The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, Bright's Pond Series #1The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, Bright's Pond Series #1
Joyce Magnin
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The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the story of an unusual woman, Agnes Sparrow. No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do-besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety along with various minor miracles not the least of which is the recovery of lost objects and a prize-winning pumpkin.

The rural residents of Bright's Pond are so enamored with Agnes they plan to have a sign erected on the interstate that reads, "Welcome to Bright's Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow." This is something Agnes doesn't want and sends Griselda to fight city hall. Griselda's petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward until a stranger comes to town looking for his miracle from Agnes. The truth of Agnes's odd motivation comes out when the town reels after a shocking event. How could Agnes allow such evil in their midst? Didn't she know? Well, the prayers of Agnes Sparrow have more to do with Agnes than God. Agnes has been praying to atone for a sin committed when she was a child. After some tense days, the townsfolk, Griselda, and Agnes decide they all need to find their way back to the true source of the miracles-God.

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Joyce MagninJoyce Magnin "I always knew I was a writer, ever since the third grade, yet I am astonsished everyday that my dream has come true. It's been an amazing, terrible, wonderful experience and I cannot imagine anything else I would rather do. It's a prvilege."

Favorite verse: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


 Our interview with Joyce Magnin


What is your favorite Bible verse?

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

How did you get started as a Christian fiction writer?

I had been doing some writing but I had no clue what to do with it. At the time I didn't even know there was such a thing as CBA or Christian Fiction etc. Then one day I saw a small blurb in our local paper announcing a meeting for The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship. And I thought, um, I'm a Christian, I write, I could use some Fellowship, and I went and got involved.

What inspired the concept for The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow?

I'm not sure, not really. The story came to me and went through several permutations of how to write it until I finally decided that it needed to be funny and poignant and BAM! It just took off.

Is any part of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow factual?  

Some of the place names are factual. Readers, especially folks in the Northeast will recognize, Scranton and Wilkes Barre, and most folks know the Poconos and Jack Frost.

How closely is The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow based on your life experiences? 

Well, I grew up in a church very similar to the Bright's Pond Church. We had quirk out the windows, pot-lucks and zaniness. Hellfire and brimstone. Little did they know I was watching and thinking, um, I'm going to use this someday.

How did you choose the location for the setting?

I love small towns. I love the mountains of Pennsylvania, although I have often been mistaken for a Southern Writer. I like to think of my books as being written by a Yankee with Southern charm.

How long did The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow take you to complete?

I know it's cliché but about nine months.

Do you have a favorite character in The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow? Why?


Oh, boy, that's like asking me if I have a favorite child. But, I suppose I liked Vidalia a whole lot, Studebaker cracks me up, Ruth is a pip, but I suppose the character I felt the strongest affinity for was Griselda because she's simply doing her best to keep it all together. 

How much research did The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow take?

A lot, surprisingly to me. I needed to investigate small towns, eat a LOT of pie, go into the Wayback Machine and revisit the 1970s, and even research mortuary science a little.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing?

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow

Eye caps. Morticians use eye caps to keep the deceased eyes closed during the viewing. Creepy.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

 Time, mostly. I wish I could write and write and write but I have a family and a job and other obligations that often pull me away from my writing table. I wish I didn't need sleep.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Oh boy, it's Christmas every day I write. Sometimes it feels like opening gifts and discovering something wonderful and then writing about it. I like the exploration.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

I have no style. Not really. I sit, I write, I eat M&Ms, and follow my characters around pretty much recording what they do. But there does come a point when I need to stop, read the thing, about half way through I think, and make sure I have continuity and then I will make some notes on where I need to go and what needs to happen to get me there within the allotted number of words.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Absolutely. I couldn’t write if they didn't talk back.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

I am currently working on Book Two for Abingdon Press Fiction, entitled Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise and it is of course, zany and quirky but hopefully will pack a few punches of its own and readers of Agnes Sparrow might find some surprises inside. Next fall, I believe.


What message would you like your readers to take from The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow?

That's a tough one for me to answer because I don’t want readers to have a preconceived notion of what to look for necessarily but, I hope that readers will come away knowing that no matter what happens in life, God is the source of your happiness, contentment, peace, salvation. He's the one to turn too.

What is your greatest achievement?

My children.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To simply write as many stories as God allows and remain faithful to this incredible gift and hopefully make a whole lot of people laugh along the way.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I play video games. I love RPGs. I think because it is immersive and these games (not the real violent or nasty ones) have story, art, and adventure all wrapped up in one place and I get to actually feel like a character, make decisions for the character along the way. Um, maybe it's just an extension of writing. But I also like to take walks with my son, do needlework and eat pie.

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