This Excellence in Editing Award spotlight is on Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible by Lori Hatcher, edited by Rachel Kirsch and published by Our Daily Bread. It takes a team!
Irene Chambers, the director of Christian Editor Connection (CEC), interviewed author Lori Hatcher and editor Rachel Kirsch about working together and creating an award-winning book.
IRENE. Lori, how did you develop the idea for this book?
LORI. I’ll never forget the first time I read the story of Jonah. As a new believer, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The same thing happened when I read the story of Moses parting the Red Sea. And Daniel’s sleepless night in the lions’ den. The stories inspired and fascinated me.
But after a while, something changed. The fabulous stories became familiar. Their knockout punches became more like gentle pats—comforting, but certainly not seismic. To fight the boredom that threatened to lull me into spiritual sleep, I bought several women’s devotionals. Sadly, I discovered most authors seemed stuck in the same rut I was in. Their devotions focused on the same well-worn stories and verses I’d been reading in my quiet times. Zzzzzzzz.
Then I participated in a Bible study called Let Prayer Change Your Life. In one of the sessions, author and speaker Becky Tirabassi challenged us to read through the Bible in a year using The One Year Bible. As I began to read the whole Bible, not just the familiar sections to which I’d previously gravitated, I discovered books and passages I’d read but never really seen before.
Buried in familiar portions of the Bible and obscure books like Ezra, Habakkuk, and Philemon were dynamic, life-changing verses. Before, I’d avoided or skimmed these less-familiar sections. Now their gems shone with extraordinary brilliance. In the more well-known books, I discovered unlikely verses that sparkled with truth and life applications. Perhaps if others knew these gems were here, I thought, they’d fall in love with the Bible too.
This is how Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible was born.
IRENE. What did you enjoy most about the writing process?
LORI. I loved praying about the needs of the project and watching to see how God answered. So many times I’ve come to Him with nothing to put on paper, but after I acknowledge my need and wait, in His timing He sends just what I need. It may be an appropriate illustration, a clever turn of phrase, or a new way of presenting a concept. When that happens, I know it’s God. This reminds me to seek Him for everything and recognize that anything good that comes out of us is by His grace.
IRENE. What did you struggle with most during the writing process?
LORI. Accomplishing my writing goals without neglecting the important people in my life. I never want to lose people in the projects.
In light of this, I really have to prioritize how I spend my time. I work part time as a dental hygienist, am married to a pastor, and have four young grandchildren that live nearby. Each of these roles comes with responsibilities, and I want to be faithful in these roles. This leaves me only two dedicated writing days a week, and I have to guard those days. “Good” opportunities come up that compete with my writing time, but to be a good steward of the writing opportunities God has given me, I have to say no to most of them. Oswald Chambers said, “The good is the enemy of the best.” I constantly ask God, “How do you want me to spend this day/hour/minute?” and then try my best to obey what He tells me.
IRENE. What tips can you give authors about working with editors?
LORI. I served as the editor of a regional magazine for ten years, and I serve clients as a freelance editor, so I know what it’s like to sit on both sides of the editor’s desk. I don’t have to get into an editor’s brain, because I am one. I know I approach each editing session with a desire to make my client’s work as clear and powerful as possible. I want to stay true to their voice and maintain their intent. This perspective has helped me see my editor as my friend, not my enemy. If she asks for changes or clarification, there’s a good reason for it.
I encourage authors not to be afraid to dialogue with their editors. There are appropriate reasons to disagree too, but it’s never okay to be disagreeable. Remember that editors are people, too, with busy lives, feelings, and schedules. Your book is probably not their only project. Be patient and breathe grace, because you might very well need the same grace shown to you.
Finally, I encourage authors to pray for their editors. As soon as an editor is assigned to one of my projects, I email and ask if they’d be open to a Zoom or phone call. We get to know each other a bit, and then I ask how I can pray for them. And I do. I pray often that God will give them clarity of thought and purpose, time to work undistracted, and good health. I also pray for peace in their homes and good health too.
IRENE. What does winning the Excellence in Editing Award mean to you?
LORI. It confirms that God answered my prayer and sent me an amazing editor! It also proves God can use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. I’ve felt inadequate for every step of this writing journey, but God has supplied everything I’ve needed. The EIE Award reminds me that God can do immeasurably more than we can ever hope or imagine if we seek to honor Him.
IRENE. Rachel, how did you become connected with Lori?
RACHEL. Lori and I were connected through her publisher, Our Daily Bread.
IRENE. What do you enjoy most about the editing process?
RACHEL. It is a privilege to assist authors with honing their message. I especially love helping authors to more clearly communicate the truth of the gospel in their writing. It’s not a surprise that I’m a word nerd, but I’m also a gospel nerd. I have found that Christian authors sometimes unintentionally advocate for a Christianized version of behavior modification. But that’s not the gospel. There is nothing more exciting than helping authors communicate to their readers the freedom found in Christ alone.
IRENE. What tips can you give other freelance editors about working with authors?
RACHEL. Be humble and gentle. It can be tempting as an editor to slip into the role of expert. But the reality is that I’m not always right. The author has the final say, and sometimes my opinion is just my opinion. I try to hold my expertise loosely.
IRENE. What do you wish authors knew about working with freelance editors?
RACHEL. Life can be messy, and as a busy editor, pastor’s wife, and mom, I am usually juggling quite a bit. Patience, understanding, and a sense of humor are much appreciated.
IRENE. What does working on an award-winning book mean to you?
RACHEL. It was a pleasure working with Lori on Refresh Your Faith, and it’s an honor to be given this award. As a freelance editor, I work alone in my office. When a project is finished, I move on to the next. I don’t always see what happens with a book once it goes to print. It’s rewarding to get a glimpse of how this book has been received by its readers and by the judges of the EIE Award.
Thank you, Rachel and Lori. Congratulations again on winning the 2021 EIE Award for Refresh Your Faith! It takes a team!
About the Author
Lori Hatcher is a blogger, pastor’s wife, and women’s ministry speaker. She’s the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbia magazine, president of Columbia Toastmasters, and a regular contributor to magazines such as Christian Living Today and websites like Crosswalk.com. Her book Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time, won the Christian Small Publisher 2016 book of the year. Find out more about Lori and her well-loved 5-minute devotions at lorihatcher.com/.
About the Editor
Rachel Kirsch is a freelance editor and proofreader with fifteen years of experience with publishers such as Zondervan, Baker, WaterBrook Multnomah, Our Daily Bread, and Penguin Press. She has worked on 350+ fiction and nonfiction books, including titles by bestselling authors Cindy Woodsmall, Gary Thomas, Robin Jones Gunn, and Eugene Peterson. Rachel lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband and four kids, who fill her life with chaos and joy.
About the Book
5-minute devotions for busy women, unfamiliar verses, uncommon insights, and unlimited possibilities.
Just when you think you know the Bible, Lori Hatcher brings to light rich, life-changing Bible passages that will have you exclaiming, “Wow! I’ve never noticed that before!” Shake up your quiet time with these culturally relevant, story-driven devotions—one from each book of the Bible—spotlighting an unusual verse or passage.
You’ll be challenged to think deeply, step out boldly, and grow dynamically, transforming your devotional time—and your life!
Purchase Refresh Your Faith.
Be sure to enter the 2022 Excellence in Editing Award contest!
Christian Editor Connection wants to honor the teams behind well-written, well-edited books and is proud to sponsor our seventh annual EIE Award. Are you the author, editor, or publisher of a book published in 2021? Submit it for the 2022 EIE Award!
This award celebrates newly released books published by a Christian publisher or self-published by a Christian author. It is open to books published in hardcover or paperback in 2021. Books must be written in English, have been released in North America, and contain a Christian worldview.
The publication teams (authors, editors, and publishers) behind EIE award-winning books will be recognized for their dedication and work and may mention this honor in their marketing, promotion, and publicity. The most valuable aspect of the award is its use as a book-sales stimulator. In addition, CEC announces finalists and winners online. Winning authors and editors receive plaques and may choose from a variety of offerings in the Christian Editor Network.
Visit https://ChristianEditor.com/EIE/ for more information and to submit your entry. The deadline is December 31, 2021. (The entry fee is $35-40.)