When Bookwifery began, I worked solely in a 1:1 capacity with authors. Now I develop supportive programs for individual writers and groups and provide the bespoke service to just a few select clients per year, usually through personal referral. Below, you can learn from a number of my author clients what working with me was like. I seek to infuse the programs I create today with the same feeling of companionship, discernment, and craft they describe.
Lauren has contracted her first book, Songs of Motherhood, with Upper Room Books for a Spring 2019 release.
I had never written a book before, and I had no idea what it would take to “finish” a first draft, from how to structure it to how many words were sufficient. I could have stayed stuck for months.
Christianne cut through my worry and uncertainty. “Write to the bottom of your well,” she said, “and we’ll go from there.” I could do that. I didn’t know what “done” for the book looked like, but I knew what the bottom of my well felt like. It was freeing. I finished in weeks instead of months.
After I sent Christianne that first draft, I couldn’t sleep. I hadn’t shared the book with anyone. I felt vulnerable, exposed, and nervous. What if she didn’t like it? What if I didn’t have what it takes to be a writer?
My mind was spinning, but I needn’t have worried.
Christianne’s response was validating, encouraging, and inspiring. She saw the potential of the first draft, and she recognized the book it could become. She helped to find the structure that would most connect with the book’s audience and that would be attractive to potential publishers. She named every moment in the book that worked, and she cared for my writer soul in a way that, when I did need to rework things or flesh out sections, I felt empowered to do so—opened up instead of shut down.
My book is an exploration of the spiritual journey of motherhood. I needed an editor that I could trust with both the editorial process as well as the spiritual soul of the book. Christianne was the perfect person. She is a gifted spiritual director and a talented, rigorous editor, and she brought all of her gifts to this project. Her edits respected and protected the spiritual content of the book, tended my own soul, and pulled deeper, better writing from me. Working with her has been a dream come true.
When I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I had no plan. I had tiptoed through the writing of it, riddled with insecurity and apprehension that I was walking through the doorway of a place I didn’t belong.
In her first round of edits, Christianne took the bolts off that door permanently and invited me in. She convinced me I was a writer, and she released me from any doubt that made me write from a place that wasn’t my most authentic self. I can still see her comments in the margin of that first draft: “Do more of this.”
It doesn’t surprise me that one of Christianne’s other “hats” is spiritual direction. She has the innate ability to ask simple questions that make you think complex thoughts. With her I could not only pick and choose my sentences and figure out where to put my hyphens, but also talk Scripture and break down parables. She prayed alongside me as I made the difficult decision between traditional publishing versus self-publishing. She told me what typesetting was and why I needed it.
I am so grateful for Christianne. I am grateful for the example she set for me, the encouragement she provided me with, and the role she played in the book that was born from that first sweet draft. This experience has taught me to show up, to bring what I have to offer, and to trust the miracle work to God.
Working with Christianne made my project shine. She offered excellent editing for my two booklets with accuracy, detail, and creative ideas. Her skills and teaching sharpened and enlivened my writing. But our joyful collaboration included so much more than revision!
Christianne responded with flexibility to my unusual project as we integrated images and shared digital files in new ways. Her fresh perspective and smart alternatives helped me make better choices for my timeline, concept, page layout, and even publicity.
Best of all, Christianne’s presence was a touchstone throughout my writing process. I always looked forward to her emails and especially our video sessions. She held faith in my abilities, kept me gently accountable to my deadlines, joined my spiritual intentions, and answered with timely and sincere encouragement when I hit the inevitable frustrations and blocks.
I’m so glad I invested in my writing by hiring Christianne! I never dreamed I could receive such empowering and compassionate help, and now I can’t imagine the success of my booklets without her work and friendship. I wholeheartedly recommend Christianne.
Jan published Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons in November 2015 and a new book of blessings, The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief, in November 2016.
As an editor, Christianne has the rare ability to see the forest and the trees. She has an innate capacity for helping me step back and discern the big picture of a book and then to attend to the details—all the textures and lines that form an intricate, integral part of that picture.
Her gifts and experience as a soul care practitioner—one who listens deeply and fully and well, relying on both intuition and skill—help ensure that both the book and the author will emerge whole from the journey of creation.
I love receiving feedback from Christianne because of her exquisite talent for doing what an excellent editor should do: she helps me sound most like myself. In a vocation that can feel quite solitary, I am grateful beyond measure for the clarity, wisdom, and companioning that Christianne brings to the creative path.
Becky contracted with Loyola Press for her first book, Busy Lives and Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life, which was published in March 2017.
My book idea marinated for years. After many failed attempts to get the book out of me, I was ready to put it on the shelf permanently.
I met Christianne through our mutual spiritual direction work, and we instantly clicked. She offered to meet with me to use her skills of compassionate listening and discernment to help provide clarity for the direction my book wanted to go. After our first meeting, I knew she was the right person to walk with me through this book process.
Her big-picture content edits were vital in helping me clarify the overall vision of the book. The gift of her detailed and honest editing helped me to not only turn in a professional book proposal, but also a very clean version of my completed manuscript.
Christianne was a companion for me along the journey and a constant encourager when I was in a season of doubt or hitting a brick wall. Her skills as a spiritual director and editor combine to make for a true midwife of both word and soul.
Christine Mason Miller
This is what I learned through the process of writing Moving Water and working with Christianne from day one: writing a book is one thing, and crafting a compelling, well-written book is quite another.
The latter happens in the editing process.
With Christianne as my editor and guide, I am now holding a book that one person after another after another has said they could not put down. On my own, perhaps my book would have been decent. With Christianne, it positively shines.
Jeanie has completed a manuscript about the transformational power of listening in everyday life. She is now developing a book proposal to pursue the traditional publishing path.
When I met with Christianne after she read my manuscript, it felt like she was nurturing and tending to a fragile seedling just coming up in the ground. She listened to me well, she affirmed my voice, and she got why I’m writing this book and what it wants to say.
I only wish I had taped our session because there were a couple of times she said something that spoke directly to the unspoken feelings deep in my soul around this book. She stated its mission statement in words I’d not yet expressed. She heard me at a very deep level. It reminded me of how powerful it is to be listened to in this way. She named the things I was feeling, all with tenderness, compassion, and excitement. Wow!
I was deeply encouraged. I feel the courage and excitement to start writing again. I am energized and invigorated for what is ahead. I know I am in good hands.
Rachel is writing her first book, a memoir based on her experience as a woman in ministry and of walking the Camino de Santiago in 2015.
I have known Christianne for about four years through our mutual work as spiritual directors, and I have always considered her to be a wise and compassionate guide.
About six months ago, I contacted her and said, “It probably sounds silly, but I feel like there is a book growing inside me, just waiting to be born!”
As you may have guessed, this didn’t seem silly to her at all.
Although I have written articles, blog posts, and sermons for most of my professional life, I have never written a book and the thought of doing so seemed daunting. Having Christianne help me break down the process, set reasonable goals, and check in with me is the main reason I am still writing.
Birthing something new can be a vulnerable and lonely process. Working with Christianne has dramatically increased my confidence and sense of fulfillment in the writing process. I can trust her to tell me when something needs to be cut, and when she says, “Keep going,” I know I can.
I am so grateful that Christianne was willing to work with me from the moment of conception and look forward to seeing what the book we birth together will look like.
Jenn is working on a book about the postures and practices of spiritual formation, in support of her creation of the Sacred Ordinary Days planner.
Jenn Giles Kemper
Christianne's training and giftedness as a spiritual director are such a gift to her work with words. She's present and able to hold space for the creative process. She's sensitive to the movement of the Spirit. As a result, she's a great listener. But even rarer, she is a great hearer.
In her listening, watching, and noticing, she seems to gather so much more than I ever realized I was communicating. While she is so experienced and knowledgeable in idea-shaping, writing, editing, and book creation, what I appreciate most is her willingness to offer that with wisdom and humility—but within a set structure!
I'm not an administrator, and much of the work of a book is step-by-step tasks that need to be managed by a skilled project manager. You'll get that in Christianne, too. She'll graciously keep you on track and moving forward.
I cannot recommend her highly enough and am so grateful to be able to consider her a friend, colleague, confidant, and partner. I look forward to working with Christianne on many projects over many years!