April 9, 2021
Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our IFW students. Today we are celebrating published author Stephanie Lape and the publication of her book Beckoned: Hearing God's Call to Deeper Faith!
What is the name of your book?
Beckoned: Hearing God's Call to Deeper Faith (Self-Published)
Give us a short summary of your book or article.
In Beckoned, Lutheran pastor and comparative religions teacher Stephanie Lape documents her lifelong spiritual journey. Beginning with a heritage of shame-based religion, she winds her way into, and often out of, five Christian denominations with ever increasing knowledge, trust, peace, and joy. Drawn to every destination by God, in each place she leans in and learns, in each situation she receives deep benefit, and for each experience she retains some of its gifts. Beckoned is a travelogue of one who hears God's voice, and follows it, into the realm of spiritual community as well as deep into the inner world of the soul. It inspires the reader to ask: "How am I beckoned? What do I understand about God, myself, and the church? Am I willing to grow even deeper?”
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published.
I have wanted to write a spiritual memoir for years, and the training through IFW helped me find courage to share my story. When I read Chandler Bolt's book, Published, it showed me the path to self- publishing. After writing the manuscript this July, I needed to learn the procedures of getting a cover design, formatting, and uploading the manuscript to Amazon's KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Platform. It helped to have a book launch team encourage and assist me along the way!
How long have you been writing?
I have always enjoyed writing—school essays, sermons, church newsletter articles. I began the IFW (then called Long Ridge Writers' Group) course on writing for publication in 2003, then put that on hold for many years as I entered seminary and became a pastor. Many years and five moves later, I received a letter from IFW, asking me if I wanted to complete the course! I did, submitted articles for Living Lutheran Magazine, and then turned to writing my first book.
What's your favorite genre to write and why?
Religion and spirituality—it flows out of me naturally
Please list the course or courses you've taken with us.
Breaking Into Print
How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
The course helped me hone my craft, grow in confidence, and learn the procedures to submit queries and articles for print.
Have any of your class assignments been published? If so, where and when?
Yes. I have submitted several of my assignments to Living Lutheran Magazine. They have published seven of my articles, and the first few of them were class submissions. You can find them here: https://www.livinglutheran.org/author/stephanie-lape/
Do you have a favorite writing tip you'd like to share?
Use fewer words, not more. Cut out adjectives and get to the point.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself in every stage of my life that writing for publication is not a Big Deal for someone else to do. It is an ordinary event that is for anyone who is called to writing. Believe in your own abilities.
Please tell us the most valuable thing you learned from your experience with IFW.
My writing teachers clearly did not look for me to say something specific. They allowed me to use my own voice, my own words, my own style, and my own pace. This grew my confidence that I knew more than I thought I did—and the relaxation that followed allowed me to trust my voice so much more.
Is it too late (or are you too old) to begin writing for publication?
Absolutely not! What else are you going to do with the rest of your life?
Stephanie Lape is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). A veteran professor of comparative religions and former campus minister, she now serves as pastor at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Stephanie writes, speaks, and teaches on matters of spiritual and psychological development, biblical studies, and comparative religions. She is a contributing author for Living Lutheran Magazine and author of Beckoned: Hearing God's Call to Deeper Faith. www.stephanielape.com