This week I am continuing my conversation with Valeria Saulsberry Edmonds. She is the author of two books in the Real Women series, Star and I’m Every Woman. To read Part 1 of the interview: I’m Every Woman
Valeria has over 25 years Human Resources experience with a large global corporation. She is also a lay minister in Christian Counseling.
Valeria describes her book Star.
Star is a modern story of the challenges we face in marriages. It is based on the story of Esther 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.
Give a brief overview of some of the stories in I’m Every Woman.
There are a total of ten stories in the book. The story of the woman at the well in John 4 is adapted in a short story called Living Water when a woman who is living with a man she’s not married to 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 Brother 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.
Are any of the stories based on challenges you have faced in your life?
The characters are all fictional, but of course, there is some of my story in every one of the short stories. I drew from my own experiences and I found it therapeutic to share some of the personal challenges and victories within these tales. I’ve also blended in the stories of other real women friends.
Can you share a challenge you faced and how you were able to come through it?
I’ve had many personal and professional challenges which God has allowed me to overcome. Getting divorced after 13 years of marriage was the first big one that made me question God and my own capacity to deal with feelings of failure, betrayal, bitterness, courage and eventually forgiveness. I remembered that God inhabits the praise of his people and I knew that I needed him to help me so I learned to praise my way through. It may sound cliché but it worked. My kids were depending on me to keep it together. Most people at my job and at church had no idea what was going on with me because I learned to lean on God for comfort and strength.
What are some of the common challenges that women of today are dealing with?
It’s interesting that when you are going through something it’s easy to feel all alone in your struggle. However, if you’re willing to open up a little within the bonds of sisterhood you will find that there are so many others who have either dealt with the same situation or are dealing with it at the same time. There are other women dealing with infertility, learning that they have cancer, grieving the loss of a loved one, praying for a lost child, recovering from divorce, getting married or remarried, learning to make peace with their pounds, or trying to understand God’s calling on their lives.
When God brings you through something, I believe it comes with a responsibility for you to help someone else dealing with the same issue.
Are you planning any more books in the Real Women series?
Yes, I just finished a short story inspired by Tabitha in Acts 9. In it I deal with depression, which is not something we generally talk about, but it’s a common struggle. I’m hoping to have another book out by the end of the year which may be the last in this series, but not my last book.
Any other projects that you want to share?
I’m trying to write regularly on my blog: http://dvineinsights.blogspot.com.
Another book project that I’ve been working on is a personal coaching book to talk about the different seasons in our life and managing transitions both personally and professionally. I believe we are either arriving, striving, thriving or surviving in this world and I’d like to help people manage those transitions.
You now live in Doha, Qatar. What differences, if any, have you noticed in the women there compared to those in the United States?
Well I try in my interactions to focus on the things that we have in common so that I can build bridges across cultures. However, there are some stark differences that you can’t help but notice.
First, the dress, the national attire in Qatar is a black robe called an Abaya which protects their modesty. The Muslim culture requires that women’s heads are covered and some even cover their faces, including the eyes, depending on what their father or husband (if they are married) think is appropriate.
While most of us can’t remember it, there was a time when Christian women in the U.S. dressed modestly as well, in long skirts and long sleeves. However, behind the veil, you still have women who deal with the same issues and have the same dreams and aspirations as we do in America.
The other difference is that there is still a cultural requirement here for single women to be protected or chaperoned when in an environment where there will be men outside of their family. This creates some interesting work related policies for those women who work outside the home.
How can someone contact you for workshops, seminars, speaking engagements and book signings?
I’m currently on assignment in Doha, Qatar until 2018, but I do come home to the States each Summer for a month and would gladly plan around an opportunity to speak to other women. I can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
To read Star and I’m Every Woman click on the links below.
Read I’m Every Woman
Valeria Saulsberry Edmonds is a believer, a disciple, a minister and a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has a passion for helping others 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.