CM: Therese, thanks for taking the time to
participate in this book spotlight! Could you please tell us a little bit
about your own journey in the Catholic Church and about your family?
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a very Catholic family with a mom who
introduced me to wonderful traditions, rituals, and stories of the faith. I
have always been intrigued by religion, in general, and by the Catholic
faith. In high school, I composed prayers to be read over the speaker in the
morning and was in charge of school liturgies. Throughout my four years at
Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, I took a variety of theology
courses, majoring in religious studies, and continued to organize and
participate in school liturgies. I then went on to earn a master’s degree in
theology from Notre Dame and began working in the field of religious
CM: How did your series of "I Like" Books get its
start? Could you describe your process for compiling and editing the books?
The “I Like” series began with a comment sociologist and novelist Andrew
Greeley made on a Phil Donahue show. He mentioned some official church
teaching with which he disagreed, and a member of the audience shouted,
“Then why don’t you leave the church?” His spontaneous response: “I like
At the time, Michael Leach, who was the publisher of The Crossroad
Publishing Company and a friend of Greeley’s ask Andrew to write a book
based on his comment and the New York Times article that he penned as a
result. When Greeley offered a fantastic essay, but said he didn’t have the
time to write an entire book, Mike pulled me on board, since I had worked on
several compilations for Crossroad. With Mike’s publishing experience, and
my young-adult angle, we found a chemistry that made each page sparkle.
Eventually, Doubleday offered us a contract, and the book was a resounding
success. The next book in the series was
I Like Being Married, a topic
near and dear to both Mike and me. Mike then published “I Like Being American: Treasured Traditions, Symbols, and Stories,” a wonderful celebration of our nation’s rich heritage; and a year
later my book,
I Love Being a Mom, was released.
For each of the books, Mike and I asked hundreds of people a variety of
questions. We scanned hundreds of biographies, autobiographies, and magazine
interviews of celebrities and renown authors with something important to say
on the matter. We looked everywhere for golden nuggets to include. For each
topic, we identified key themes, and aimed for a balance of poignant
content, sweet sentiments, and fun humor that would engage readers.
CM: What is the message of your books? What would
you hope that the readers would learn from reading them?
Each message is different, but all the books celebrate the traditions,
rituals, and stories that are ingrain to the experience—of Catholicism, of
marriage, of America, of motherhood. In each book, we provide a window into
the lives of both famous and non-famous people who love the faith, marriage,
America, or motherhood.
CM: Which of the books is your personal favorite
Yikes. That’s a tough one. They are like children. I can’t really pick. Each
has facets that I enjoy and cherish. As the first in the series, “I
Like Being Catholic,” holds a special place in my heart. It introduced some key
themes and a certain rhythm found in all the books. As a relatively new
bride, I learned a great deal from the couples in “I
Like Being Married,”
that had already celebrated their 25th or even 50th anniversaries. And as a
new mom, I couldn’t read enough about the lives of American moms. Becoming a
mom transformed me in ways I didn’t think was possible, so I was excited to
share my story and other moms’ essays with readers.
CM: Do you have plans for future projects or
anything currently in the works that you'd like to share with our readers?
Right now I’m just trying to catch up on sleep. Eight-month-old Katherine
still wakes a few times during the night, which means I’m not worth much
during the day. And the piles of laundry can be seen from space.
CM: Therese, thanks again for participating in this
interview. Are there any closing thoughts or comments you'd like to share
with our readers?
I’m just very appreciate of your site and of every one of my readers. I have
always dreamed of becoming a writer, and that only happened because of
people like you and your readers, who are interested in what I have to say.
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