Today my guest is Valeria Saulsberry Edmonds, author of Star & I’m Every Woman. She has over 25 years of experience as a Human Resources professional and is a lay minister in Christian counseling.
You have two books in your Real Women series: Star & I’m Every Woman. Why did you write these books?
In my forties I went through a lot of changes and benefited tremendously from the support and wisdom of older women in the church. During that time I also heard a common refrain that said, “Your test becomes your testimony.” I believe that there is a calling on my life to minister to the needs of women. A small group of friends used to gather at my home to discuss the need to minister to women about everyday issues that we faced. We each had a passion to minister to women about real issues and find healing through the wisdom of the Bible. The Real Women Bible Study was conceived as we started to relate the Bible stories to modern issues. I loved to write and their questions helped to shape a modern interpretation that I compiled into the first collection of short stories.
Give a brief description of your book Star.
Star is a modern story of the challenges we face in marriages. It is written based on the story of Esther from the Bible and starts with issues faced by a dual-career couple that lead to divorce. The story shifts to focus on how Christian singles date and then deal with typical roles and power dynamics early on within a marriage. I tried to make it relevant to women in or pursuing Godly relationships. It also speaks to the issues of being a ‘worldly Christian’ and the apathy some feel towards the church, which is very similar to the situation the Jews found themselves in at this time in biblical history.
Star is a modern retelling of the story of Esther. Why did you think it was necessary to set the story in modern times?
Every challenge that we face in life is addressed in the Bible. However, it may be hard for some to see themselves and their issues within the historical context. I find it helpful in my meditation to relate Bible stories to my life so that I can internalize the lessons and really remain open to what God is saying to me through His Word. What good is knowing scripture if you can’t apply it to your life? The Bible says to be doers and not just hearers of the word, so I thought it was important to try to make the stories relatable and hopefully encourage more women to read the stories with a new lens.
Why did you title your second book I’m Every Woman?
I went through several potential titles for this collection of short stories. But just as I was planning to publish, the words of the song with this title kept coming to mind. It resonated with me because I think we can see a little of ourselves in all of the stories in the Bible. Every woman has a story. If we learn to empathize rather than just sympathize with the challenges other women face, we can learn from each other and encourage each other as sisters in Christ. Ministering to and encouraging others is part of our calling as Christians, but we can’t do it without feeling some of their pain and acknowledging our own struggles.
Give a brief overview of some of the stories in this book.
The story of the woman at the well in John 4 is adapted in a short story called Living Water, where a woman who is living with a man she is not married too meets a young minister who speaks to her about what true religion is and invites her to participate in a different type of worship experience.
The story of Ruth is told from the perspective of her mother-in-law and deals with the challenges of losing a husband, as well as dating as a mature single woman.
The story called Brothers and Sisters deals with expectations that parents put on their kids and the challenges of living in your sister or brother’s shadow like the Bible story told in Genesis about Leah and Rachael.
There are a total of ten stories in the book; some very short and some more detailed, depending on the depth of the story in the Bible and not wanting to get too far afield from the story’s plot.
What reaction have you had from women reading the stories?
I’ve only introduced my book to friends and family via Facebook so far, but the response has been great. In the last two months I’ve sold over 200 copies of Star and over 100 copies of I’m every Woman without any marketing. I’m hoping to expand the audience when I’m home this Summer. Here are quotes from some readers:
“I read ‘Star’ twice. It’s a must read as part of pre-martial counseling. I’m now devouring ‘I’m Every Woman.’ You have a calling on your life. I’ve never teared up so much reading a book, especially since my style has always been scientific self-help books. It touched so many nerves its unreal. Thank you!” -Jacinta Williams
“Loved the introduction to I’m Every Woman. Its real and true. Now on the 4th story!” -Leonie Janse Van Rensburg
“Star: A Modern Retelling of the Story of Esther is by my very dear friend, Valeria Saulsberry Edmonds. I will admit it has been years since I read the Old Testament and don’t recall the story of Esther. I did try to educate myself but every website got far too complicated. I got bored and gave up. Valeria’s books (she has another) put the lessons of women in the Bible into modern terms and concepts. I really enjoyed the book. And if you have a strong faith, you will particularly enjoy this book. Good job, my friend.” – Marina Beirne
What do you hope women get from reading your Real Women series?
I hope that readers understand that our issues transcend time and culture. I hope that by reading my collection of short-stories women will have a renewed interest in the truths of the Bible and that the women of the Bible will come to life so that centuries later we can consider their choices, their challenges, and the changes they went through in a new light. More importantly, I pray that God will minister to the hearts and minds of women today as they explore the implications of these stories for their own lives. We share a lot of common ground as women and we can help each other through being transparent in our testimonies about His goodness and mercy.
Next week we will continue our conversation with Valeria Saulsberry Edmonds.
Valeria is a believer, a disciple, a minister and a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has a passion for helping others see how to apply biblical teachings to their everyday lives. Because of her passion for women’s issues and her love of reading, she began to write as a way to positively affect the lives of women through fiction. Valeria brings the wisdom gained from her life to her stories. A mother of two from Memphis, Tennessee, Valeria currently lives in Doha, Qatar with her husband and son.
Read I’m Every Woman