Choosy Writers Choose Good Books
Are you choosy about the books you read? I am.
My high school English teacher used to scold me when I found excuses not to read. She’d blink her eyes, sigh, and pinch her nose, “Good writers make time to read.”
Well, she’d be proud.
I read a book over spring break that was worth my time and attention. It was edifying, truthful, and inspiring and there’s a back story on how I received the book, which I’ll share in a moment.
Appointments with Heaven bills itself as “the true story of a country doctor’s healing encounters with the hereafter.” At first, I thought. Boy. Do I really want to read a bunch of creepy stories about people dying? (The book was given to me shortly after my mother’s death in 2013.)
I’d seen a lot of death and well, eh.
But, my sister-in-law raved about the book and she’d experienced loss, too, so I figured it had potential.
Heaven’s Southern Setting & Faith Theme
My family packed up our van and headed south to Florida. Dr. Reggie Anderson’s story is set in the rural South. So literally, my journey included representations out the window of the places described in the story – Alabama on the way down and Tennessee on the route back up. What I discovered is that the story isn’t really a book about death — it is about finding faith in life.
Soak in that statement for a moment.
It’s a book about faith. Your life has purpose and it affects eternity.
Do you believe that? Like I said. It’s a book about faith.
There are times, even if you believe there’s a higher purpose, when truthfully, you’re just not seeing how the dots connect. You lost a friend, a job, or an opportunity. You’re stuck in what seems to be a mindless and pointless routine. You’re disillusioned because of awful events or situations. This book addresses whys. Does anyone even know we’re here? Is God real? Why do bad things happen?
Even if you have answers worked out for yourself, Dr. Reggie Anderson’s perspective, because of his scientific expertise in medicine and his own early disillusionment, is unique. This book find has the potential to be a future workbook and video series for small groups. The Kendrick Brothers or some other producer ought to take a good look at it.
About Heaven’s Ghost Writer
If you’re a writer, it’s a study on the art of ghost writing. Truly, the story’s organization, running motifs, theme, voice, and flow were so well constructed that I beamed for Jennifer Schuchmann, the book’s ghost writer. And herein is how I received the book.
Jennifer and I met at a conference in 2010. She was already a published writer, managing a young family, and at the start of a promising career. We became Linkedin and Twitter contacts. In September 2013, I was in the midst of managing a big work project, while organizing household moving details for my family, when my mother passed away. With those plates spinning, I accidentally sent an email to Jennifer that was intended for someone else. When I realized my mistake, I sent Jennifer a note asking her to disregard and delete the email. She did, and then we quickly caught up. I asked her about her current projects and she shared.
“I’m primarily doing collaborative books with people who have stories to tell but don’t have the time or ability to tell them. I’m either hired by them or by their publishers. I’ve released two new books this year.
“Taylor’s Gift” is the story of parents who lost their 14 year old daughter in a skiing accident, donated her organs, and then met the organ recipients.
“Appointments with Heaven” is the story of a country doctor who lost his faith, found it in a dream of heaven and now catches glimpses of heaven when his patients die (he can feel their soul leave their body, smell the scents of heaven, and feel a warmth in the room). Both are good books.
Good to hear from you even if it was a mistake!”
I then confided that my mother had passed away two weeks earlier and that her Heaven book sounded relevant. She wrote,
Oh, I’m so sorry! Send me your address and I’ll send you a copy of “Appointments with Heaven.” Writing that book changed the way I view death. Maybe that’s the whole reason we reconnected was so I could give you a copy of this book.
When my copy arrived, she’d personalized it with a note, “I hope this brings comfort in your loss.”
If you’ve ever lost someone, you know that the cards you receive in the following weeks are thoroughly appreciated. This was the first time anyone had sent a book.
I read a few pages and stopped. I felt called to send a copy to each of my siblings, but I personally wasn’t ready to digest the book.
By spring 2014, I was ready.
Let’s be clear, I’m not getting paid to write this post for Appointments with Heaven nor am I doing it because I know Jennifer. I know plenty of authors. I just like the book and feel it’s worth my time.
I hope it’s worth yours, too.
Yesterday, I interviewed Jennifer about her ghost writing techniques. Stay tuned. In an upcoming post, I’ll download the back story on how Dr. Anderson’s Appointments with Heaven was written.