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. 😀
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
- 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.
watch the book trailer!
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.
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.