May 1, 2015

Two Moms, One Book, and A Way of Life: Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle Talk about LadyLike

By Cheryl Magness (with Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle)

Concordia Publishing House is soon to release a new book on female vocation, LadyLike: Living Biblically by Rebekah Curtis and Rose (Rosie) Adle. Considering that Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife is a blog about female vocation, it was a no-brainer to track down real-life sisters Rebekah and Rosie to chat about their book! I was privileged to have an early look at the book so as to write a review of it for a future issue of Touchstone magazine, and I cannot say enough positive things about LadyLike and what it has to offer Christian women who wish to live a Biblically-faithful life. The book is packed with Biblical and practical wisdom as well as a hefty dose of fun. It is a collection of short essays that readily lend themselves to the hectic and frequently interrupted days of many of our readers. We invite you to eavesdrop on my recent conversation with Mrs. Curtis and Mrs. Adle. In so doing you will get not only a preview of the book but a peek at the give-and-take of a special relationship between two sisters who are also dear friends.     

What was it like to work together on a book? Did it change your relationship in any way?

Rosie: Working on the book together was not so different from any other project that we’ve jointly undertaken. We know each other well, so we could anticipate how we would each handle our set of responsibilities and how we could best encourage the other in facing particular challenges. My sister’s work was that of talking me down from the writer’s ledge of despair ("everything I write is a flop!") many times. In such cases, she would simply refine a couple trouble spots to make the essay shine rather than end up in a virtual trash bin. I helped my sister by marking areas that might not be easily understood by the common woman. Our relationship didn’t change, but we had less time to talk about what was for lunch. That was too bad.

Rebekah: We talk on the phone every day. Our husbands call it the Daily Allday. Having a book to talk about turned the Daily Allday into a business call. We were untouchable at that point.

Both of us need help with different things in our writing. The nice thing about having your sister be your writing coach is that you're already an expert in dealing with her dumb ideas and terrible ways of doing stuff.

You are both married to pastors and in the stage of life where you are rearing young children. When and how did you ever find time to write an entire book? 

Rosie: Even though we are busy with our housewifery and child rearing, probably every woman finds some free time to spend as she’d like. If you commit to writing a book, as we did, it means less time for frittering. That’s probably not such a terrible thing, given that our usual frittering is not needed and not all that useful to anyone, including ourselves.

Rebekah: Kids sleep more than grownups. My husband and his mom are very generous in providing me with chunks of uninterrupted time to help me catch up on things occasionally (book-in-progress or no), so we were able to maintain our preferred level of chaos. Also, I quit sewing and I quit playing piano. I'm lousy at both of those things so that's no great loss to anyone.

You don't indicate in the book who wrote which chapter. Why? (And don't you want to give us a little hint? We promise we won't tell anyone. . . .)

Rosie: We made that decision deliberately. When there is strong criticism of some essays in particular, we can stand in solidarity and diffuse a bit of the blow by sharing it. 
Also, who wrote which essay is not relevant to the book. Plus many of the essays were truly collaborative works with sentences coming from both of us. Even those that weren’t written together were products of sisterly brainstorms. And nope, no hints! Nice try, though!

Rebekah: Two different faces, but in tight places, we think and we write as one, uh huh! But I definitely didn't write that one you hated. 

What would you most like your readers to take away from the book?

Rosie: If readers don’t like what we’ve written (and some definitely won’t), maybe they will be entertained by our writing style and our down-home examples. Perhaps even the hostile readers will be a bit amused? That might be as much as they can hope to take away, and the real grumps won’t get even that. For readers who do like what the book says, it will be nice for them to have fortified their convictions. They may also be comforted by the companionship of likeminded ladies and encouraged in their ride of the “counter-cultural wave” as one reviewer described our work.

Rebekah: Readers are likely to disagree with parts of LadyLike, maybe a lot of parts. I hope the book can still help them gain a better understanding of perspectives they don't hold, if they are willing. Many of these ideas were foreign to me at another time in my life, and some of them made me pretty angry. When I was going through the enraging process of having my mind changed, I felt like I was having a hard time getting straight answers to some of my questions. We did our best to give straight answers to questions of right and wrong, and thoughtful answers to questions of prudence.

What's next for the LadyLike ladies? Can we expect a sequel?

Rosie: My big sister can answer that. I let her call the tough shots.

Rebekah: Next: gin martinis. Sequel: when sales go kablooey.

Preorder LadyLike now at CPH. Also, be sure to look for Rebekah and Rosie on Pinterest, Facebook, and at the LadyLike blog.

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