Interview with Nichole Nordeman about her 'Love Story'
BREATHEcast Interview with Nichole Nordeman about her book 'Love Story.'
1. What is the name of your book and what inspired you to write it?
My book is called Love Story and it grew out of an opportunity I had to co-write some songs on a compilation project called Music Inspired by The Story a few years ago. The idea was to take the most beloved Bible characters (the ones whose stories have perhaps become fatigued and overly familiar) and give them a modern voice. As I giving these characters a modern, first person voice, something shifted in me spiritually. I felt a deeper longing to know and understand the humanity of these iconic men and women in Scripture, and less of an inclination to prop them up as heroes of the faith. Heroes can be distant and untouchable and can leave us feeling diminished. I wanted to know David and Moses and Esther as people, not as heroes. And find a new way of reading and recognizing the story God is trying to write in my life as well.
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2. Can you share some topics with us that you wrote about in the book?
Each character that I wrote about wrestled with issues unique to their own journey. So the themes in the book are as varied and diverse as the characters themselves. Did Mary ever resent the loss of her youth? Did Daniel have an identity crisis in Babylon? I also really valued the chance to look at my own life quite a bit, and to see where my own struggles and failures and victories intersected with the men and women of Scripture I was writing about. It was humbling to realize that while there is much history and cultural context to consider, the stories that litter the pages of the Bible are not that different than our own. The details and landscape change...but people are people. They can wear royal robes or rags or skinny jeans or Gucci suits, but we're all working out our faith as people have for centuries. And we are either inviting God into those stories, or we're not.
3. What was the biggest challenge for you while writing?
Probably insecurity. I am a hopelessly insecure person, second guessing myself at every turn. I have to re-record voicemails 12 times for fear of sounding too....something. Or not enough something else. It took awhile before I trusted the value in just writing what was on my heart, without the imaginary whispers and snickers and nay sayers that would someday pick it apart. Making music is far less intimidating than words on a page. People don't usually listen to a song and then pound a fist down and say, "I disagree!" They just value it as another person's experience and shrug it off as artistic license if it doesn't resonate with their own. Writing a book feels more like taking a position on something. And then bracing for an argument. I didn't really write this book to make a statement about anything. I just wanted to record what God was whispering to my heart as I brushed up against these Bible characters. Letting go of expectation and insecurity was...is...tough.
4. What was the rewarding part for you during writing?
I feel like I accomplished in my own faith, what I hoped might happen for the reader...humanizing the men and women of the Bible enough to recognize what God was able to do in the utterly broken and banged up shape we're all in. I read these stories slowly and differently than I had before. I allowed them to have dirt under their fingernails and bad breath. I allowed them to get lost and found again, and to be shamefully ungrateful and then astonished and thankful once more. I allowed them to have awkward, messy lives like mine. And this went a long way in helping me really get my arms around what God can do with a person's life when they show up totally unqualified, but willing to say yes anyway. It helped me feel less judgmental when I look in the mirror.
5. What do you want the reader to grasp from this book?
I never had an agenda in what the reader would or would not take away, but I will say it would make me smile if anyone who read my book felt the pages of Scripture were a little less intimidating or stale or culturally irrelevant afterward. I really think God can still use old stories to teach us new things.
6. What is your hobby beside singing and writing?
Raising young children doesn't leave a ton of time for hobbies, but when time affords, I greatly appreciate a good novel or an interesting documentary or a new restaurant.
Nichole Nordeman: 'Love Story'
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