Today, I'm pleased to share my recent Catholic Spotlight interview with author and musician Jared Haselbarth.  Jared is the author of Promises to the Best Fish as well as the musical talent behind "Every Color Blue".

Q:  Please briefly introduce yourself and your family to our readers.

Hi, my name is Jared Haselbarth. My beautiful wife, Laura, and I are the father of two boys, Gavin and Maximilian. My wife and I are both from PA, and currently reside there - just outside of Philadelphia. I work at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary as a Dean, but also work for the Classical Liberal Arts Academy (CLAA), an elite online Academy for the study of the true classical arts curriculum ( I write coursework for the CLAA and will soon be directing all of their music and culture programs.

Q:  Please give our readers a simple overview of the plot of your book, Promises to the Best Fish.
My book is simply this: the story of a young man who must deal with the mistakes of youth and decide to love the woman that God has given him in his life. His efforts are hampered by his own sinfulness, the loss of his memory from a tragic accident, and his misunderstanding of true love. Yet his uncle and family are urging him on to respond to what God is offering him. Set in the mountains next to a beautiful lake, the story gives us insight into the struggles of youth in today's confused world and gives us hope that if one is open to God's voice, he can be heard.
Q:  Along with being a writer, you are also a musician!  Tell us about "Every Color Blue" - is this your first CD and how would you describe your musical stylings?
Yes, this is my first CD. It may be influenced by U2, since this was my favorite band when I was younger, but it ends up being just an easy CD to listen to - good songwriting and deep lyrics combine with some excellent music (wonderful guest musicians). Many references to the Lord, of course, but it is not Christian worship or anything. Just songs that I wrote on my guitar that came to life in the studio. I guess you could call it soft rock, or the singer/songwriter genre. Nothing heavy - just good music.
Q.  Jared, I know that you are a Seminary Dean by profession.  What motivates your creative efforts?
Well, I hope you don't have the impression that Seminary Deans are uncreative! Ha! To be honest, the Lord motivates most of my creative side. Over the years it has continued to be refined and directed towards him. I am not really an "artsy" type of guy - but I do have a desire to see beautiful art in the world. I think that starts with knowing the Lord and the reasons why we are here in the first place: to know and love him in this life and be happy with him in the next. Hopefully I am helping people to know the Lord. If not, I will try something else.
Q:  With a growing family, how do you find time to fit everything in?
It is the old Christian virtue of simplicity. It is my daily prayer that God would grant this to our family and we are making efforts to get there. No TV (yes, I am not just saying we don't watch TV, I am saying we have no TV). Small amount of material possessions. Especially key is an ordered home life. My wife and I center everything around the Liturgy of the Hours. This helps us keep our schedule and we just simply leave out the things that take away from our prayer and work. This gives me the time to do the things I need to do, although it is always a work in progress to keep things in order!
Q:  How has your faith impacted upon your writing and your music?
There is no doubt this is where everything comes from in me. My faith is central. It is also maturing. When I was younger it used to just be that I said I believed - you know, wearing the T-shirts, being vocal about Jesus, telling people that I loved God and the Church. Now, it is taking on a deeper character in my life. As a husband, I am now at the head of a family - it is my responsibility to bring my family to the Lord. I don't take it lightly. My writing and my music are being directed towards this end. If I can help other families as well - then all the better!
Q:  Who are some of your literary and musical influences?  Who's on your bookshelf and your iPod?
Well, as I said, U2 was my band - by far they have had the most influence on me musically. I am not sure if it comes through in my music or not, but their passion and emotionally lyrics had an influence on me. I really don't have any one literary influence that has effected me. Although I loved Shakespeare and Chesterton and a host of others - my reading nowadays centers on the Bible, the lives of the Saints, and classical works from Plato, Aristotle, the Church Fathers, etc. I know, I know - pretty boring, huh? Well, my book doesn't read like any of this stuff. These works are the foundation for good literature - and that is why I am studying them. My book, though, is pretty easy to read and is enjoyed by youth as well as adults.
Q:  Jared, are you at work on any future projects now that these two have been released?
I am currently doing some musical work that I am hoping to come out on a future project. You'll have to wait and see!
Q:  Any closing thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

Yes,  I would like to offer you all an opportunity to help with a great Missions Outreach project. The CLAA, the Academy that I work with, is trying to raise money to help the Missionaries of the Poor (MOPs) in Kingston, Jamaica. These brothers work with the poorest of the poor - much like the Sisters of Charity. Anyhow, they are trying to expand so that they have room to house their brothers (it is the fastest growing religious order in the Church today), house volunteers, and create space for the many poor and orphaned. I WOULD LIKE TO DONATE ALL THE PROCEEDS FROM A PURCHASE OF MY BOOK OR CD TO THIS MISSION PROJECT. Please consider that even if this whole interview didn't make you especially interested in my work, purchasing it will help a great religious order care for the poor. Visit this link to purchase my book or CD:

Thanks so much to Lisa Hendey for offering me this opportunity to share with you! And thanks to those who are able to purchase my work and help the MOPs.