Good morning, dear reader! This month we have a fifth Tuesday. Woohoo! To celebrate, I want to introduce you to Sonja Anderson.
Sonja, welcome to Women of Faith and Fiction. Please, tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a small town in northeast Ohio, with a twin sister and two younger siblings, in a Christian home. I loved to read more than anything, and characters in novels were like beloved friends and companions. I actually felt pained when a book ended and I had to separate myself from them. As a result, I re-read my favorite books many times!
College and graduate school took me to exciting cities like Chicago and Boston, and then my first teaching job was at an international school in Tokyo! I’ve been happily settled in Seattle, Washington, for over 25 years now.
Wow! Tokyo. I can only imagine your excitement. I know what you mean about the characters and beloved friends. I have favorites also. When I’m not sure what I want to read, I pick up a favorite. Sonja, this month’s theme is Peace. Please share your thoughts with our readers.
Sophie Topfeather’s search for peace is a major theme in Sophie’s Quest, so I’m delighted that this is your theme for the month! Isn’t God amazing the way he puts things together like that? When I think of peace, I think of John 16:33, where Jesus prepares the disciples by saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I also remember the song that compares peace to a river, and it reminds me that when I have Christ’s presence in me, I don’t need to react to the world’s commotion with anxious ups and downs. Christ steadies me and carries me, no matter what else is happening.
I am continually amazed how God directs our paths! Now, life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have peace? How did you overcome?
The two times in my life when I seriously questioned Christ’s presence in my life are, of course, as I look back, the two times when I found it the most difficult to have peace! The first time was when I lived in Japan and knew many lovely Buddhists. How could they all “be wrong”? I dove into a Bible study with friends and took God at His Word in a way I had never done before. When I read a promise, I held Him to it. By the time I returned to the United States, I was stronger in my faith than ever before and wanted to share Jesus with everyone in sight.
I thought nothing could shake my sense of peace again until I began to write Sophie’s Quest. I worried—could I discuss different religions in a way that respected the people God created and show Jesus to be uniquely Immanuel, God with us? I began to seriously wonder if a book like this should be written, despite the fact that I had felt clearly called to write it. My peace was shattered. One night, I was washing dishes and distinctly heard a voice behind me asking, “Are you sure Jesus is the only way?” I nearly panicked and prayed earnestly that God would clearly answer that question. The very next Sunday, I was visiting a church in Oregon, and the minister preached on this very question! Now, I work in a public elementary school in a very diverse community, and Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus check out my book every day. What a privilege and a blessing!
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Sonja. I know others who’ve dealt with similar situations. It’s good to know we’re not alone. True, God’s always with us. But it’s comforting to have a kindred spirit on our journey. 😉
In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?
My published novels are children’s fiction for ages 8-12, my favorite genre to read, too! I’ve also written several picture book stories that also point children toward God, but I’m still waiting for God to point me toward the right publisher!
My faith has everything to do with my writing. It is my dearest hope and prayer that kids will find their way to Jesus through these novels. In fact, I almost stopped writing completely when someone once challenged me to “leave Jesus out of the novel” so it could get published more easily!
I also try to point kids to the idea that reading the Bible is an amazing adventure. One of my happiest moments since the books were released was a day in my public school library when two girls (who had just finished reading Sophie’s Quest) began crying over who would get to check out the only real Bible we had at the time. To me, that meant “Mission accomplished!”
I would have to agree with you, Sonja! Thank you for sharing your heart with us today.
To learn more about Sonja and her fantastic book visit: