I love the sound of Jeannie Kendall’s latest book and think that you will too.
- Tell me a bit about yourself and your life journey.
I grew up in Cornwall, a beautiful but rugged county in the south-west of England. Being surrounded by beautiful countryside had a profound influence on me. My growing up years were not always easy though. We lived in a remote hospital (remote as originally it was for TB patients) as my father was a doctor there so I was surrounded by people who were ill or dying. Then when I was 12 my father died after a long illness and so we lost our housing and had to move into a nearby town.
When 16 I started attending a local church, mainly to be disruptive. However I became a Christian and my life changed – and is still changing. My journeying has always included questioning, and enjoying a wide variety of worship styles.
I am married, with two grown up children and two grandchildren, currently aged 9 and 4. My husband, children and grandchildren teach me more than anything else.
All my life I have loved stories, whether reading them, or hearing them from all the people it has been my privilege to listen to in my various roles.
- Tell me a bit about your book – In a nutshell what is the main theme?
Finding Our Voice looks at eleven of the unnamed men and women of the Bible, telling their stories imaginatively (as if them), then with the text, a little context and explanation, but then, importantly, a story from people living now, also not named, who have faced the same challenges. Finding Our Voice examines important themes, including being a refugee, finding forgiveness, looking for love, abuse, death and hope. Some of the stories are brave and gritty.
- What inspired you to write the book?
For a long time I had been writing poetry on the unnamed women of the Bible, and thinking imaginatively about their stories. However the full idea literally came to me on a clifftop watching birds! Incredibly, at the same time my husband, who was also quietly been bird watching, felt God told him that I should write a book in my upcoming sabbatical. The other inspiration has been all the many stories it has been my privilege to hear and be a part of, which are not directly in the book but have made me the person I am today.
- What is the main “take away” that readers will gain from your book? How do you hope they will be changed?
Both that the Bible is incredibly relevant and also that their own stories are important and known to God. I hope that their understanding of the Bible will be enhanced, or refreshed by looking at some of the stories again, or even that they will look at the Bible for the first time, as I hope the book might be gifted by Christians to people who would not normally read the Bible or do church but love stories and find people fascinating.
- Writing a book often changes our own perspectives. How have you been changed by writing this book and what do you continue to learn about the topic?
Well I’ve learnt a whole lot about publishing, a new world for me! I think the way Finding Our Voice came about – more than I can include here – has been a reminder of God’s grace and the way he works quietly through us in so many different ways. I have been humbled by the bravery of the people who shared their stories for the book, and also by the response to it so far.. I am continuing to reflect on these and other stories and I am sure always will.
- Where can readers connect to you on the internet and what is the best way for them to purchase your book?
My website – www.jeanniekendall.co.uk is a good way to make contact, though I am also on Facebook, including a specific page for the book – search Finding Our Voice. In the UK books can be bought via the website, postage free. In the States they are available through Amazon – and possibly other sources too. Authentic Media are the publishers.
Jeannie Kendall grew up in Cornwall, moving to London at 18 to train as a teacher. She taught in two secondary schools, both Religious Education and English and Drama. From there she went to work for the church she attended, (and was involved in running a dance and drama group) initially in their bookshop (great for a reader like her!), then setting up and running a coffee shop, and then setting up and for some years running an award-winning counselling service in the community. In time she returned to working directly in the church context as a pastoral worker and trainer, subsequently training for ministry and becoming ordained. In 2011 I moved to the church I currently serve in, Carshalton Beeches Baptist Church.
She is married with two grown up children and two grandchildren. She enjoys gardening, reading and theme park rides.