Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cooking With Author Jill Richardson!

Author Jill Richardson has a new release, Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World (published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas Publishing).

Of course everyone wants to learn more about this book (the title alone makes you curious) and so we have some questions for Jill. But before we dive into the book, let's ask Jill about cooking since this blog segment is called Cooking With Jill.

Jill, welcome to this blog. Tell us, if we were to cook with you, what would you want to prepare? What is your favorite meal?

Jill: Cooking with Jill? That title alone puts fear in my heart. Because you see, cooking is not my spiritual gift. Witness the other night when I was distracted by a phone call from my agent and, rather than follow the recipe's instructions for adding evaporated milk to the crock pot mac and cheese, I added a can of sweetened condensed milk. Believe me--that is a taste treat that is NOT getting a write up in Martha Stewart anytime soon! We had to toss it and go use gift cards at the Italian restaurant.

I blame it on a Scandinavian mother whose cooking usually tasted like, well, something out of the frozen tundra. I just don't like it. The big exception is soup--I love to chop vegetables and throw a whole bunch of things into a pot to see what happens. I have no idea why. Maybe it's the catharsis of chopping? Maybe the creativity of putting all manner of things together and figuring out the outcome? I think a lot has to do with memories of cooking with my mom, where cleaning, peeling, and chopping vegetables we grew ourselves next to her has great meaning to me. I didn't cook much with her, but the two things we did together were chop vegetables and bake Christmas cookies. I still love both of those things.

Alice, since you asked for my favorite meal, here it is: a plate and sea scallops and angel hair with a great garlic pesto followed by creme brûlée. Given that it's seafood and creme brûlée, it would best be eaten either somewhere in Nova Scotia or France. If I had the choice.

So, I can share our favorite family pasta sauce recipe, which is not pesto, but it is good! Especially with garlic we grow ourselves, just like with mom.

Spaghetti with Green Sauce

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

2 T each basil, parsley, and oil

2/3 cup water

2 cloves garlic, crushed

salt and parmesan cheese to taste

Soften the cheese and butter in microwave, then whip with with a mixer. Heat the water to boiling (I put it in the microwave for a minute and that does fine) and stir in. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Heat and put over angel hair pasta.

Jill, that sounds great! Now, let's find out more about your book. Why The Hobbit? What sparked your interest in Tolkien?

Jill: Hah. Years ago,my brother tried to get me to read the books. He said they were the greatest things ever. I said, “Yeah, right. Don't think so.” Fast forward to years later when my husband started to read them to our girls when they were elementary school aged. I listened, saw the first movie, then picked the books up myself and devoured them. There is something magic about Tolkien's skill mixed with real, unforgettable, and deep characters, and a story of epic good and evil fought by everyday heroes. Who else would get away with such unlikely heroes? He manages to show both the greatness and depth of evil in humankind in this small world of his.

Tell us why teenagers would want to read this book.

Jill: It might seem that fictional fantasy characters don't have much in common with real teenagers.

But that is so not true. They feel inadequate, afraid, angry, proud, exhausted, hopeful—all the things we all feel. Teens are looking for their adventure in life—how do they fit in this world and what is their task? In Tolkien's world. It's all about tasks and unique callings; it's about normal, average people finding their place and doing great things. How do they do it? How does that matter to God? How do we learn from both of those things?

How could this book help youth leaders disciple kids?

Jill: The book takes twenty character traits everyone can relate to. It pulls that trait out of a Tolkien character and then relates it to the Bible. Can a teen learn about dealing with pride, frustration, or fear from Thorin, Eowyn, or Aragorn? Can she learn to find hope in hopelessness from Arwen? Can he understand how to channel his crazy whims from Pippin? Absolutely—and I have a few national youth leaders, college professors, and authors backing me on that claim!

What's here they won't get in the book or the movie?

Jill: A relationship between the fandom and the Bible. What is the unique Christian perspective Tolkien wrote with that may not have translated into film? Also, teens can see themselves in these characters when they study them individually. They have take home value.

Describe the process of writing each chapter.

Jill: Fun? A lot of fun. But other than that . . . I figured out what really stood out as far as a character trait or lesson for each person. Some were easy—some difficult. Then, where do you see that in the book? It was tough using only one quote! Where do you see that in Scripture? How can a person apply that Scripture to daily life? I tried to be very, very practical and fun while working with serious stuff. I think it worked.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?

Sooo hard to answer. I have to say I love Eowyn. I didn't at first; I thought she was too cold and discontent. But her loyalty and fierce need to do something important—I can so relate to that. Plus, she's a princess who isn't afraid to pick up a sword and fight for what matters to her. How cool is that? I love strong female models, since I have three girls.

How do you see teens, parents, and churches using this book?

Jill: Of course, it's a devotional, so I see teens using it for their daily (or sort of daily, I know what it's like) reading and praying time. Parents and grandparents play a huge role in finding resources for their kids and giving them to them. Parents, youth leaders, grandparents, any caring adults in a kid's life (and let's face it, some have so few)--should be seeking out resources to help kids build character. That's really the point. That it entertains as well—bonus! I can easily see youth leaders using it in a group setting, and I actually have lesson plans for that. Best of all—give it to your friends, kids. The ones who love these movies/books but may not necessarily think about God too much.

Here are the links for ordering Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World.

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Kindle

About Jill:

Jill's love for hobbits and elves comes from her time as a literature teacher and as a lifelong reader of great stories. She also loves an epic challenge and a chance for grace wherever they exist. Jill has a BA in English and Education and an MDiv in theology and is an ordained minister who has served as a worship, preaching, and discipleship pastor. She has published four books previously, as well as articles in national magazines such as FamilyFun, Discipleship Journal, and Today's Christian Woman.

Jill enjoys speaking on a variety of topics and has been very active on the MOPS circuit, as well as in junior high and high school classes. She enjoys speaking for retreats for all ages.

With three daughters, three cats, and (thankfully!) only one husband, she keeps busy otherwise with community theater, gardening, reading, scrapbooking, and traveling. Jill loves oceans, cats, chocolate, teenagers, her family, the Cubs, and God, not necessarily in that order.

You can email Jill at: jills-books@comcast.net

Visit her webpage


jill said...

Alice, this is beautiful! Thank you so much for such a lovely post. For anyone following the order link, you'll notice the cover is different. It's OK--it's the same book!

alice wisler said...

Thanks, Jill! Enjoyed your post.

Caroline said...

Enjoyed the post, Jill and Alice! Recipe sounds great. :)

Paulette Harper Johnson said...

Enjoyed learning more about Jill

Dana Rongione said...

Definitely an intriguing title and book idea. It sounds similar to a book I read, Walking Through the Wardrobe, which was a devotional based on C.S. Lewis' Narnia books. I absolutely loved it. Great post and best wishes!

alice wisler said...

Thanks to all, for stopping by to read.

Catherine said...

My favorite meal is a ham and potato recipe I found in a newspaper. Can't wait to read your book, Jill.