write in several genres, but in some ways all my writing falls into one category: Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement. That’s my brand.
What’s the first book you ever remember reading as a child?
Dick and Jane in elementary school, but my favorite book of choice was The Boxcar Twins. I was so impressed with how the boxcar was transformed into a beautiful home surrounded by flowers. I had no idea one day I’d live in a boxcar. My husband worked as a telegraph operator for the railroad and in Malta, Colo., a boxcar with a lean-to on the side was the only place in the little community to live. We had nice furniture, a beautiful gas kitchen stove and I transformed the boxcar.
One night my sister’s family visited. After the lights were turned out for night a little voice quivered. “Mommy? Is a train going to come in the night and carry us away?”
How interesting. Too bad you haven’t a picture to show us. How have your reading (and writing) tastes evolved over the years? Do you still read the same genre of books you did as a teenager?
I’ve almost always been a Bible student. I usually am reading one or two non-fiction books and a fiction book at the same time. I take my time with non-fiction, but zip through fiction. Although I didn’t read books with sex and bad language even in college where some were required. I asked for a substitute and got it. I’ve narrowed my taste even further to squeaky clean historical romance or mysteries where the characters are dedicated Christians.
I’ve had it with supposedly Christian books that I get one-third or half-way through and I have to throw them away or delete them. Many Christian writers like to include what they call “sexual tension” and think it’s OK. I had to study obscenity laws in my mass communications law and ethics class and one of the facets of obscenity is whether it arouses the “prurient interest.” I decided to stay away from contemporary novels, even those labeled Christian. Too many contemporary novels, especially indie novels, almost go over the line.
Tell us a little bit about your hobbies outside of writing?
I love church and gospel music. I played the piano or organ at most of the churches we attended, but I developed hand problems which stopped that. I’m also a singer and started as a child singing solos and with my brother, Joe Nicholson, who ended up as head of the Evangel University music department for many years.
Singing in trios with friends was a blessing. We had so much fun practicing. We’d invite each other over for dinner and the men and children had a great time while we practiced.
In Lakewood, Colo, one of our trio, Betty Vawter, was killed in an airplane accident and I and the other gal sang a duet at the funeral. Hard stuff.
Then our children grew up and for a while Carolyn played the piano for another group, the Damascus Singers in Arvada, Colo. Carolyn had perfect pitch and when she was in high school she could copy the exact accompaniment off a record. She’s the daughter we lost to cancer and we’ve missed her so much! Gary, our oldest son, played the bass guitar and his friend played the drums. We had other adult people in the band. For several years we sang in the a.m. or the p.m. service at Arvada Abundant Life Christian Center.
I sang with our last group at Praise Assembly in Pueblo for 17 years, and I still miss singing with those wonderful gals, Gloria Vigil and Gayle Ortiz.
Name three interesting things most people don’t know about you.
- I received a trophy for being best actress in high school and the judges told me I should be a comedienne. I still love humor and like to include it in my writing. Some of my characters do funny things and I love it.
- I still have a burning love and interest in youth. God has so many wonderful things for them, and I want them to receive those gifts from their heavenly Father.
- Being a newspaper reporter changes you. It helped me see much better why people need the Lord desperately. But I also discovered so many wonderful, special folks that I’ll love spending heaven with.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy?
My mother hung a motto on the living wall that said in words covered in silver glitter: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
The more I read and study the Bible the more I understand the great significance of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Incidentally, we had five children and all of them serve the Lord and are raising their children to serve God. Carolyn is in heaven, and we are blessed.
Ada Brownell is the author of six books, about 300 stories and articles in Christian publications, and she spent a large chunk of her life as a reporter, mostly for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado. She and her husband L.C. have five children, one of them in heaven, eight wonderful grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Among her books: The Lady Fugitive, a historical romance, Imagine the Future You, a youth/parent Bible study .Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, a novel for middle grade up; Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; Facts, Faith and Propaganda; and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but released in 2012 for Kindle. All the books are available in paper or for Kindle. Imagine the Future You audiobook is available at www.Audible.com Free book with new Audible membership.
Where you can find Swallowed by Life:
And you can see reviews on GoodReads
Christian Publishers Outlet also has the paperback