A practicing Catholic, Anderson’s books about angels and miracles were inspired by a personal experience of angel intervention that occurred in her own life. She has been a freelance writer and public speaker for more than thirty years. Wester Anderson has been chronicling the phenomenon of angel intervention in our lives and is widely credited with helping to usher in the “angel craze” in the 1990s.
Joan Wester Anderson began writing in 1973, as a way to bring home a second income for her family of seven. “It was to be a temporary situation while I figured out what talents I had,” Joan says. However, she never got around to deciding; instead she slipped into magazine feature writing, and did an occasional book,too. “The books never sold very well–my mother sometimes bought a copy—but they gave the illusion that I was somewhat of a professional, which was important for my self-image.”
In 1992, Joan realized that her children had all finished college and moved away. Perhaps it was time for her to do the same. One of her sons had experienced an amazing miracle, so she decided to write one last book in thanksgiving to God, and then return to college to prepare for her next career. Instead, her “thanksgiving book” became a New York Times best-seller, Where Angels Walk. First published by Ballantine Books in 1993, it was released in a 25th Anniversary Edition by Loyola Books in 2016). Her many subsequent books include In the Arms of Angels (Loyola Press, 2009), and even a book about how angels sometimes appear as our pets, chronicled in Angel Tails. She lives in Prospect Heights, Illinois.
In this interview of Beliefnet, Wester Anderson explains her view of angels and their unique role in our lives:
Marilyn Simon Rothstein is the author of Lift And Separate (Lake Union, 2016), the hilarious and heartwarming story of a woman who is forced to restart her life after her husband, the owner of a bra empire, leaves her for a perkier fit. The debut novel is from Lake Union Publishers.
For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn owned an advertising agency in beautiful downtown Avon, Connecticut.
The author grew up with her two sisters in Flushing, Queens. She went to Francis Lewis High School. Marilyn earned her degree in journalism from New York University, and began her writing career at Seventeen, the magazine. She has a master of arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University, and a master of arts in Judaic Studies from the University of Connecticut.
Marilyn is married to a man she met in an elevator. She dedicated Lift And Separate to him. She has two daughters. One is an award-winning playwright (By The Water, All The Days, The Invested), and the other one makes a living.
She enjoys theater and movies and other activities that do not require motion. Marilyn has few hobbies, other than hosting large, boisterous groups for holiday dinners two nights in a row.
The author is now at work on her second novel, a searing social commentary about a woman who owns a Volvo. A sequel to Lift And Separate, the book is scheduled for release by Lake Union Publishing in January 2018.
Happily settled in the Rochester, NY, area with her husband and two young sons, Susan Gilbert-Collins is always a little homesick for her home state of South Dakota. That’s probably why a lot of her fiction is set there, including her first novel, Starting from Scratch (Touchstone at Simon & Schuster, 2010).
“I wanted to explore what it’s like to lose one’s mother as a young adult,” Gilbert-Collins says, “and I tried to do so with a lighter touch, with humor and compassion, so the reader could witness the main character’s grief without being overwhelmed by it. My main character, Olivia, loses her mother very suddenly, and after that she doesn’t return to ‘normal,’ whatever that means, quickly enough to suit her family. This is a typical response to grief in our culture: you’re supposed to move on fairly quickly, which I found hard to do when I lost my own mother as a young adult.”
Olivia, the youngest of four high-achieving siblings, resists family pressure and at first wants only to bury herself in her mother’s kitchen, finding solace in their shared passion for cooking. But as a family secret comes to light and startling announcements are made by two of her siblings, she finds herself drawing on her mother’s memory and spirit to navigate the shifting family dynamics.
Gilbert-Collins’s short fiction has often explored loss as well and has appeared in Confrontation, The Greensboro Review, Prairie Schooner, Alabama Literary Review, and Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review. Her stories have been finalists in Glimmer Train competitions and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Along the way, Gilbert-Collins has freelanced in technical writing and test development, taught English as a Second Language, worked briefly in grants and development, and studied at Oberlin and the University of Minnesota to put off the inevitable (a real job). And before any of that, she spent the summer between high school and college as the worst pizza deliverer in the history of South Dakota.
Find more about Gilbert-Collins: https://susangilbertcollins.com
Nancy Cowan’s life has been all about understanding animals and their relationships to Mankind. An accredited riding instructor as a teen, as a young mother living in New Hampshire, she became interested in sled dogs and the history of US exploration o f Antarctica by dogteam. Her conventional split in a conventional subdivision soon had the unconventional accessory of six huskies living in the backyard. Nancy became known around the globe for her writing about sled dogs as a sportswriter and author of seven self-published books. While running her own team and occasionally racing them, Nancy rediscovered an inner satisfaction she had known with her horses. Halfway measures have never been enough for her, so when Jim, Nancy’s husband, began a quest to make falconry a legal hunting sport in the state, she became involved right away. Now, more than 30 years later, both Cowans are Master Falconers as well as owners of the internationally known New Hampshire School of Falconry.
Life took an unexpected turn when Nancy and Jim were asked by wildlife experts and federal officials to take on the task of becoming licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators with a mission to rehabilitate and evaluate for release the State’s injured peregrine falcons. Through falconry, Nancy formed a connection with the wild peregrine, N Z,, not with the intention of taming him but rather to prepare him to return to live in the wild. This connection was so strong, so sweet, and so amazing, it changed Nancy far more than any change she had effected upon the raptor. Her book, Peregrine Spring, A Master Falconer’s Extraordinary Life with Birds of Prey, was written to bear witness to the surprising understandings she has learned from years of working with hawks and falcons, something Nancy teaches daily in her classes at her School. Ably agented by Jacqueline Flynn, her book was bought by Lyons Press, which released it in March of 2016.
Parents of grown children and grandparents of two, Nancy and Jim Cowan reside in the small town of Deering, New Hampshire, where Nancy served 16 years as her town’s Town Clerk and Tax Collector. She and Jim are both now retired…or as retired as running a busy school can allow. They share their lives with five hawks, six falcons, and two Gordon Setter dogs.
Sue Scheff is a nationally-recognized speaker, parent advocate and internet safety expert. She is the founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc., an informational resource for parents struggling with challenging teenagers. She is also the author of the upcoming SHAME NATION: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (coming Fall 2017 from Sourcebooks) which dives into the dark side of today’s digital reality where countless people are being electronically embarrassed each day, whether it’s from trolling, cyber-slamming, digital drama, revenge porn, sexting, doxing, hacking or other malicious virtual take-downs. This culture of destroying people with the simple stroke of a keyboard is much more than a fad—it’s the new normal. SHAME NATION will survey the wreckage of the most shocking digital debacles, revealing how truly pervasive this phenomenon has become, and advising what we as concerned citizens need to do about it. This book will tap into a nerve in popular culture about our fascination and fear of digital shaming, sprinkling actual social media posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more to illustrate how unbelievably mean things have actually become. The book will also provide practical solutions on how to handle a cyber-disaster, should one occur, as well as guide individuals how to recover from the emotional aftermath of a digital shaming.
Scheff’s previous books Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (HCI, 2008), and Google Bomb! How the $11.3M Verdict Changed the Way We Use the Internet (HCI, 2009), co-authored by the late John Dozier, recount her personal story of being victimized online and cyber-stalked due to her advocacy work with troubled teens. She went on to win a 2006 landmark case for internet defamation and invasion of privacy. Since then, her name and voice have become synonymous with helping others who have been victims of online abuse as well as educating people of all ages about the importance of good digital citizenship and protecting their online reputation.
Today she is a much sought after expert who has been featured on major media outlets including GMA, CBS This Morning, ABC News, 20/20, The Rachel Ray Show, Dr. Phil, CNN, Anderson Cooper, CBS Nightly News, Lifetime, Fox News, CBC, BBC, Dr. Drew HLN, CNN Headline News, InSession Court TV, and noted major publications such as USA Today, AARP, Parenting Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Forbes, Sun-Sentinel, Asian Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, and many more.
Marianne Kirby writes about bodies both real and imagined. She plays with the liminal space between vanishing and visibility; she thinks the things that go bump in the night need to spend some time in the sun. A long-time writer, editor, and activist, Marianne is a frequent contributor to women’s interest publications, news outlets, and tv shows that require people to have opinions. She has been published by the Guardian, xoJane, the Daily Dot, Bitch Magazine, Time, and others. She has appeared on TV and radio programs ranging from the Dr. Phil Show to Radio New Zealand. Marianne was born in Florida and returned there, because Florida Weird calls to its own. She has briefly escaped again but is already plotting her eventual winter migration. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Marianne’s debut novel, Dust Bath Revival, a horror story about insatiable hunger, was released November 21, 2016 by Curiosity Quills. Her previous books include Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body (Perigee/Penguin 2009) and Screw Inner Beauty (Amazon Digital Services, 2010).
Lisa Anselmo has spent most of her professional career in magazine publishing, working on such iconic brands as Allure, Mademoiselle, InStyle, and People. She’s been everything from a creative director to an opera singer, but ultimately she followed her passion to become a writer, with her memoir, My Part-Time Paris Life (Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan, October 2016), which grew out of her blog of the same name.
Anselmo started traveling to Paris regularly more than ten years ago—at first, to cover the fashion trade shows for a lifestyle website. But soon, she had cultivated friends—both Parisians and expats—and eventually built another life across the ocean. After losing her mother to breast cancer, she was motivated to make her other life official, buying an apartment in Paris’s Right Bank.
In 2014, she decided to leave her day job, and now splits her time between New York and Paris, where she writes full time. Her experiences inspired the memoir My (Part-Time) Paris Life, a candid narrative of a woman searching for hope and healing in the city she loves.
series: my parttimeparislife
Paige Rien is a designer and author best known for five seasons on HGTV’s Hidden Potential and for her appearances on Curb Appeal. Paige consults with families all over the world to make their homes more personal, reflecting how they truly live. After renovating and restoring many homes together with her husband, Francis, she finds nothing more exciting as a new house project. Paige’s interest in houses was stoked while studying Urban Studies at Brown University. She lives near Washington, DC with her husband, three sons and daughter.
LOVE THE HOUSE YOU’RE IN: 40 Ways to Improve Your Home and Change Your Life (Roost Books/imprint of Shambhala Publications, Distributed by Penguin Random House, March 2016).