Friday, October 2, 2009

The Man Who Wrote the Book on Humor, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of our interview with Jim Watkins, award winning author, editor and speaker. If you'd like to win one of Jim's books, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

Jen: One of my favorite writers’ resources is a compilation you edited called, “Writers on Writing.” It includes articles by Jerry B. Jenkins, Liz Curtis Higgs and James Scott Bell. My copy looks like a color book, with orange, pink and yellow highlights throughout. With all the craft and how-to-write books on the market, what prompted you to write another?

Jim: WOW is sort of the “best of” writing advice from a virtual “who’s who” in Christian writing. It was actually envisioned by Wesleyan Publishing House to use in conjunction with the conference they sponsor in Indianapolis every November.

WPH’s second writing book was Communicate to Change Lives, which specifically addresses how to write and speak persuasively. I think there is a great need for this book. I would go to writers’ conferences and learn the mechanics and marketing of writing, but never a class on actually changing lives with one’s writing. So I approached WPH with the proposal and they also felt there was a real need.

Jen: Do you mind talking a little about your somewhat unusual marriage, since you are a “preacher’s husband?” I understand your lovely wife, Lois, is the pastor of a Friend’s church. How do you like this role?

Jim: I think the motto on the Watkins’ coat of arms should be “Nunquam Normalis”—“Never Normal.” I was one of the very first full-time youth pastors in the 70s, lived in a girl’s dorm for six years (Lois was resident director) and have been a pastor’s husband for nearly twenty years.
There are the usual “living in the parsonage” challenges, but I am thrilled that Lois is living out her passion, affirmation and talents. She is a great pastor! So, I’ve been a champion of women in ministry in my writing:

Jen: Although your book “Squeezing Good out of Bad” is a comic look at trials, it squeezed a few tears from these eyes. Can you tell us a little about a few of the trials God has brought you through, and how His faithfulness has strengthened your faith?

Jim: The premise of the book is that believers use Romans 8:28 as a promise verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” But we don’t always go on to verse 29 and discover that “purpose”—“to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

And so God has used cancer, unemployment, family crises, chronic nose hair, etc., etc. to conform me to the image of Christ. And here’s the most amazing verse of all: “So even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Amazing, indeed! If Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience, then I can expect a whole truck load of “lemons” in my life.
(You can read about the challenges I’ve faced at

Jen: Thank you, Jim, for joining us today. Do you have any final words of encouragement or advice for aspiring writers?

Jim: My pleasure! Let’s see, I think it all comes down to: Write. Rewrite. Network. Persist.

(You can find a lot more writing resources at .)

You will love Jim's website, I promise, or your money back. It is full of excellent advice for writers, humorous and poignant articles, and wonderfully outspoken opinions on everything from sex to spirituality.

Leave your name and email in the comment section for an opportunity to win one of Jim's books. I will draw the winner on October 6th at 5 p.m.


  1. Ahhh, Jeanette, very good opening question about Jim's writing another book in a genre that's already "full."

    I also like Jim's comment about all the books about the mechanics of writing but what about the books on changing lives...AWESOME!

    Lastly, I so totally agree with Jim about us Christians using verses as promises without reading it all in order to gather everything. I feel this way about Pilippians 4:13, "I can do all every thing through Him who gives me strength." NIV

    I say that yes, we can do this, however, we need to know that what Paul says before that is key: "I am not saying this becasue I am in need, for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

    So again, yes, I agree that I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me, however, I know that I can do this because He has taught me how to do this wheather it be thru trials or whatever else He has to use.

    God has used, for me also, Cancer, adult bed wetting, flying and many other things to teach me to how to be content in whatever stage of life I'm at in order to do do all things thru His strength.


    mineheartspeak @ yahoo dot com

  2. I've loved this interview, Jen! In fact on Wednesday I came back to your blog and showed my kids the P-A-T explanation of gifts and we talked ALL about it! And I shared it with my husband too.

    Jim sounds like a gifted writer and speaker and I would love the chance to win one of his books. And if not, I'll have to hunt one down to read! Thank you! Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Great interview! He sounds really knowledgeable. Obedience through suffering. Not a popular topic but I think true. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jeanette,

    This interview was wonderful, for many reasons.

    Anytime I can learn more about God's faithfulness through the live and testimonies of his people I am blessed. Romans 8:28 is indeed a powerful promise to believer's.

    It's so good to know that inspite of us God will still keep his word. Great is thy faithfulness unto me Lord! Thank you!

    Blessings to you...

  5. Thanks for sharing this interview, Jen! I've not read anything by Jim yet, but now I must.

    I've often wondered how our pastor's husband finds his position, too. His name happens to be Jim as well. He seems to enjoy it though, and is heavenly involved in many groups in our church. I suspect Jim Watkins is in his too.

  6. Sure enjoyed Jim's interview. You asked him great questions.


  7. Hi Jen & Jim -

    You got to the heart of the matter with the observation about learning how to touch people's lives. I'd like to see more of that kind of teaching at conferences.

    I entered in the previous post. Do we get two chances?

    If so, enter me again. LOL!

    Susan :)

  8. Yes, friends, you have two chances to win in this drawing! You can go back to the post on Wednesday to enter once, and again on this post. I will draw the names on Tuesday Oct. 6th at 5 p.m.

    Thanks for all your lovely comments.

  9. Jim really opened my eyes to that verse in Romans. It's brought home a few lost pieces to the puzzle for me and I'm so thankful for this post! Great job Jen and Jim! The monkey from Wednesday wasn't so bad either ;)

  10. Jeanette:
    I have read the Communicate to Change Lives. I bought it last year at the Indy Conference.

    Please enter my name in the drawing for Squeezing Good from Bad.


  11. You did a great job on this interview. What a humble man he must be. I love the book idea on changing lives. What I would love to do in my writing.


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.