Books, Faith, Interview

Interview with S.G. Willoughby: He’s Making Diamonds Blog Tour

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Hey, guys! I hope you’re having a wonderful morning, afternoon, or evening. Today, we have something a slightly different post than normal on YLFC. The amazing S.G. Willoughby is releasing her first book, He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness.

I am going to be participating in the launch tour for her book!!! I’ll be sharing the cover, blurb, and book trailer for the book and then I’ll be interviewing S.G.! Plenty of awesome stuff goin’ on today. 😀

He's Making Diamonds Front Cover

Are you a teenager trying to navigate faith through chronic illness? I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.

When sickness takes over your life, it’s a never-ending battle to make it through each day. How do you cope? How do you keep fighting? Most of all though, how do you find God in the midst of the suffering?

Through my own journey of sickness, I’ve struggled with the same questions—questions we all think but are afraid to ask. My name is Sara, and I’ve been sick with Lyme disease and more since I was fourteen.

Those questions you’re afraid to ask? I’ve asked them too—as have many others.

This book addresses topics and questions such as:

  • Why is there sickness?
  • Where is God in sickness?
  • Resting in the storm
  • How to deal with the way chronic illness changes you
  • Joy and despair
  • Hope
  • Praying through chronic illness
  • Relationships in the midst of chronic illness
  • And more!

The journey of illness is not an easy one, but hope remains. God hasn’t left us. He hasn’t forgotten us. On the contrary, He’s making diamonds out of us.

Click to add He’s Making Diamonds on Goodreads!

Or go ahead and purchase a copy for yourself or a friend!

watch the book trailer!

the interview

What inspired you to write He’s Making Diamonds? Where did the idea originate?

The idea originated with my blog. You see, before starting my blog I’d thought I was relatively alone as a chronically ill teen trying to navigate faith. But as I started my blog and began to connect with more and more people who said, “me too!” I realized I wasn’t as alone as I thought. And that so many of us had the same questions and struggles and didn’t even know it. We all thought we were alone as a young person who is sick and as someone struggling with faith and questions. But we weren’t. So I decided to write a book for all of those who felt alone, who were harboring questions, and who all struggled with the same things I did. I have learned so much through my sickness and if I can help anyone else who is in the same boat with those truths, I want to!

What about self-publishing drove you to choose it over traditional publishing?

The biggest thing that tipped me toward indie publishing as opposed to traditional publishing was the fact that all of the people I trusted most, writers and non-writers, were advising me to take that route. I couldn’t seem to escape the message. I actually, didn’t want to indie publish. I love the indie publishing world, but I wanted to traditionally publish. But as I thought, researched, and prayed about it, I realized that logically, indie publishing did make sense for me. It allowed me to set my own deadlines and work with flexibility… something important for anyone with a chronic illness (it’s very unpredictable). Working in my own timing has been crucial. I also knew that I had connections who would be willing to help me through the process with things I couldn’t do… like the fact that my brother was a filmmaker and could do the book trailer. If it weren’t for all of those amazing people, I definitely would have needed to help and support that traditional publishing brings. But God brought me my own handpicked support group.

Who’s one author you look up to greatly in the writing world?

Oh, there’s so many, but one is Sarah Mally. She was one of the first people I’d heard of who wrote a book while still young, and I really admired her books. I didn’t even know she was independently published until I was already on my own publishing journey, but that was cool too. Her messages she shares in her books and teaching are so important for so many to hear, and she shares it with grace, wisdom, and without compromising her standards.

How has writing this book changed you as a person?

Writing this book was both hard and healing. There were times I cried, and times I rejoiced over the truth God gives us. It helped me to process things I’d gone through and pushed me to ask even more questions that I hadn’t addressed yet in my own life to find out where I stood. The book process has taught me more about God’s grace, hearing His voice, and trusting Him when things seemed impossible.

How has having a chronic illness strengthened/weakened or changed your faith in God?

Before I got sick, I was a goody-two-shoes who thought she knew what she was doing, who she is, and where she stood on many issues. But the thing I came to realize was that my confidence in some of those things, though perhaps innocent, was also ignorant and prideful. Illness has helped me to have mercy, grace, and compassion on those around me, and to realize that I don’t know everything and can’t be so quick to judge… while at the same time, helped me solidify and sometimes changed where I stood on different issues. Most of all, it’s taught me to rely on God and His sufficient grace. I think that though I felt like a failing Christian at times (still do sometimes) because of my illness, sickness has strengthened my faith and trust in God because of the unknowns, impossible trials, and my failings.

What is one of or a few of your favorite Bible verses?

Two of my favorite Bible verses right now are 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

And Isaiah 43:18-19 which says:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

How long did it take you to complete He’s Making Diamonds from first draft to publishing?

It took me three days less than a year. I wrote the first draft in about four months, and the rest followed after that (broken up with health issues, of course 😉 ).

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! I’m so excited for the release of your book!

Thank you for having me, Anika! You asked some deep questions.

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S. G. Willoughby is a seventeen-year-old girl with Lyme disease, toxic mold poisoning, and MCS. Currently, she resides in Arizona with her parents and two siblings. In her spare time she loves to write, read, and have adventures.

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Books, Purifying the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Purifying the Mind, Body, and Spirit with Our: Readings

Readings

Hello girlies! Sorry I didn’t get this posted yesterday. Anyways, welcome to post #3 of my series: PMBS (Purifying the Mind, Body, and Spirit)! You can read post #1 HERE and #2 HERE.

Sometimes, it can be hard to find a clean book to be engrossed in. Or, it can be hard to find a clean blog or magazine to follow or subscribe to. Because that is one of the areas we can purify ourselves in as well; what we read.

I will separate this post into three sections: 1, books; 2, blogs; and 3, magazines for Christian girls to read.

Unless you are not allowed/cannot/do not want to read anything with magic or fantasy-ish things (like elves and light catchers {practically magic wands}), this is a clean NYT Bestseller series that I personally LOVE.

– The Mysterious Benedict Society Series

There are four books in this series, and it strangely all makes sense. Such an interesting idea of what might happen if four kids saved the world was never found but in this series.

– The Anne of Greene Gables Series

There are many (eight in total) books in this series. L. M. Montgomery did a great job on every one. I recently found and bought Rainbow Valley, the second to last book in the series of Anne and her children. It wasn’t as good as the first one (when is it ever?) but I enjoyed it very much!

A Question of Honor (Questions of War #1)

I beta-read for this indie published book, and I LOVE it! Jesseca did such an amazing job! A clean read set in the WWII times for ages 12+.

– The Love Comes Softly Series

These books (eight in all) are very good if you like historical fiction (which I do). I would recommend this series to girls 12+ (just like A Question of Honor) just because it was originally intended to be Women’s Fiction and YA Fiction.

  • Blogs

– Girl Defined

I love to read this blog so much! Written by two young women serving God in their 20s, this is one organization I couldn’t keep off my list. They do post about stuff for older teen girls (sex, relationships, marriage, etc.) but there is content appropriate for younger young women here as well. 🙂

Scattered Journal Pages

An amazing teen named Amanda shares her thoughts on, well, everything here. Although this started out as more of a blog for teens to read, it has reached my heart as a kind of ministry that Amanda started.

A Purpose and a Promise

Emily is a beautiful poet and a daughter of God who fills her posts with the love of our Savior and the (amazing) rhyming of poetry.

Having a Heart Like His

Hosanna Emily posts on this blog about faith, writing, and everything in between. She has indie published one book (The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser) that I enjoyed very well!

Madi Grace

Oh. my. word. Have you ever heard of a blog SO amazing? I mean, DEVIL BUTT KICKING CLASSES every Monday??!! Yes, please!!!! Madi posts about writing, life, devil butt-kicking, and tons of other things on her personal blog, but you can also find her on her doll blog @ Delightful World of Dolls.

Ok, this isn’t technically a magazine, it’s actually a book, but I didn’t have room up in the books section, so. 😉

Cover Up for Christ

Ok, maybe this isn’t a magazine either, but it’s an amazing organization that I had to fit somewhere in this post. 😛

Stone Soup

This is a really good (actual) magazine! It is a children’s magazine featuring stories, art, poems, and book reviews from children under thirteen all over the US. I actually submitted my first short to them over a year ago, got it accepted and published in their Nov./Dec. 2016 issue!

Crown of Beauty Magazine

This is an e-magazine that I heard about from a friend a while back and decided to check out. Haven’t got a chance to read much yet, but so far so good. 😉

Set Apart Girl

This is another e-magazine that I found not too long ago and can’t wait to read more of. 😀

Thanks for reading the third post in my series! If you skimmed a little, that’s fine; it was long anyways. 😉 Chow for now!

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PS: If you want more magazines and books to check out, look at Chloe three other posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Books, Your Walk With God

Walking on God’s Path – 3 Magazines for God’s Daughters

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Even harder than finding good books, and maybe even harder then finding good movies and music, is finding good magazines.

I love to get a magazine in my mail box each month. Do you? I’m going to share with you 3 good magazines for God’s Daughters.

Nature Friend

I love this magazine! It has so much in it. It has games, a drawing lesson, and so much more! They have a reader’s issue every year, and for a little more money each month, I think about two dollars, you can add a study guide, with gardening tips, recipes, and writing lessons! They also hide little pictures such as a squirrel and an acorn in each issue, and you have to try to find them.

Nature Friend Magazine

Adventures in Odyssey – Clubhouse

This is a Christian magazine for boys and girls, and it is really fun. It has fun stories, and lots of other things. It also has games and sometimes recipes. There is a version for younger children, too.

Clubhouse Magazine

The King’s Princess

I actually just discovered this magazine, thanks to Madison, but it looks awesome and I signed up for it! It is an E-magazine. It is also free!

The King’s Princess Magazine

Do any of you know of any other magazines?

Have an amazing week!

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