How Amidst Destruction One Can Find Joy

Upon learning that the previous owner of her home was a victim of suicidal depression, author Barbara Richardson made a silent promise: to turn that farmhouse into a house of joy. In her new book, Guest House, she fulfills that promise.

Guest House is a fictional novel that weaves together the burdens and joys of one outwardly accomplished go-getter, Melba Burns and one shy, imaginative and neglected kid, Matt Garry. After witnessing a terrible accident, Melba has retreated from the world; she’s abandoned her high-achieving life, she’s stopped driving her car, and she avoids human contact. Her sheltered world starts to crumble when Matt, a courageous and ingenious boy with troubled parents finds his way into her heart.

I recently had a chance to interview Barbara about Guest House. She also talked about how it took her 18 years to get her first book published and gave some great advice for aspiring writers.

You can read a few highlights from our interview below.


Matt: Your characters deal with many challenges ranging from growing up with alcoholic and troubled parents, spousal abuse, being raised in a very strict and religious household, how to comfort those grieving, loneliness, and finding love. Do you have a personal connection to the issues raised in your book?

Barbara: I do. Yes I was raised in a really strict religion and had parents who sort of ignored me…And, I think the beautiful thing about living a spiritual life is that it’s not the circumstances, but what you do with them. To me it was so important to show the humanity of all these people, even the terrible actions of parents and friends. And, in all the confusion truly there is this beautiful thread running through it that you can be free when you learn how to surrender to those who love you and to the moment which provides all the care you could possibly need.

Matt: How do you find beauty in those moments of darkness when you have such terrible circumstances?

Barbara: . . . I saw a documentary on the Holocaust a couple nights ago. And, no there wasn’t joy in the camps there. But, these people managed to locate the joy in their heart in these most difficult circumstances because they were true to themselves. If you’re true to your self, not your outer circumstances…joy is available to you every moment.

For more information on Barbara, you can visit her web site at or purchase Guest House on Amazon by Clicking Here.


  1. JayBee says:

    WOW… If “Guest House” conveys even a fraction of the author’s grace and kindness and wisdom and humor, it’s headed straight for the Best Seller List!

  2. Lori says:

    Thanks for this interview. I have just started the book and can barely put it down.

  3. Carolyn says:

    I’ve enjoyed Richardson’s blog entries and the audio interview gave her a new dimension! Great info on how the book came about from so many different aspects of her life and experience. Thanks!

  4. Yes, life’s circumstances amount, at worst, to nothing more than an impediment to one’s spiritual growth.
    As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said, once the spark is set to the load of cotton, deep below the ship’s deck, it’s only a matter of time, but the end result is certain…
    So, it is up to each of us to stray afloat on the calamitous seas of life, and spiritual greatness is ours for the taking.


  5. Nel Rand says:

    Dear Matt,
    I listened to your interview with Barbara Richardson, author of Guest House. I thought it was a great book and your interview was very interesting and uplifting. Keep up the good work.
    The interview reminded me who I am; we sometimes forget, so thank you again. Namaste

  6. Matt Welsh says:

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts…Yeah, I learned a lot from the interview too.

    @Spiritual Network – yes, our circumstances ‘at worst’ are “impediments”; but at best can be building blocks….I like what you say about spiritual greatest being ours for the taking…

    @Nel Rand – Yeah, the interview helped remind me of who I am too…and that at our core is a the possibility of joy and pure goodness.

    @Lori, JayBee and Carolyn – thanks for stopping by Spiritual Media Blog and leaving a comment…


  7. Christy Tyson says:

    GUEST HOUSE is truly a wonderful, original and moving novel. Reminds me so much of my own background and spiritual path. Thanks for bringing it and Barbara to peoples’ attention.

  8. Regina says:

    Thank you for a lovely interview. If as Barbara says, grace comes out of a fully relaxed, authentic self, she appears a wonderful example of that in this interview.

    I wish her all success with this book and the ones to come!

  9. Eric says:

    Thanks, Matt, for sharing Barbara with us. What great insights!

  10. Judy says:

    Barbara is a wonderful writer whose words take you on the journey with her and you see what she sees, meet the characters, endure their idiosycracies and worse, feel you heart go out to Matt who must endure and survive the disfunctionality of his family. I was enthralled at Melba’s persistence in breaking through barriers to give him a home.

  11. Owen Murphy says:

    i think that spiritual life is much more important compared to our earthly life.:”~

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