The right words don’t always come easily. For those who want to bless others with words that go beyond cliches, A Perfect Word for Every Occasion by Liz Duckworth offers examples and guidelines for things to say, lines to write, and Scripture verses to share. Readers will find words to use anywhere: Facebook messages, emails, cards, receiving lines, birthdays, anniversaries, texting, graduations, emotional occasions, and more. They’ll even discover what not to say.

Congratulations on your newest book, Liz. How did this book come about?

Because I’ve worked in publishing, I have a lot of friends who are book editors. One of them, from Bethany House, suggested my editor ask me about writing a book for them, based on an outline they had created. My kids are off to college, and though I have a full-time job, I don’t have much else to keep me from saying “no” when an opportunity like this comes up! Also I thought, “Sure, writing about writing. Easy, right?” In the end, it was difficult, but I’m pleased with the results. It’s never as easy as you think, or you wouldn’t want to take on a book-length project. Denial is a wonderful friend.

How did you get started in the inspirational book field? For more than 20 years I was a book editor for Victor Books, David C. Cook and other publishing houses, and also freelanced as an editor for a time. The first book I wrote, Wildflower Living, was published by WaterBrook Press, where I had spent two years as publicist. By that time I was freelancing and wanted to do a book about nurturing inner strength after personal loss, based on my own experiences and those of people in my circle.

Tell us a little about your children’s book, Ragtail Remembers and how you came to write it.

A friend I’d worked with when I was editing children’s picture books had been asked by a hospice organization if he could create and illustrate a book about the stages of grief for very young children. I wrote a manuscript for him, but by then, he was on to other projects. I found out about Centering Corporation from a friend in my writers’ critique group who helped evaluate the book. I submitted it 3 years in a row (Centering Corp. only accepted new projects once a year), and made changes suggested by the acquiring editor. The third year I sent it in, my letter was dated September 10, 2011. They accepted the manuscript and, on my recommendation, hired another friend to illustrate it. Many of their grief and loss books were donated to families in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. I know this simple little picture book has helped young children understand their emotions after a loss.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor (or a favorite author)? My dear friend, Jane Kirkpatrick. I first met her when I was publicist at WaterBrook Press, and later she wrote the foreword for Wildflower Living. She amazes me with her talent and generous spirit! Also, my mom, Jane Morton, and I attended Linda Hasselstrom’s retreat at Windbreak House. Linda was an incredible help in getting my first book into shape. I love her writing in so many ways; it’s so true, honest, clear and beautiful.

What book are you reading now? I just finished The Life of Pi. I wanted to read it before the film comes out in November. It is a mind-bogglingly fantastic work of fiction! So many levels to it…I highly recommend it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Just writing itself. I’m of the “I don’t enjoy writing, I enjoy having written” school of writing. But I want to pursue fiction and hope I can turn it from effort and chore into play and passion.

What is your professional background? I worked in Christian book publishing for many years as an editor before I became a freelance writer. Now I’m back working in marketing for Compassion International, heading a small team of writers and editors for the in-house agency. But I’ve also been a radio news reporter and a teacher, so I’ve got war stories there in the background (it hasn’t all been Bible studies and picture books)! Ultimately, I have to say, the world of book publishing has given me wonderful professional relationships and friendships to last a lifetime. And it was a great training ground.

What is Liz Duckworth Publishing Services? That just a name to put on my business card and stationery during the 8 years I was full-time freelancing. I felt it covered my (failed) efforts as an agent as well as (successful) editing and copy-writing I did at the time. It works for so many scenarios…feel free, anybody, to use it by inserting your own name in place of mine!

Are you working on a new project? I should be! My plan was to have a terrific fiction proposal to shop around at the Women Writing the West conference. Probably won’t happen, Heidi. Fiction is soooo hard!

Liz Duckworth is committed to helping others overcome their losses and learn to pursue their dreams again. In addition to numerous magazine articles, Liz has published two picture books, God’s Great Creation and Ragtail Remembers, the latter to help young children understand grief and the feelings that follow loss. With almost twenty years of experience in the Christian publishing field, Liz heads up Liz Duckworth Publishing Services.

Liz’s books can be found at Amazon and possibly Christian bookstores. But Wildflower Living and Bloom Before You’re Planted are both out of print. (They can be found in cartons in my basement.)

Website: LizDuckworth.net (currently under construction.)

Social media connections: Facebook: LizMortonDuckworth and Twitter: LizDuckworth (I seldom tweet, but may try a tweet-a-day again like I did last year in November. Called it “Tweet-vember.”) I have a great Youtube connection: my kid! Jon’s site, simplyspoons, has 91,000 subscribers. He’s 22. In my whole life, I’ve never come close to that many readers. The world has gone upside-down. Maybe I need to start making parody music videos?

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Great interview of Liz, Heidi. I feel like I know a bit more about Liz, and it’ll be great to see you both at the WWW Conference next week!


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