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Sarah Bowen on her IRDA Winning “Void if Detached: Seeking Modern Spirituality Through My Father’s Old Sermons”

Void if Detached was the winner in the Religion category of the 2017 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Sarah Bowen.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Void if Detached: Seeking Modern Spirituality Through My Father’s Old Sermons by Sarah Bowen. Published December 5, 2016.

What’s the book’s first line?

If cobblers′ kids have no shoes… then do preachers’ kids have no religion?

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Void if Detached is the story of a religion-phobic Gen Xer who felt a void because she had become detached from her faith. In fact, she wasn’t sure what her faith was or if she actually had any faith at all. Raised as a preacher’s kid, she had an astonishingly long list of why religion didn’t work for her—until five years after her father’s death, she began reading his sermons. Follow her journey through history and theology as she sometimes seriously—and often irreverently—learns to fill the void with something greater than herself.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

My father passed away at age 65, and much too quickly for my liking. Inspired by his creativity and zest for life, I thought the book might be able to continue his journey—and mine.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

My father has the wise sageness of Obi-Wan Kenobi. And I have the irreverent striving of a young Princess Leia. We explore the stories of the scriptures with different approaches, but for the same ultimate goal—to find a connection to that Force that brings purpose to our lives.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Spiritual journeys are hard in a vacuum. It’s easier when we enlist fellow travelers. We need to share without fear of being called sinners, heretics, or outcasts. It’s my hope this book can help people explore their own beliefs in a safe, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous way.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Carrie Fischer. Drat. So, Felicity Jones (of Rogue One), if she’s available, would do nicely.

When did you first decide to become an author?

Second grade. Unfortunately, I also wanted to be a pilot, architect, artist, and actress. Ultimately, I ended up alternating between a career in design and business writing. It’s invigorating to be writing for a different (and higher) purpose now.

Is this the first you’ve written?

This is my first book of the thirteen I plan to write. (Actually, I pulled that number out of thin air to taunt my triscadekaphobian friend… but I do plan on continuing to write. I’ve become a bit of a medal addict, with recent wins of an Indie Reader Discovery Award, IPPY Gold Award, and three Next Generation Indie Book Finalist Awards. So, I’m going to need to feed the ego that created.)

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’ll take the fifth on this one. If I told you, I might have to kill you and that would not be good for book sales I suspect (or for future Indie Reader Discovery Awards).

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I binge write.  First, I cover my Jeep dashboard with sticky notes of ideas that pop up. Then I squirrel away at a hotel for a weekend with the notes, my computer, and an obscene amount of sugar… and see what happens.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

The hat and whip. Oh wait, you said Indie, not Indiana Jones. My bad. The best part is being in control of my writing destiny. And so that’s the hardest part too.

 Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

Sure. The point is for people get to read the book as part of their own spiritual journey. If someone can help me get it in more people’s hands, let’s go for it.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune? more sex?)

In my 20s I was motivated by the proverbial “sex, drugs, and punk rock.” In my 30s, I progressed to money and career. Now it’s all about purpose. How can I be part of a bigger something than my foolhardy individual ego? So, I suspect I’m aging normally.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

This is a nearly impossible question—but a good challenge. Historically, I wish I had written the Narnia Chronicles. Currently, I’m inspired by the magical (and always amusing) prose of Daniel Jyamingzan Garrett, who wrote “Po Sarpa: Chronicles of a New Tibet.”

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Strangely, that is easier: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I love me some Aslan.

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