Catholic Creative: A Catholic Publisher
An interview with Amy O’Connell, founder of Ever Eden Publishing
“With a commitment to short fiction, nonfiction and poetry, we have created an easy-to-consume
, yet substantial and thought-provoking read for busy Catholics and literature-loving Catholics alike.”
Katie Warner interviews Catholic artists and artisans about their crafts, asking how their art impacts the Church and their faith impacts their work.
Tell me a little about who you are and about your work.
Most importantly, I am a wife and my husband and I have four little ones together. I am also a graduate of the Augustine Graduate School of Theology where I earned my Master's in Theology. I, along with my business partner Natalie Tansill, publish a quarterly literary journal of creative literature for Catholics. I am also a writer and budding poet.
When did you start Ever Eden? What inspired you to begin working in publishing?
I started Ever Eden Publishing shortly after finishing graduate school. I noticed how hard it was to sit down and read anything substantial or moving in the midst of my busy life at home with young kids. I thought of how many people I knew who really wanted to be reading quality, thought-provoking material, but resorted to quick media and clickbait because of time constraints. A novel seems daunting when you only have 10 minutes of uninterrupted time. I created Ever Eden for these people. Ever Eden is a literary oasis in a world now increasingly inundated with immediate consumerism. Our quarterly literary journal, also named Ever Eden, publishes and promotes some of the best emerging literature and creative writing by Catholic women. With a commitment to short fiction, nonfiction and poetry, we have created an easy-to-consume
, yet substantial and thought-provoking read for busy Catholics and literature-loving Catholics alike.
How does your faith influence your publishing?
My faith influences my publishing in many ways. For one, my faith is the source of the burning passion within me to bring beauty via literature into the hands of many. My faith also informs my publishing. I want to publish not just works that are explicitly about our faith, but instead are informed by our faith — meaning that the writers we publish create flowing from their identity in Christ. In this way, we publish stories and pieces about all sorts of topics, but always drawing our readers to a holy kind of wonder.
How does your publishing impact your faith?
One of the greatest benefits of my job is that it absolutely brings me closer to God. I am so blessed to be regularly surrounded by beauty in the creative works, that I am left speechless. I can't tell you how many times I have been moved by the writers of Ever Eden. I have sat in my kitchen crying while reading submissions more times than I could possibly count. They inspire me as a publisher to do justice for their works, but also as a child of God in drawing ever closer to his Sacred Heart.
Can you pick a favorite work you’ve done recently? Tell me a little about it.
Our most recent publishing work was the summer 2019 issue. It was our largest one yet, with 100 pages of quality content. We featured a Catholic reflection on Beauty from Brittany Calavitta, three short pieces of creative nonfiction, four short fiction pieces, and nearly 20 poems. It was wonderfully satisfying to see all the comments and positive feedback
, of people loving the issue we worked so hard to bring together.
Why do you think Catholic art has such an important role to play in the Church?
How many times have you heard words that rang so true you returned to them again and again as though imprinted upon your heart? The written word has a unique ability to draw us to wonder, which draws us to wisdom, which draws us to love. In this way, the mission of the Church and the mission are the artist are the same.
To whom do you turn for inspiration?
Our patron is Mary the New Eve. She has been an exemplary intercessor through this all. In our mission to uphold specifically feminine voice as crucial for the edification of the entire Church, I often also look to Edith Stein and her essays on women for inspiration and strength.
Name one piece of advice/wisdom that has had a great influence on your work.
In college, I had the pleasure of listening to Bishop Conley's speech on the importance of beauty in evangelization that he gave at the Catholic Answers conference in 2013. I will always remember what he said that day as he offered one of the best pieces of wisdom I have ever heard: “God has placed the desire for beauty within our hearts, and he uses that desire to bring us back to himself.” This, hands down, has had the greatest influence on my work as it is the reason behind all that we do at Ever Eden.
If people want to explore your work in more detail, where can they look?
Please visit our website to subscribe or learn more: everedenpublishing.com. You can also follow us on Instagram: @everedenpublishing