Transcript of Interview with Lisa Hendey about The Handbook for Catholic Moms. This interview and others like it can be found at http://www.catholicspotlight.com
Listen Now to the audio version of the show.
The Handbook for Catholic Moms at The Catholic Company.
Chris Cash: Welcome to Catholic Spotlight. This is the Catholic Spotlight, the show where we talk about what’s new, cool and exciting in the Catholic marketplace. I’m your host Chris Cash, director of E-Commerce for catholiccompany.com, your source for all your Catholic needs.
And today in the Spotlight we have a very special guest. She’s been on this show before but we’re excited to have her back, Lisa Hendey. She is the creator of Catholicmom.com, an excellent awesome resource for all Catholic Mom’s out there and lot of Catholic dads too. But she has a brand new book out the Handbook for Catholic Mom’s. Welcome, Lisa.
Lisa Hendey: Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me on this show today.
Chris Cash: Well, thank you for coming on. I know you’ve got a very busy interview schedule. This is turning out to be I think probably one of the most popular books of the spring, so you know everybody out there who hasn’t got a copy of this in your hand already, you’re behind the curve.
Lisa Hendey: Well, thank you. It’s an exciting time for us.
Chris Cash: So, why don’t we talk just briefly for those who have not heard our other interview about Catholicmom.com, which by the way, look back in the archives you want to hear more about Catholicmom.com or just head on over to Catholicmom.com, whatever fits your style of learning I guess. But, why don’t we talk just briefly about Catholicmom.com and what you do with that and then, we can segway into what people are going to learn from your awesome new book?
Lisa Hendey: Terrific. Well, the Website Catholicmom.com, we’re actually celebrating our 10th year this year of being a Website and it started way back when with a lot of Website for Dummies Books, and the interest on my part to learn more about my faith and about parenting and family life. At that time my children were school age, there â€“ we have two sons Eric and Adam and both are teenagers now, but at the time it was before my husband Greg had joined the Church. And so, I really felt it’s a big responsibility to share our faith with those boys and to do that you know sort of on my own. I mean, obviously, in conjunction with the Church but really the primary responsibility for faith formation falls on us as parents. And so, I felt the need to sort of surround myself with support and building a Website seemed like a great way to do that.
Chris Cash: Now, what was it that got you started putting together a book? â€˜Cause you know putting together a book ah jeez I just think about it and I cringe. What made you decide to take the plunge and actually put a book together?
Lisa Hendey: You know I am so fortunate Chris that this project really is a dream come true. For years on the Website, we’ve had a Catholic Book Club and we’ve offered interviews with and reviews of different Catholic books and we’ve worked closely with the Catholic company to do that. You know to provide some support for all those Catholic authors out there that are writing so many great books. And so, that was a â€“ part of the site for a long time. And through those interviews and through those book reviews, I was in touch with a lot of different Catholic publishers. And one of those publishers was Ave Maria Press, which we â€“ I’ve had a great relationship with them for a long time in promoting their authors. And about two years ago, I was in contact with them about a different project and they approached me at that time and invited me to start thinking about a book of my own in conjunction with the Website and of course at the time I thought oh, my goodness, I have no idea how to write a book. I’ve been a pretty pervasive blogger for the last several years, but there is a big difference in you know actually putting a book together. And I was so fortunate that Tom Grady who is â€“ that we had of Ave Maria Press the publisher there, really kind of mentored me through the proposal process and set me up with my editor Eileen Ponder whose just I think the best editor I’ve ever met. And really they’ve been such a blessing to work with throughout the process. And they basically invited me to consider you know with the book what type of book I really wanted to write, you know whether that be like parenting book or as it turns out to be a little bit different from a parenting book. A book for mom’s but not specifically about things like how to change diaper, how to get a get a sleep at night, so. I know its â€“ it kind of you know turned into I have to say so many of the authors that I work with, they write their book and then they take it around and you know share with the publishers, and hopes that somebody will publish it. And I was so fortunate that that in my case it happened a little bit differently and that they were really interested in putting out a book, you know that would be in tandem with the Website.
Chris Cash: That prolific bloggers status does carry a little weight with it there.
Lisa Hendey: Well, I think that publishers are interested in working with authors who have sort of a platform for not only for the book, but also for continuing you know things that could happen after you put the book out. So, it was really a good combination I think.
Chris Cash: Yes, you know there is this dirty little secret in the publishing industry that very few people realize, but publishing companies don’t sell books, authors sell books. And if the author doesn’t get out there and sell it, which you know obviously Lisa’s in a good position to do. Its big â€“ it’s not that easy to sell a book if the author isn’t out there promoting it in some way. So, you know publishing houses are always looking for authors who have a venue to do that.
Lisa Hendey: Well, I don’t know any secrets of publishing, I’m just a mom. I’m a mom and sometimes a blogger, but I will say that my publisher Ave Maria Press has been just a huge blessing through the whole process. I mean, really to see how a book comes together. If you’re someone like me who loves books, its such a dream to be able to go through a process like this to see you know each step of the process. And including, they were so kind and I know my Facebook friends have seen these pictures, but they actually have the printing press right there at the publishing house. So, they actually went down, my publishers and my editor went down and took pictures of my book on the press as it was being printed. And including like the people who run the bookbinding book machine and turn the pages, and you know put the covers on, put them in the boxes and all that. All those people I got to see. So, this book has been such a team process from the very beginning and you know including in the writing of it, and to see that team effort even through the printing of it was just amazing.
Chris Cash: And of course, I sent you some pictures the other day, it is on the inside cover. So, it’s the first book in our first book catalog over Catholic company, so.
Lisa Hendey: I know, thank you so much to you and to Helen for that. It’s just a tremendous support you guys have given to this project.
Chris Cash: Well, it’s been given a real place of honor and I’m â€“ it will be the first book anybody sees when they open up the book catalog so.
Lisa Hendey: You know Chris, I â€“ its funny, because if it were just my book, I probably might be even a little bit â€“ I am very humbled by that and almost a little bit overwhelmed by it. But there are so many voices in this book that I’m happy for all of us involved that it will be you know it will be so visible to people.
Chris Cash: So, what was the biggest challenge for you putting this project together? I know you said it was very different from the blogging you know. Where did you find your biggest challenges and your biggest surprises in going from blogger to book writer?
Lisa Hendey: Well, and probably the biggest challenge came not necessarily in the writing process. But in my personal life last year I was diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer. And co-incidentally right around the same time that the serious writing on the book began. I had surgery and seven weeks of radiation treatments, so to do that while writing a book was really proved to me that the Holy Spirit you know had a big hand on this process. And because essentially, once the book was outlined and ready to begin writing, what I would do pretty much everyday during those seven weeks is put up a little post in the morning about what I was going to be writing about. And then, went of and dropped my son of at Catholic school, went to mass, went for my radiation treatment and then drove to the library to begin my writing. And by the time I got to the library, which was usually you know around lets say 9:30 or 10:00, I had a handful of e-mails and comments on my Facebook page, and you know posts on the blog about whatever the topic for the day was. And so, so many people were *intergrowing* [09:59], sharing their experiences and their quotes and their stories for this book. And that really helped to get through what probably could’ve been kind of an impossible situation otherwise.
Chris Cash: Now, how many different voices are in the book?
Lisa Hendey: Well, we have over 30 different contributors who gave us formal sidebar contributions and those are little essays that run anywhere from 300 words to in some cases like couple of pages long and that deal with the specific topic for that chapter. And basically, once I got approval for the project, what I did was just sit down and kind of come up with what I call my dream team. For each chapter, I thought of whose the person that’s the best you know that I have really admire both writing wise and faith wise that could best address this particular topic. And I wrote down that list and began e-mailing people and you know basically begging for them to be involved, and universally everyone said yes and came forward. So, those are some noted writers and in of themselves. People who are really bestselling Catholic authors involved in the project. And then, alongâ€¦
Chris Cash: Yes, who could turn you down Lisa?
Lisa Hendey: Well, they could easily, because they weren’t you know compensated for their involvement in this. And they basically did it out of their â€“ I think their conviction that what we were writing about was very important for mom’s. And then, along with all those form of sidebars, literally hundreds Facebook friends and friends from Catholicmom.com and from Sqpn.com and Faithandfamilylive.com. And they shared their thoughts and ideas as well. So, it’s really a collaborated effort, because with so many different voices you get a lot of different perspectives on the main topics.
Chris Cash: Well, why don’t you share just a little about what kind of topics are covered you know? What are people going to find when they open this book?
Lisa Hendey: Well, what they’ll find â€“ basically the book is divided into four sections. And the subtitle for the book is nurturing your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and those are the four sections of the book. And the Heart section deals with â€“ and let me say first of all, before I break that down too much, but essentially the main message of the book is that we as moms need to nurture and care for ourselves, so that we can better care for our families. And so, every chapter of the book has as a theme you know how that particular chapter fits into, how you as a mom can take care of yourself.
And the first chapters in the Heart section, all deal with our relationships. So, everything from our marriage relationship to our parenting relationships, and even we have a chapter on finding a faith family. So, finding beneficial relationships in the parish community. The second section, the mind section deals with everything from work issues like whether or not that be in or outside of the home, and to time management to family finances and things like that. And the third section is body and that deals with health and fitness and nutrition topics and how as a mother to make those a part of your life. And then, the last section which is my favorite part of the book is this old section and that really looks up the treasures of our Catholic faith, and how we can use those tools like the rosary and inner *** [13:37] your relationship with saints and mass and the Eucharist. How we can use those tools to nurture ourselves spiritually.
Chris Cash: And then, what is it that really differentiates this book from the other mom books that are out there?
Lisa Hendey: You know many of the mom books that are out there these days deal with parenting topics or how to pass along the faith to your children, and those are very important resources. Some of my favorite books that line my desk are books by some of the sidebar contributors. So the – this book that actually deal with you know those topics you know basic parenting topics that from a Catholic perspective. But this book is really for a mom, for her to take the time and the energy and the care necessary to really look at herself and really you know take the effort that it takes to you know nurture these traits in yourself. So, many of us are very giving and service oriented in our lives and we will do these â€“ you know we’ll make sure that five other people’s sets of teeth are brushed every morning. And that you know eight *** [14:52] schooling kids have their homework lined up and all of their vaccines done ontime and you know we’ll get our kids to practice and feed them healthy meals and things like that. But we don’t necessarily always do all of those things for ourselves as well.
Chris Cash: Now, what about the response that the book has been getting as it’s going out into the market? I know it hasn’t been available for very long at the time we’re recording this. But what kind of response are you getting from people who have seen it and had a chance to read it?
Lisa Hendey: You know I’m thrilled by the response and also, once again very humbled by it, because it’s been really positive. The advance copies that have gone out has been met with just tremendous you know very positive remarks, and I am beginning to get reviews from people that I really respect that have great things to say about the book. And interestingly, one of my first you know reviews posted on the internet is actually from a Catholic dad. I’m recommending the book not just for moms but for dads. This is of help, so. That’s an interesting thing that. And a lot of the traits in this book, well it’s aimed specifically at moms really deal with anybody who is interested in you know really nurturing themselves in our Catholic faith.
And I do want to say to that, one of the special things that we did in the book was to try to include segments for just about any type of Catholic family. So, the book has chapters for single parents and also a chapter on sort of special circumstance parenting, so either adoptive or foster parenting or families who have children with special needs. And how mothers and those types of circumstances might reach out and care for themselves as well.
Chris Cash: I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Lisa Hendey: I’m sure you would. And I think that actually there maybe a quote or two from your family in there, so. Iâ€¦
Chris Cash: Oh, there is. Well, I haven’t seen â€˜em yet. I haven’t actually gotten my final copy of the book. I’ve got a very non-descript looking advance copy, which you know when it came to my desk, I think it landed on my desk and it wasn’t there for more than ten minutes before my wife walked by and stole.
Lisa Hendey: Well, I’m sure the real copy is on its way to you soon and I hope you’ll enjoy it. I know that just from the way that it’s been laid out by the publisher, it’s incredibly user friendly for moms.
Chris Cash: Was there anything that was really surprising for you as you were putting this project together?
Lisa Hendey: I think part of the surprise for me was just how involved people got in the writing process with me. I mean what a blessing that was because I sort of was convicted that of the fact that we really needed a book like this. And part of the reason for that was that just for so many years, monitoring the e-mail that I get. And I â€“ some of the e-mails that I receive from moms out there, I mean literally will bring tears to your eyes. And with the level of you know frustration and difficulty that many women go through in their parenting vocation. And I think that Chris you work from your home with five kids around you and you can probably relate to what a lot of other parents are going through, and that – sometimes that can be difficult and isolating. So, I felt pretty convicted about the topic that I was writing on, but what surprised me was just how many people were willing to share their own personal experiences. And also, they’re â€“ sort of how they make this work in their homes. And you know this is some of the struggles that they face and how they are trying to overcome that in our homes. I think it really points to me to a larger â€“ you know to our universal Church at work, especially on the internet.
Chris Cash: And have you found that the writing process for the book has enhanced your own Website?
Lisa Hendey: Well, it’s certainly a blessing for the Website to have you know this resource pulled together. One of the things about the book is that at the end of every chapter, we include links to put in the Websites for whatever the topic of that chapter is. And so, certainly you know having a book like this that will go out to moms that points not only to Catholicmom.com, but to other great Catholic Websites out there. Hopefully, that will be kind of a directory that brings attention to my site but also to another sites as well.
Chris Cash: And have you recovered I know from the writing process? I know that for a few weeks there near the end of editing there was pretty much do not disturb sign hung out on just about everything.
Lisa Hendey: Yes, you know you probably could ask my children that. It was *** [19:57]. I don’t know if you â€“ you know I am not sure that you recover necessarily immediately after the writing, because I think as an author â€“ and this is certainly my first time as an author and possibly my last time, depending on how this book does. But one of the things that you learn is that you’re not â€“ your job is not finished when you you know finish writing, but now the mission of carrying this book out and sharing it with people began since. So I’m really excited about the speaking opportunities that are coming to me and the opportunities to write for other Websites and for other you know newspapers and magazines and things like that that you know hopefully the work that we’ve done on this projects will continue when I take it out and introduce it to people. So, I think that I’m eating my *** [20:49] and saying a lot of prayers everyday for that, for the grace to get through this.
Chris Cash: Well, I don’t think you’re going too much worry about the book not selling well, because presales over Catholic Company, I can tell you for sure have been quite brisk. It’s already at the top of our Home and Family book category and has been there for quite a while. So, there is definitely a lot of interest in the book. Like I said its â€“ if you don’t already have a copy of this book shame on you. Go get one, wherever you want to get it in our local bookstore Catholic Company wherever, pick one up. Butâ€¦
Lisa Hendey: Well, I just want to â€“ yes and you know one of the things, well, thank you for mentioning Catholic bookstores too. I think that’s really important that we support those local Catholic bookstores. And I’ve actually been working on the books like *** [21:40] on my Website and on that we’re going to be including links, all the Catholic bookstores that are carrying the books, so that people know you know where they can go locally to get a hold of that *artists* [21:49]. Catholic bookstores are a real treasure and we need to truly support them. But and you know asâ€¦
Chris Cash: And I totally agree. I always tell people you know look and look to support your local Catholic bookstores you know, because if you don’t support them, they will go out of business. Andâ€¦
Lisa Hendey: Right and that will be the end of I think books like this. But the other thing about this book, even though it says the handbook for Catholic moms, and a lot of the material is putting in anyone as I said before. But also, I want to challenge the dads and the men in your listening audience, and that if you have a special Catholic mom in your life then maybe this is the book that you go buy for them as a gift. Because a lot of moms may not you know take proactive action of doing that for themselves. And I think that with holidays like Valentine’s Day coming up and with seasons like the season of Lent coming up, it’s the perfect gift to give to somebody special on your life.
Chris Cash: So, you’re saying that you’re going to send me my Valentines Day present for my wife?
Lisa Hendey: I’m saying that a dozen roses well *** [22:57] and will cost more than the handbook for Catholic moms. And that I think that really some of the presubs in this book are you know things that are going to make a real difference in people’s family life.
Chris Cash: Absolutely. Now, do you see this being adopted for like parish discussion groups as it is setup in a way that it would be conducive to that?
Lisa Hendey: I hope so. I think it is. And I think that I will see that happening, I’ve actually began discussions with one Diocese in Illinois and they’ve invited me to come out next January and do an entire retreat weakened for Catholic women and their diocese is based on the book. So, they’re going to you know formulate the entire retreat weakened around the book, and I think that its really both for moms groups and parish Bible study groups and things like that, there is a lot of fodder for conversation in this book. And I also really just want to say it to anybody that you know has a group like that that please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, because I have a lot of travel plans for the next year, and if there is anyway that I can get to your parish, I’d love to do that.
Chris Cash: Very cool. And also, keep in mind that a lot of stores have bulk discount programs. If you’ve got a book like this where your parish is ordering 20, 50,100 of them, you know Catholic Company, we have a â€“ what we call parish products program, where we’ll work with you on additional bulk discounts to help make that possible. And I’m sure that there are similar arrangements that can be made through many other stores out there. So, don’t pay retail, get your order together in a group and bargain with it.
Lisa Hendey: Well, I think it’s â€“ I think that it’s a book that like I said will really bring women together. And I think that it’s a great jumping of point for a lot of different conversations that can happen. I could see you know there are 22 chapters in the book and I could see a week by week discussion about you know each of the topics and sort of how that fits into women in the parishes life together. I think that will be a great thing.
Chris Cash: All right, well, was there anything else that you wanted to share about it? I know we can probably talk for quite a while longer, but was there anything else you know? Running short on time here in such â€“ was there anything in particular you wanted to make sure that you said to our listeners before we head out?
Lisa Hendey: Well, two things Chris. The first is just to say that for people who are buying this book through the Catholic Company, if you would like your book personalized, we have book plates, stickers that you can request from me and I’ll sign that and send it of to either you or whoever you are giving your book to. Then I’ve already have some requests I’ve mentioned earlier Valentines Day, I have a couple of *** [25:53] that have been working with me to sort of surprised their wives with the gift of this book. And so, we did these stickers and you can basically e-mail me at Lisa@catholicmom.com with your name and your mailing address and I’ll find one of those and get it of to you. And if you want it personalized, just be sure to include the name of the person that you’re â€“ that you like to personalize too.
And the second thing is just to thank you Chris for the great work that you do. I mean, I’ve been an admirer and a fan of the Catholic Spotlight for a long time and as a listener, and then I have to say that as I still hesitate to call myself as an author. But as an author it’s really wonderful to have a venue like just to come on and to share you know and in more detail what some of the goings on behind them the creation of a book. And I just want to thank you for the great work that you do.
Chris Cash: Well, thank you very much. I think putting a show together like this is much easier than trying to write a big whomping book of course. And of course, you have a show too Catholic Moments. Everybody check that out, it’s over on the SQPN network. You can also find it at iTunes on Catholic Moments or over at Catholicmom.com. I’m sure there’s plenty of links there too, right?
Lisa Hendey: Yes, yes. Thank you for mentioning that and just thanks for the opportunity to chat with you today. I always love talking to you.
Chris Cash: Now, have you got any ideas for future projects in the works yet or you’re just trying to take a breath here?
Lisa Hendey: You know I have a few ideas and I probably won’t say anything. Won’t say too much about them, but I’ll ask for your listeners prayers for that and that god guide me to whatever the next step in my life might be. If that’s another book, then so be it. And there maybe something else worth seeing, but thank you so much for the time today.
Chris Cash: Well, you are very welcome. You have a great day and god bless.
Lisa Hendey: Thanks Chris.
Transcript of Interview with Lisa Hendey about The Handbook for Catholic Moms. This interview and others like it can be found at http://www.catholicspotlight.com
Listen Now to the audio version of the show.
The Handbook for Catholic Moms at The Catholic Company.