Interview With Author Joan Luise Hill

Co-author of: The Miracle Chase: Three Women, Three Miracles and a Ten Year Journey of Discovery and Friendship

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)

After a 30-year career in health care management, my two friends and I met to discuss a potential new business venture. I thought between a banker, a clinical psychotherapist and myself, we could come up with an interesting project to advance our passions for improved childcare and health care for women and families. The result was a 10-year journey that resulted in the book The Miracle Chase. What I didn’t know at the time we first met together was that each of us had experienced a miracle. I mean, what were the chances?

Meb’s daughter had been brutally shaken by her babysitter at six-months-old and though she was completely blinded, against all odds, she survived. Years before, Katie had met and been rescued from the hands of serial killer Ted Bundy in San Francisco. And my 14-year-old son had just lived through a medical odyssey that in every other known person lead to certain and sudden death. We knew we had to figure out why and how these things could have happened, much less have happened to us, and thus our quest to understand the miraculous began.The necessity to make sense of these events led us on a quest to determine how miracles were viewed in science, philosophy, other religions, and cultures. What started out as an intellectual enterprise to understand the gifts we had been given became a tool for our survival as we encountered the break-up of a marriage, a cancer diagnosis, and a spouse’s near-fatal cardiac event.

How do you deal with creative block?

Writing with others gave us a semblance of necessity and timelines as we scheduled meetings with certain expectations. We were not used to letting anyone down or missing deadlines. It was actually funny when our editor thanked us for getting the manuscript in on time, as if we thought we had a choice!

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Writing about miracles is a sensitive subject. Striking a balance between respecting the beliefs of others and telling our stories was important to us. We didn’t want to force our opinion, we reported our facts and let others make their own interpretation. As award-winning author and WWII refugee Franz Werfel wrote, “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.” On the other hand, when we get an email that either shares a story or thanks us for sharing ours, it is pure bliss.

How has your creation process improved over time?

I think to be an author you need to have a certain discipline to be able to ignore whatever is around you and write. It is easy to become distracted with the mundane necessities of life and yet when you do words do not fill a page. Over the last decade I have become far more disciplined and able to brainstorm while exercising or cooking or relaxing and then relishing be able to sit in the chair and actually write.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

After our first book was out and we were on the road speaking with audiences, we were both thrilled and surprised at the number of people who wanted to share their own miracle stories. In some cases, we were the first people they told as the stories were sometimes difficult or confusing. By providing an environment where people felt safe, they were willing to become vulnerable. It was a huge gift. In the end, these stories became the basis for our second book on miracles, The Miracle Collectors: Uncovering Stories of Wonder, Joy and Mystery, which is due out in the spring of 2021.

A great example of balance between author and reader, was when we went back and asked many of the people whose stories are contained in the new book for permission to use their story. They were honored and amazed that we remembered and believed their story was important enough to share. It was a sort of validation for our storytellers, and to us it was reassuring and gratifying that we had captured the right note of respect and wonder.

Probably the most surprising thing, besides the great gift of stories we receive, was just how much authors need to be involved in social media and marketing. It has been an educational and rewarding experience that, in and of itself, takes creativity.,

What role do emotions play in creativity?

I think writing has to be from the heart, whether it is in creating characters and plot in fiction, or like our books putting your soul out there for others to see and dissect. Writing is so much more than just the facts; it has to encompass the feelings that we hide, as well as those we are willing to share. It is extremely personal. I often joke that readers will end up knowing way too much about us…but that’s the deal.

Do you have any creativity tricks?

Take a walk, talk to friends, look for ideas in the simple things that surround us. Sometimes we can overthink how we want to say something and usually, simple is best.

What are your plans for future books?

We are very excited about our new book that will be released in the Spring of 2021, called The Miracle Collectors: Uncovering Stories of Wonder, Joy, and Mystery. The book is a collection of stories we have been privileged to hear from being on the road and sharing miracle stories. The book is organized into three overarching themes recounting the stories that support them. The first theme is Becoming Aware as we must be open and present to where we are before we can see the miracles that surround us. The second theme is Deepening Connection you cannot talk about miracles and the defining moments of our lives without divulging deeply personal and important aspects of who we are and how we view the world. The last theme revolves around Finding Meaning and the notions of Miracle Courage and the Ripple Effect of miracles. The stories we share are truly awe-inspiring, personal, and heartwarming. We especially like the Take a Miracle Moment exercises we created that are included at the end of each chapter as a way for each of us to take the time to think about how we go about our daily lives and where it leads us.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I have been married for nearly 40 years and during that time have lived in the Northeast, the Southwest, the Midwest and on the East and West Coasts. I love meeting people and hearing their stories. With three children spread across the country, I spend nearly as much time on a plane as I do at my desk. I am afraid of heights and airplanes but some things are a necessary evil, and worth overcoming. 

www.themiraclechase.com