Colleen Carroll Campbell
My Sisters the Saints
On Sale October 30, 2012
Photo credit: Amber Montgomery
What are your favorite hobbies?
My life and the way I spend my time have changed rather dramatically in the last few years, andI’ll let readers get the full story on that in my book,
My Sisters the Saints
. But in terms of perennial favorites, I have always loved to travel and to read. The travel bug probably stemsfrom a combination of my Irish wanderlust genes and a peripatetic childhood – by the time Iturned 18, I had already lived in seven states, with more moves to come. The passion for readingalso comes by way of my childhood and my family. And I think the two are connected. Bothtraveling and reading take you to new places, introduce you to new people, flavors, and vantagepoints, and leave you changed as a result. That’s very much what happens in contemplativeprayer, too, which is probably why visiting the cozy little Eucharistic adoration chapel at myparish is one of my favorite hobbies, too, if you can call it that.
Do you have a patron saint of your writing career?
St. Therese of Lisieux fills that role for me. I love how she interweaves very concrete stories fromher apparently mundane life with some jaw-dropping spiritual insights, the sort you can miss thefirst time you read her book. One can critique her style – she’s certainly no Hemingway-esqueminimalist and even her fans concede that her flowery prose can be distracting – yet her
Story of a Soul
remains one of the world’s most beloved spiritual classics. I love that she wrote itunder obedience, in fits and starts, while juggling chores, battling illness, and living in a drafty,damp convent with housemates whose crankiness and idiosyncrasies tested her patience. Ifigure Therese knows a little something about writers who labor in less-than-idealcircumstances.Another favorite of mine is Flannery O’Connor. Her fiction is dark, often comically so, and has agenius all its own. But I felt drawn to Flannery primarily through reading her letters in
Habit of Being
. She saw so clearly the vocation of a writer, its perils and challenges, and the necessity forChristians who are writers to aim for artistic excellence and not merely pious mediocrity. Herfaith was genuine and profound, and the grace with which she fought her 12-year battle withlupus was truly inspiring. But she was also quirky and wickedly funny – something I appreciatedeven more after visiting her homes in Georgia, seeing her peacock-infested farm in Andalusiaand the Savannah townhome where she made national news as a six-year-old by teaching her