I was introduced to Kevin Lowry by another Catholic author I know and respect Dr. Kevin Vost. Dr, Vost contacted me and said I would love Kevin Lowry's book and he was correct. After reading the book twice I still find myself thinking about it and plan on going back and reading it again. I knew I had to ask Mr. Lowry to take part in my author interview series or 20 questions with an author. Kevin is a Catholic Author and business man; he is a convert to the faith. He is a husband, a father, and now a published author. So now Kevin and his 20 questions.
1. You have published your first book Faith At Work and have been on the board of directors for a Catholic publishing company. When did you know you wanted to write a book and how did you pursue that goal?
I credit the existence of this book to my good buddy Mike Aquilina. He not only published a few of my articles in New Covenant magazine many years ago, but was a constant source of encouragement for over ten years before the book was actually written. He's awesome. I was incredibly grateful that he wrote the foreword to the book. Upon reading it, my dad declared that it's worth the price of the book, and I agree!
2. Your book Faith At Work was so well written and with such a broad appeal, have you been contacted by many protestants who have read it? If so what is their take?
Yes, I have heard from a surprising number of protestant friends who have read the book and loved it. I had hoped this would be the case, despite writing the book from an unabashedly Catholic perspective. It's meant to encourage people of faith to truly live it in their work, although not in an obnoxious manner. The book could be useful to anyone of faith. In fact, I recently heard from a Jewish friend who raved about it.
3. As a convert to Catholicism have you often encountered opposition to your Catholic faith in the work place, especially from protestant Christians?
Oh, sure. However, I don't take offense when this happens - I'm honored, since I recognize it as an effort to give me a precious gift. It's really a huge compliment.
4. If so how did you respond to it?
Any opposition generally arises from misperceptions I struggled with myself, so this can lead to fruitful discussions. There are many distinctive issues (such as authority, doctrinal consistency, artificial contraception, etc.) that provide opportunities to plant seeds. But above all, when we live sacramental lives, take a sincere interest in others, act in a spirit of humility, accept hardship, honor our spouses, practice openness to life… all these things are the most convincing response possible. I have not done this perfectly by any stretch, but thankfully God blesses even our poorest efforts.
5. In many ways you are a modern renaissance man, philosopher, accountant, researcher, executive, author and more. Very few people today are as well rounded as you are to what do you attribute this?
My rounding is due to a somewhat slower metabolism and a penchant for pizza subs (I really miss Mr. Sub in Canada).
6. The greatest strength of Faith At Work is its accessibility, anyone from high school student to retiree could pick it up, read it and grow from the advice given within. As a first book and especially a fist book in the motivational / self-help / life change genre the writing is amazing. To what do you attribute this? What was the writing process for this book like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?
I did a fabulous job picking my parents. My dad was a Presbyterian minister (and Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada) for many years, but also has a Ph.D. in business from M.I.T. He and my mom inspired me with their truly extraordinary ability to live their faith in daily life. Many of the seeds for the book were planted while I was growing up, with dinner table conversations about faith and later, the board room when my dad and uncle (who had a very interesting story himself) owned an entrepreneurial company.
The process itself consisted of praying, thinking, and writing. It's almost embarrassing how much was written spontaneously in a comfortable chair in the middle of our family room, with kid chaos ensuing all around me. At times, my wife found it most disconcerting. But I would like to think the book was guided. Jesus was the model, I figured you can't get any better than his approach of sharing parables. That's why there are so many stories illustrating the points of each chapter.
7. What current projects are you working on or are in the back burner in some stage of development?
I'm doing a bit of blogging on my website, gratefulconvert.com, and looking at some ideas for a second book. I have a few speaking engagements coming up too, I really enjoy that sort of thing.
8. Have you ever considered writing fiction? If so is it a project we might see in the near future?
That's a great question - the thought never even occurred to me. You might be surprised that my favorite fiction writer is actually my boss, Marcus Grodi. I love his How Firm a Foundation and Pillar and Bulwark novels. Even better are the audio versions, recorded professionally by Kevin O'Brien, a faithful Catholic and friend. He did a fabulous job, I'm a fan.
9. One of my goals in life is to find balance between body, mind and spirit. You seem to have achieved that balance in both your work and your life. What do you do to maintain your balance?
In my experience, balance is a constant struggle. Even if we achieve balance, it's momentary at best, and we might not even recognize it. What's been important to me over the years is to listen to God's promptings, prioritize faithfulness in all things, and persevere.
10. Are there some specific tools you use to help keep yourself so centered?
The basics are most helpful to me - the Eucharist, prayer, the rosary, confession, scripture, and the underrated sacrament of matrimony. It took me ten years of marriage to figure out that my wife and I needed a weekly date night. I look forward to spending time with her. She is also incredibly effective at keeping me humble.
11. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well-rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?
Scripture and the catechism, of course, along with anything written by C.S. Lewis, Mike Aquilina, George Weigel, G.K. Chesterton, and St. Josemaria Escriva. There are just so many, it's hard to narrow it down to ten.
12. Your books is available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?
Pirating ebooks is stealing, plain and simple. I would hope Catholic readers wouldn't obtain books that way.
13. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so or have someone do so for you?
I leave that to Our Sunday Visitor. They're a terrific publisher (and yes, I'm privileged to be on their board of directors).
14. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?
During high school, I read Brideshead Revisited, and liked that a lot, along with just about anything by C.S. Lewis. I had a terrific English teacher in high school, he really helped us by emphasizing classic English and Canadian literature.
15. What are your favorite books to read with your children?
We don't do it nearly enough, but we read bible stories and books about the saints.
16. What are some of your favorite contemporary religious authors to read?
I love a wide range of authors - from bloggers such as Jen Fulwiler, Mark Shea, and Brandon Vogt to authors including Greg Erlandson, Eric Sammons, Kevin Vost, Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, and Donna Marie Cooper-O'Boyle.
17. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?
That's not a bad way of looking at it. I had a boss once who told me that his education engendered a useful "way of thinking" and I've found this to be true. Particularly at Franciscan University, the result of the education process was to build a solid foundation.
18. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?
I seldom watch TV but my family is going through a phase of watching DVDs of The Waltons. Perhaps it sounds silly, and I remember detesting the series back when it originally aired during my childhood. Yet we enjoy that quite a bit now.
As for movies, I like a wide variety - comedy, suspense, drama, and various classics. I still watch A Man for All Seasons (about St. Thomas More) every now and again, it's so inspiring.
19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?
The bible, the catechism, the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, Love in the Little Things by Mike Aquilina, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Witness to Hope by George Weigel, The Catholic Church and Conversion by G.K. Chesterton, God's on the Phone by Regis Flaherty, The Pope and the CEO by Andreas Widmer, and and iPod with Marcus Grodi's novels (and extra batteries).
20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists particularly those looking to have their art reflect their faith?
Look to the Lord for inspiration. Without it, nothing we do is worthwhile.
Kevin thank you for taking the time to answer some questions I hope we see many more books from you over the years. If they are as good as the first we are in for some great life changing reads.
Books by Kevin Lowry:
Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck
How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church
Surprised By Truth 2
Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Author Profile and Interview with Kevin Lowry.