I grew up reading Newberry winner Betsy Byars‘ books (the mom of these beautiful ladies on the left). Read them to my children, too. (I always liked the name Betsy. It’s my sweet daughters name!)
Imagine my excitement to discover the daughters of Betsy Byars-Betsy Duffey and sister Laurie Myers-had teamed up with their mother to write more children’s books and the two continued on as the “Writing Sisters.” They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels.
Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers (above left) have teamed up with Howard Books and have published their first book for adults, “THE SHEPHERD’s SONG,” an inspirational novel about second chances. LOVED IT! (See my review below).
The Shepherd’s Song: Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper–a copy of Psalm 23–as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.” Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational marathon, this humble message forever changes the lives of twelve very different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures. With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.
WRITING SISTERS AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Holly: What inspired you to come up with this fantastic book idea?
Betsy & Laurie: The idea for The Shepherd’s Song began in a small coffee shop in Madison, Georgia, where we meet every week to write. That morning we prayed for God to reveal our next writing project. Up till that time we had written children’s books individually and together and we thought we had come to the coffee shop to plan our next children’s book. Betsy had read the 23rd Psalm that morning in her quiet time that day. We had both committed our writing to God and began to think the Psalm would be a good subject for a book. The problem was we couldn’t see it as a children’s book. As children’s writers it was hard to imagine writing a book that was longer than 64 pages! We knew that we could only do it with God leading us. The more we talked about the idea the more excited we became and we finished drafts of the first two stories that day.
Holly: The characters and places seem so real. Tell me about your research?
Betsy & Laurie: The physical traits of the characters come from people that we see, a stranger on the street or people that we know. The emotions of the character come from our own feelings. Since we were writing about people in different cultures we used readers from each culture to guide us and help to stay true. The locations were fun to research. We used some familiar locations in the book, Laurie had recently visited Italy and Betsy lived several years in Turkey. The others we explored through video and pictures.
Holly: What is your writing strategy, working together as sisters?
Betsy & Laurie: We discovered early on that we had to have spiritual agreement to have unity on the page. In collaboration there will be differences of opinion, which are good and bring growth and depth to the work. It is in the resolution of the disagreements that our faith is exercised. We decided that we would never go forward in any area of writing or publishing without agreement. We begin each writing session with prayer and are constantly submitting the work to God. Staying in harmony with God keeps us in harmony with each other. We can do more together. As we constantly try to align our work with God’s will, we align ourselves with each other.
Holly: Besides your mom, which writers inspire the two of you?
Betsy & Laurie: We have been readers all our lives from our first book mobile! During the writing of The Shepherd’s Song two books stand out as significant. First, Andy Stanley’s Visioneering. We read and worked through this book together as we defined our vision for writing and learned how to work together. The second book was Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge. We used this devotion together for forty days to develop spiritual unity in our work. We also love to read for fun and are constantly sharing books as we meet each week. Christian classics and contemporary fiction are our favorites.
Holly: Next projects?
Betsy & Laurie: When we decided to write for God we chose a verse to be a mission statement for us: We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. Psalm 78:4 We love using fiction to show how God works in the world and we are continuing to write using Scripture as a catalyst for change in our stories. Our next book focuses on the Lord’s Prayer and we are learning so much as we study and research this great prayer.
My review: Get ready for an inspirational journey across the world with The Shepherd’s Song, a well-crafted novel that uses the 23rd Psalm, written on a slip of paper, to bring well-developed characters and readers close to the heart of God. Like me, you’ll want to keep this captivating book on your nightstand with your Bible. After you read it, you’ll pick it up again and again.
The prose is exceptional. The characters, believable. The plot, inspiring.
My blog’s theme is based on connections. I love how Duffey and Meyers used the 23rd Psalm to masterfully connect the characters across the globe.
Though the twelve stories are short, the writing sisters creatively and ingenuously draw the reader into the lives of seemingly real people. Their emotional journey becomes yours as you feel for them in their struggles and cheer them on when they grasp the love God expresses to them through the lines of the psalms.
The Shepherds Song is a great book to give as a gift or to use for a Bible study or book club discussion group. I can’t give it less than five stars!
So happy to share this blog about The Shepherd’s Song after Good Shepherd Sunday!
The Shepherd’s Song