During the past year, Change of Heart:
--received strong reviews, such as this: https://www.christiancentury.org/reviews/2015-04/change-heart-jeanne-bishop
--became an audiobook, read by a wonderful voice actor. The audiobook is perfect for people who would rather listen to a book than read it (on a long commute or car trip, for instance). The audiobook can be found at www.christianaudio.com/change-of-heart-jeanne-bishop-audiobook-download
--was featured on radio (for example, www.wnyc.org/story/reconciling-her-sisters-murderer/), television (for example, http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2015/04/21/change-heart) and video (for example, http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Mercy-Justice-Forgiveness-jeann)
--was sold at bookstore events in places like Arizona, Virginia and Chicago
--was the subject of talks at colleges, law schools, high schools, seminaries, churches, bar associations,
book clubs and community groups nationwide
--was quoted in an amicus curiae brief before the United States Supreme Court in the recently-decided landmark opinion in Montgomery v. Alabama, which held that all prisoners serving mandatory life without parole sentences are entitled to resentencing which takes into account the offenders' age at the time of the offense
--was donated to prison libraries in three states, thanks to generous donations from contributors who believe in the message of the book (I hope to do even more of this in the future; I just need the funds to make it happen, and I am working on that).
--has been cited in sermons and opinion pieces around the country
--was used to help raise funds for non-profit organizations that provide legal services to the poor and work to reform harsh criminal sentences.
Because of the book, I've gotten letters from across the country, from prisoners who say they see their crimes and their victims in a new way, and now have some hope that they, too, can be forgiven. I've heard from mothers of victims, from mothers of sons in prison, from people who have suffered betrayal and loss, seeking a way beyond bitterness and vengeance.
None of this would have been possible without my amazing publishers, Westminster John Knox, and especially David Dobson and Stacie Kizer, to whom I am forever grateful.
But it also would not have been possible without you, my readers, people who took the time to sit down with the book and let it enter your hearts. You shared it with others; you spread the word of its message of forgiveness and redemption and hope. Thank you so much! I love you all.
Change of Heart is only beginning its work in the world. There is much coming up in the year ahead, including the events listed below.
One exciting piece of news is that Mark Osler, a law professor who is at the heart of my book, has written a second book of his own, about a death penalty project we have done together: a mock trial of Jesus under modern death penalty law, designed to get audiences to juxtapose their faith and capital punishment. Mark's book is also being published by Westminster John Knox; the book's title is Prosecuting Jesus: Finding Christ by Putting Him on Trial. The book, which comes out this August, traces the trial as it unfolds in death penalty states such as Texas, Oklahoma, California and Virginia. Part comedy, part tragedy, and all engagingly human, the book features a cast of remarkable characters, including the people Mark enlists to perform in the trial and others he meets along the way. The book also tells a deeply moving personal story of his faith being transformed.
Mark allowed me to read a draft of the book: it is gorgeously written, eloquent and revealing. I hope all of you will put it on your summer reading list!
Here are some upcoming book events for Change of Heart:
First Presbyterian Church
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Carson-Newman University Chapel
Jefferson CIty, Tennessee
University of Illinois Chicago
First Presbyterian Church
Glen Falls, New York