Monday, December 10, 2012

Letting another child loose

I well remember how I felt in April 2007, when my first novel Heléna was released. What had I done, I wondered. My baby that I had laboured long and hard to bring to birth was now being put out there on show for all to see and perhaps criticise. How vulnerable I felt! What if no one liked it? What if those copies stayed on the shelves in the bookstores and ended up on ‘clearance’ tables?

This past month, my sixth book was released—and I have discovered I am still not used to the whole process of launching a new baby into the world. Besides, there is an extra dose of uncertainty for me in it all this time around, for two reasons. Firstly, it is my first published work of non-fiction. So will those who have read any of my previous five novels be prepared to follow me into the world of non-fiction? And for that matter, will any of those people who don’t read novels be prepared to try my non-fiction offering?
But secondly, I wonder if some readers will find my new book a little too personal and subjective for their tastes. You see, it is entitled Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey and is an honest and intimate portrayal of my own journey with my wise, spiritual mentor and the warm, life-giving relationship that developed between us during our fifteen years of meeting together. Just as I did in my novels, I am still telling a story—but this time it is all true! And that makes me feel very vulnerable indeed.

Yet in another way, I am so excited that this baby of mine has been launched. Apart from wanting to honour my mentor, who is now almost eighty-two, I hope by writing my story to inspire those who read it to seek out a spiritual friendship for themselves or perhaps to provide such a friendship for another. And I also hope to encourage any who are facing similar issues in their own lives not to give up but to find the support they need to pursue their God-given dreams. For any of you who might care to here this spelt out a little more, here is a brief interview style book trailer for Soul Friend:
So now the challenge for me is to let this book stand on its own two feet, just as we need to do with any child as it grows up! The book is out there now—what’s done is done. And, since I strongly believe God was behind and in my whole journey of writing Soul Friend, I need to trust God will now use it to bless and encourage others and to bring about all the purposes for which the book was written. And I also believe that, as in the past, God will give me the grace to deal with any comments or feedback I might receive about my new baby, either positive or negative, to take on board what I need to hear and to let the rest go.

How have you found the whole experience of letting one of your ‘book children’ loose? Has it been a mixture of joy and trepidation for you as well?
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of five published novels – Heléna, All the Days of My Life, Laura, Jenna and Heléna’s Legacy—and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Her sixth novel, The Inheritance, will be released in 2013. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information, please visit or


  1. Jo-Anne, thanks for sharing your book trailer and I'm looking forward to reading your book in February for the ACRBA blog alliance tour :) In 2014 my first fiction book will be released. I'll be embarking on this new and exciting journey, and praying my book will be a blessing to those who read it.

  2. Congratulations, Narelle! That's so exciting for you and I bet it will be an excellent book too! And I'm looking forward to being part of the ACRBA blog alliance tour soon as well. God bless