At long last I’m finally getting around to talking to Suzanne Clevenger about her new book, Pastures of Hope. I’m ashamed of myself for taking so long. The book is doing very well and many have enjoyed receiving inspiration from these women’s stories of courage.
Suzanne, welcome and congratulations. Where did you get your idea for Pastures of Hope?
Life. I consider myself an inspirational writer and have learned that God never wastes a moment of our life experiences. He wants us to grow from them whether they are good or bad, and hopefully we can share those experiences with others to help them grow as well.
Where did you find these courageous women?
As I’ve ministered to women over the past twenty years or so, I’ve found they all have one thing in common. They are all looking for hope to get them through a difficult ordeal. Many of them have given me permission to tell their stories to others in order to let them know they are not alone. I also find great inspiration from the Bible. I am impacted by the relevancy of the Scriptures in today’s world. It doesn’t matter what we’re dealing with: finances, child rearing, marriage, pain, joy, loss, success, conflict, betrayal or renewal—it’s all covered between the pages of the Bible.
Besides the Bible and Pastures of Hope, what other books would you recommend to people seeking guidance?
Many authors are good at that, but Anne Graham Lotz is one who never ceases to amaze me in her writings. She seems to always hit the target dead center. Jill Briscoe is another one. I own many of their books and have had several opportunities to sit under their teachings in person. The devotional that really helped turn my life around is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
It must have been very satisfying to have your book published and be received so well.
Seeing the finished book, and my name on the cover—Wow! Can it get any better than that? And then there are the wonderful reviews I’m receiving from people who’ve read it. I’m humbled by the whole thing. Never in a million years would I have thought this could happen for me.
The first rewarding experience was working through the process itself. It takes a lot of discipline to make the effort and time to write, and I’m not very good at that. I have so many interests and it’s easy to become way too distracted during the day.
When you’re not writing, what occupies you days?
Besides writing, I enjoy working in our gardens, quilting and knitting. However the best times are those spent with our family. Three of our grandchildren will turn twenty this year. We know our quality time with them is growing short. They’ll soon be off on their own and starting their own families.
My husband, Ron, and I have a blended family comprised of four children and seven grandchildren. After experiencing previous marriages and divorces, we’ve learned over time that there are consequences of divorce that we’d never considered, and that divorce was never in God’s plan. But, once again, God used our past mistakes to turn them around for His use and glory. Today we have a rewarding ministry reaching out to couples facing difficulty in their respective marriages. We use biblical principles and have seen some wonderful reconciliations take place.
What is your next project?
It’s a memoir. Now I’m writing about what it was like for me as a little girl growing up in the 40’s and 50’s. It was such a different time for children than now. Life was simpler for us on so many levels. I’m doing this primarily for my children and grandchildren, but someone pointed out to me just today that others may be interested too.
As for anything beyond that, I’m not sure. So many ideas flow through my head all the time. That’s just part of the creative process. Eventually it will all settle down and a new story will emerge. Until then….