Interview with Author Steve Akerson – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Steve Akerson

Author Steve Akerson is one of the Prayer Team leaders at Hosanna Church, which has over 6,000 members in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. He is very active in prayer and freedom ministries at Hosanna, for many years being a prayer and group leader in Hosanna’s Water Of Life ministry. Steve is also a lay chaplain at Hosanna

Steve runs a marketing consulting firm in the Twin Cities. He lives in Minnesota with his wife of 44 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Tell me more about your latest book

I am Steve Akerson – I call myself the “Accidental Author.” I didn’t start out to write a book; I was simply preparing for a men’s Bible study based on the book of Psalms. At first, my preparations for the Bible study included most of the verses of Psalms. But, by the time I got to chapter 20, I realized the chapters were starting  to sound alike. So, I started over, focusing on just one key verse from each chapter. I asked the Lord to help me select the one verse on which he wanted me to focus. And did he ever deliver! Diving deep into each verse was a pure joy for me. I couldn’t wait to wake up the next day and get to the next chapter, find the verse and study it.

When I finished all 150 chapters, I felt sad because I was having so much fun with each chapter. So, I decided to type up his notes and organize them into a form that could be published. And so, Joy That Renews was born.

The biggest story is what writing this book has done for my life. I have found out about the overwhelming goodness of God and the richness and depth of Jesus. I discovered that worship of the Lord is a joy-creator, as is thankfulness. I came to realize more than I ever had before that God not only loves me, but that he likes me, and is so, so eager to pour out good things in my life. This has been a great adventure for me. My biggest hope is that other believers will also dive deep and experience the same hope and encouragement from reading it.

In the midst of today’s challenges, divisiveness, and turmoil, we could all use a little more joy. Mary Nelson, a pastor and author agrees, “Nothing addresses the reality of the human experience quite like the Psalms, and Steve has masterfully captured key verses to ponder, pray and apply to daily life. As he guides you through each reading, may he deposit in you all that the Lord has freely given him and may you discover the true source of joy that renews.”

I think everyone needs more joy in their lives. I think people want to find out how to be free from sins, habits and addictions that have captured them. And I think everyone will be encouraged by better understanding the goodness of the Lord and see how that goodness extends to them and can turn their lives around.

The writings in this book are a very hopeful and very realistic view into God’s desires for their lives. I think they will discover truths about themselves and the Lord that will get the excited. They will learn specific steps to take to gain new levels of freedom. And they will find the deep contentment that goes with living the life they have always wanted to live, but that has not seemed possible to them.

Mostly they will fall deeper in love with the Lord and see that he really is crazy in love with them.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

I had originally prepared about 450 words for each chapter, but my literary agent had me shorten each page to about 350 words. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was difficult for me to shorten each chapter as I felt like I was cutting important ideas.

But the more chapters I shortened, the more I came to appreciate his advise to me – because it forced me to only include the most important thoughts. I had to better organize my thoughts and get right to the key points, which I think improved each chapter in the book.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

This is my first book, so I have no normal procedure. I did choose to find a literary agent and a publishing company for the book instead of self publishing.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

For sure. This book came out of a weekly Bible study with my small group. I was preparing notes on chapters in Psalms when I decided to change directions and focus on one particular verse in each chapter of Psalms.

That decision changed the entire trajectory of the Bible study for me, and led to the publishing of Joy That Renews. I had no thought of writing a book as I was doing the study of the individual verses.

How many books have you written so far?

One, it is called Joy That Renews

What’s the best way to market your books?

I’m using Goodreads, LinkedIn and Facebook – posts I put on these sites and then posts people who have read the book make on these sites to talk about a particular chapter that was especially meaningful to them.

I will soon take delivery of 3,000 books. My hope/plan is to sell books myself through my church (and others), through more programs on Facebook and partnerships with other organizations.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

The writing of Joy That Renews was pure fun for me. I am thinking about the next book following a similar format, and I anticipate that will be very fulfilling as well.

I would not say I have a career in writing, as it wasn’t on my radar screen before Joy That Renews came to be. But if I can cover the costs associated with publishing this book, I will almost certainly do a second book, likely covering some books in the New Testament.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My book is non-fiction, so I’d say to write about something you love, or something you have a deep concern about. And then just write as a regular habit, a little every day. If it is not a joy to write, then don’t. Find a different subject – I think it takes heart to write – even in the fiction books I read I can tell when the author is engaged and having fun with the stories they write about.

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