WRITE: Interview with Linda W. Rooks
Today’s WRITE blog features an interview with Linda W. Rooks, author of Broken Heart on Hold: Surviving Separation which I reviewed in Tuesday’s post. Remember, if you’d like a change to win an autographed copy, please leave a comment on the book review.
About the Author: Linda W. Rooks has a passion to help heal marriages, a passion that is fueled by the hope she and her husband found together when their own marriage was restored after a three-year separation.
Since that time Linda has shifted much of her energy to bringing hope and understanding to couples experiencing crisis in their marriage. An almost native Californian, Linda received a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She met and married her husband, then a Navy officer, and moved to his home state of Florida to put him through law school. Linda and her husband Marv, an attorney and assistant professor at Barry University School of Law, now live in Central Florida and have two married daughters and five young grandchildren.
1. For readers who haven’t yet met you, can you share a bit of your background?
My love for writing goes back to my elementary school years, and I have been writing in one form or another ever since. I majored in creative writing at San Francisco State University but didn’t start publishing on a national level until about 12 years ago.
In my personal life, my husband and I started our marriage deeply in love. We had two lovely daughters, and thoroughly enjoyed our family life. Unfortunately though, we were not good at resolving conflicts, and as a result too many unresolved issues began to eat away at the fabric of our relationship. Things continued to deteriorate until 1995 when my husband left me. We were separated for three long years. In 1998 after each of us had looked into our own hearts and made some needed changes, we restored our marriage. The strong marriage we have today is a testimony to what God can do with two hearts that are submitted to him.
2. During your own time of separation, what resources helped you the most?
The Bible, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, What You Feel You Can Heal by John Gray, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, Men in Midlife Crisis by Jim Conway.
I also listened a lot to Christian music and Christian radio teachers like Chuck Swindoll and Charles Stanley.
3. How did you make the decision to turn your painful experiences into a book?
When I was dealing with some kind of issue during our separation, I would often sit at my computer and write about what was going on until God brought me to some level of peace. When my husband and I got back together and I went back to look at what I’d written, I discovered I’d done this around 40 times. As I read them over, I realized my writing might be able to help others going through something similar. When I showed them to my husband, he agreed and said that if they were turned into a book it would be a way to turn our bad experience around into something good. Because I’d looked for books to sustain me spiritually during my own separation, I knew there wasn’t anything else like this available, and from that time on I felt God leading me step by step through the process of writing and publishing Broken Heart on Hold.
4. You have a husband and two grown daughters. How did they respond to your decision to write so honestly about your marriage and separation?
My husband Marv felt that this book would be a Romans 8:28 gift from God. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” He saw the book as a way for God to use those terrible three years for something good to bless others. He was a major part of the decision and was extremely encouraging all through the process of writing the book, looking for a publisher, and promoting it.
My daughters were supportive also. One of my daughters is now a counselor. She read through my manuscript to make sure everything was in keeping with good counseling theory. She made a few suggestions that strengthened certain chapters from a counseling perspective. She and I have now worked together at times in marriage ministry, and she gives the book to many of her clients.
I was careful to protect my family by having them each read and approve anything that pertained to them before I made it a permanent part of the book. My husband read and approved everything I wrote in the book. I wanted them all to feel good about my honest sharing.
5. Some time has passed since the release of Broken Heart on Hold. If you could give one additional piece of advice to women who are separated from their husbands, what would it be?
I’m glad you asked. There are some very important practical things we now tell people which I didn’t emphasize in the book. First, we tell a person who has been left by their spouse that they should give their spouse some space and not pursue them in any way. Often people want to keep calling, e-mailing, or texting because they are hurting and want answers. But this usually pushes the spouse further away. The” leaving spouse” needs some space to clear his mind. Then when contact is eventually made between them, he will be in a better place for a change of heart to occur.
6. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
When I was in college, one of my professors, who was an award winning short story writer, came to class with a huge stack of papers. She set the papers on her desk and said, “I just wanted you to see how much writing it took for me to end up with one short story that’s only about three pages long.” Her point, which I’ve heard repeated many times, is that a good story, a good article, or a good book is not written, but rewritten. New writers often think their first or second draft should be final. But it takes many rewrites, edits, tweaks and polishes before it’s at its best and ready for publication.
7. What’s the purpose of Broken Heart on Hold?
When people go through a separation, particularly if they are the one who has been left, they are falling apart emotionally. They are too emotionally distraught to make good decisions and they are unable to wrap their minds around anything that takes much logical thinking. Broken Heart on Hold meets them where they are in the midst of their emotional turmoil and helps them become stronger emotionally and spiritually so they can make good decisions and hear what God is telling them. It is a book to be a friend to them as they walk the difficult journey of a marital crisis.