Updated: Jan 25, 2022
David Bates, Matt Bush, and C.S. Lewis. A CS Lewis Podcast Pints with Jack
C.S. Lewis podcast and video series Discovering the truth & beauty of Christianity through the works of C.S. Lewis. Talks with Author Patti Callahan After Hours.
Related Post: Sept 28, 2019 Podcast Interview with Matt Bush
Pints with Jack After Hours with Patti Callahan.
Host David Bates.
Feb 25, 2019
Our episode today is rather special. I sat down with New York Times best selling author, Patti Callahan, to discuss her recent book, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, which recounts the Improbable love story between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis.
I was going to try and trim the episode down, but in the end it was so enjoyable I thought I simply had to post the whole thing!
S2E4: “After hours” with Patti Callahan
The quote-of-the-week came, not from Lewis, but from his wife:
“If we should ever grow brave, what on earth would become of us?” – Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain
Here are the questions I asked:
Q1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself…
Q2. When were you first introduced to C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman?
Q3. What prompted you to write this book?
In her answer, Patti referred to David White’s “beautiful question”.
Q4. Could you please give us a sketch of Joy’s life and the events covered in the book?
Q5. What motivated you to write a work of historical fiction, rather than a strict biography?
Q6. I did read some reviews which didn’t enjoy the format though. One of our listeners on Facebook, Christine, asked “How do you respond to the critics who dislike…[it and complain it]…is written like a fluffy romance?”
Q7. The most common question I received about this book concerned your sources. For example, Katie on Instagram wrote “You seemed to capture Jack and Joy’s voices so well, as well as that of her first husband… What did you do to get into their minds? Were there a lot of letters or diaries? Other primary sources?”
Q8. Listener Colleen asked what it was like putting, words into the mouths, and thoughts into the heads, of someone who still had living relatives. I heard that you met with Joy’s son, Douglas Gresham. What was that like, and how did it change your perspective meeting him?
Q9. Did you bring any of your experience with Cancer to Joy’s story?
Q10. One Twitter commenter described her as “Brilliant and flawed”. How would you sum up Joy as person?
I mentioned a tweet by Kat Coffin where she described Joy as “…a marvelous and deeply flawed woman.”
Q11. People react to Joy very differently. Why do you think that is? Even in her day, the contrast between Warnie and Tolkien was quite marked.
Q12. In the book you recount Joy going through Jack’s desk and sneaking a look at a letter which Jack wrote to Ruth Pitter. She objects to being referred to in Jack’s letter as “the American” and she’s jealous of the praise he gives to Pitter. It really reminded me of Lucy in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when she went into the magician’s house and looked through his spell book… …she is upset by one spell which allows her to hear what a school friend says about her …and considers casting a beauty spell because of her jealousy of sister Susan. Did you have that parallel in mind?
Q13. What was it, do you think, that ultimately attracted Lewis to Joy?
Q14. Katie, the listener whom I mentioned earlier, said that, as she was reading your book, she repeatedly wanted to yell “Joy’s in love with you, open your eyes man!” She wanted to know if you ever wanted to rush along their story to get them closer to their happy ending?
There was a reference to The Abolition of Man:
"In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Q15. Movies like Shadowlands have made their suggestions as to how Joy Davidman changed the life of C.S. Lewis. How do you think she changed him?
Q16. How has the experience of writing this book changed you?
Q17. Please tell us about your upcoming projects and let the listeners know where they can find out more about you
Q18. I’ll be giving away a free copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis. If you would like a chance to win…. on Twitter or Instagram, please post your favourite line from one Joy’s poems and tag @pintswithjack. After a week, I’ll pick my personal favourite and then send that person a copy of the book.
Join Matt and David every Tuesday morning, as they share a drink and unpack a chapter of a C.S. Lewis...
About Pints with Jack
Pints with Jack
C.S. Lewis podcast and video series
Discovering the truth & beauty of Christianity through the works of C.S. Lewis. Read More
About the Author
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction), BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Now a USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller. (writing as Patti Callahan).
The author is also the host of the upcoming seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launching October 1, 2019.
Her most recent novel, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, (Contemporary Southern Fiction) was released June 4, 2019, and is available now. THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella. coming October 8, 2019, and available for pre-order now. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. Author Website
Join the Journey with Joy & Patti.
About Becoming Mrs. Lewis
A most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.
Now a USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, and The Globe and Mail Bestseller!
From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.
In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.
At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.
Read More about Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
Updated: Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series (a seven part original series) with host Patti Callahan. Coming Oct 1, 2019.
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