|Joan talks with mothers at a book signing at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan|
“It’s just so hard for my son to escape notice.
He’s so talented.”
This sounds like the bragging of a
proud mother. But Liz Foster is no ordinary mother. She
stars in a new novel written by one of our
own Regnum Christi consecrated woman, Joan Kingsland, and what the
protagonist says next to her son’s soccer coach might surprise
“Nobody can see. It’s imperative for Jimmie’s safety that he
The novel Ask Me No Questions is also not
your ordinary novel. “The plot definitely challenges the ‘wisdom’ of
our current culture,” she said, but she will go no
further in discussing the specifics of the plot. “After all,
it is a suspense novel!”
Not Your Average Nun
Joan, who is
a moral theology doctoral graduate from the John Paul II
Institute for Marriage and Family and a moral theology professor at
Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, Rhode Island, has always wanted
to do two things -- give her life to Jesus
Christ and to teach.
As a young child, she told
her mother that she wanted to be a “nun-teacher.” Her
mother prophetically predicted she would do just that, but in
a new and unique way.
“Years later, when I met the
consecrated women of our movement, I was immediately captivated by
their joy and enthusiasm and their way of life,” Joan
said. “I had been ‘convent-hopping’ for some months and nowhere
did my heart resonate as it did here (with Regnum
Christi.) Then I recalled my mother’s prophetic words that I
hadn’t thought about for years.”
Joan decided to become consecrated in
the RC Movement during the summer of 1992. Since then,
she has not only been teaching moral theology, but finding
time to use her talents for the purposes of evangelization
through fiction. With her first novel Joan hopes not only
to entertain, but to educate others in the moral teachings
of the Church.
|The front and back cover of Joan Kingsland's novel, Ask Me No Questions.|
TOB Runs Through It
She said she is
greatly in debt to Blessed John Paul II.
“John Paul II
was a model of holiness for me, a great teacher
of the faith, not only by his words but by
the example of his life,” she said. “My studies (at
the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family) connect
to this novel since at its heart are a loving
family and a love story.”
Joan said that John Paul II’s
Theology of the Body influences the story and the choices
of its main characters. Joan said readers familiar with Church
teaching will see this in the behavior of Liz Foster
in how she handles relationships and educates her children.
not familiar with the Theology of the Body, Joan explains
that, according to John Paul II, physical intimacy between a
man and a woman has an inherent meaning of total
self-giving, and a person can tell the “truth” or “lie”
through the actions of his or her body.
Joan cautions that when readers first meet Liz Foster, they
won’t like her.
“You’ll put her down as a neurotic,
over-protective mother,” she said. “There’s something akin between her and
Jerry Fletcher played by Mel Gibson in the movie Conspiracy
Joan predicts readers will like Liz’s young son Mikey
best because he focuses his brilliance on two things: protecting
his family against those who killed his father and contriving
chance meetings between his brother’s coach, David Johnston, and his
The book also contains characters of much more unsavory nature,
but details, once again, would give too much away.
Joan said she writes whenever she can. “Writing (fiction stories)
reenergizes me, so getting the time in helps keep me
|Joan talks with girls from Everest Collegiate Girls High School about her novel. She also visited the Queen of the Family Retreat Center in Oxford, MI, and locations in Milton, Ontario; Pittsford, NY and Canadaigua, NY.|
productive in other areas,” she said. She wrote this particular
story “in snatches,” on and off for three years. “Where
there’s a will there’s a way,” she said.
Putting Ask Me
No Questions down on paper has been fairly easy for
Joan. “I didn’t get writer’s block until near the end
of the story,” she admits. “For each scene I would
just wonder, ‘What happens next?’ and then it seemed to
me that the story would unfold in my head as
if I was merely a passive observer.
“For the end
of the book, though, it was like the television wouldn’t
go on. I would try to ‘watch’ what happened but
saw nothing. Then one day it came to me in
After finishing the story in 2009, the RC consecrated
women decided to publish Joan’s book through Mater Ecclesiae College.
So far the response has been positive.
“Both adults and high
school students are enjoying it, they tell me,” she said.
Interestingly, Joan said she didn’t intend this story to be
a novel at first. “My real goal was to write
Because the 50 short chapters can easily correspond
to movie scenes, Joan has just finished a rough draft
of the screenplay and sent it for feedback and advice
to a friend working in the movie industry.
Joan advises new writers to be patient, and to
count on others for helpful feedback.
“I’m deeply indebted to
my consecrated companions for their constant interest and encouragement,” she
said. “I spent hours telling the story over and over
again, always welcoming their feedback. In particular, one of the
consecrated, Lisa, was of immense help. I would give her
the chapters as I wrote them. She heard me telling
the whole story and already had a grasp of the
characters. She made all sorts of helpful observations.
had Liz’s son Jimmie saying disrespectful things about his mother,”
Joan said. “But Lisa told me, ‘Jimmie would never treat
his mother that way!’ It made me laugh how she
defended a character of my own making to me. But
I realized she was right, and I adjusted the story.”
Those interested in finding out more about Ask Me No
Questions and want to know just how the story turns
out can go to www.rcmusicnow.org to order a copy.
(The ISBN number is 978-0-692-01410-3.) All proceeds support the consecrated
women of Regnum Christi and Mater Ecclesiae College.
Please Note –
Joan has recently completed a non-fiction book called You Make
Me Mad: A Christian Approach to Overcoming Anger. She submitted
the work to the Word Alive Press Contest for
Canadian authors and was named among the contest “shortlist” finalists.
Her submission scored 18/20 in a field of about 200
non-fiction and fiction entries. Congratulations Joan!