Kolbaba, Ginger 1967-

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Kolbaba, Ginger 1967-


Born 1967; daughter of ministers; married; husband's name Scott.


Home—Chicago, IL. Office—P.O. Box 990, West Dundee, IL 60118-0990.


Editor and writer. Marriage Partnership (magazine), West Dundee, IL, currently editor. Former editorial staff member for journal Leadership; former assistant editor, Preaching Today; former associate editor, Today's Christian Woman. During early career, worked as an actress, singer, and public speaker.


(With Brian and Mel Birdwell) Refined by Fire: A Family's Triumph of Love and Faith: A Soldier's Story of 9-11, Tyndale House Publishers (Wheaton, IL), 2004.

Dazzled to Frazzled and Back Again: The Bride's Survival Guide, Fleming H. Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.

Surprised by Remarriage: A Guide to the Happily-Even-After, Revell Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 2006.

(With Gary and Barbara Rosberg) The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women, Tyndale House Publishers (Carol Stream, IL), 2006.


Desperate Pastors' Wives, Howard Books (West Monroe, LA), 2007.

A Matter of Wife and Death, Howard Fiction (New York, NY), 2008.

Former columnist, Let's Worship. The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women has been translated into Spanish.


Ginger Kolbaba writes nonfiction and fiction stories about marriages and families surmounting personal crises and challenges that can range from the extraordinarily tragic to more ordinary situations, such as keeping one's marriage vital and happy. The importance of one's Christian faith is also a common theme in her writings.

Kolbaba's first book, written with Brian and Mel Birdwell, is of the former kind. Refined by Fire: A Family's Triumph of Love and Faith: A Soldier's Story of 9-11 tells how Brian, a lieutenant colonel, suffered serious burns on almost two-thirds of his body after a plane piloted by terrorists crashed into the Pentagon building where he worked in 2001. Kolbaba works with the Birdwells to tell the story from both their perspectives, as well as revealing what their son Matt had to endure after his father was hospitalized. A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that the narrative "technique works well throughout" by giving a sense of immediacy to the story in scenes such as when Brian recounts his terror in being engulfed by flames. Critics of the book appreciated how the main players in the story are portrayed as very human, their anger, doubt, frustration, and fear coming through in the story. Relying on their faith eventually helps them pull through this tragedy in a tale that will "fascinate many readers."

Two books on marriage by Kolbaba combine humor with sound advice for the reader. Dazzled to Frazzled and Back Again: The Bride's Survival Guide aims to destroy the misconception that there is such a thing as a perfect and smooth-running wedding. Taking into account the fact that there will likely be setbacks and worse, the author offers advice on how best to plan for the big day and ride out unexpected problems. Surprised by Remarriage: A Guide to the Happily-Even-After is a far different book, though it still involves married couples. The central theme here is how best to address the issues involving second marriages. Although the author is married to her first husband, her spouse has been married before, and so she can write with some personal authority on this subject. Being careful not to endorse the notion that divorce is acceptable, Kolbaba feels that this does not mean one cannot move forward with one's life, and that there are ways that people should try and deal with the hurt that may still linger and that could possibly affect a second marriage.

Surprised by Remarriage is divided into three sections, according to W. Terry Whalin on the Faithful Reader Web site. It begins with "an examination of the past and how you can make your remarriage work and beat the forces against" the event; next, the author "explores the minefield of relationships outside your spouse"; and finally she "looks at the issues between you and your spouse." Recognizing that divorce affects about half of marriages, "Kolbaba deals with ensuring that you have healed properly from your divorce. She talks about issues of forgiveness for all parties of a divorce," according to Joe Montague on the Toll Booth Web site. Montague praised Kolbaba's book as being "filled with an abundance of solid practical suggestions," declaring it to be close to "perfectly written." "I recommend this book to anyone in a remarriage, or to pastors and counselors who work with remarried couples," asserted Whalin.

After writing another guide on marriage, The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women, this time with Gary and Barbara Rosberg, Kolbaba collaborated with Christy Scannell on her first novel, Desperate Pastors' Wives. The title drew inevitable comparisons to the nighttime television soap opera Desperate Housewives about unfulfilled suburbanite women. Kolbaba and Scannell are not out to titillate so much as to realistically portray what many pastors' wives go through in this country. The four main characters include Mimi, Jennifer, Felicia, and Lisa, who live in a town in Ohio. As the spouses of church leaders, they are all expected to set examples for their congregations as perfect wives who also are active and enthusiastic participants in their respective churches. Each is struggling to put on a happy façade while they battle their personal demons. For Lisa, it is a loveless marriage to a man who does not even kiss her; for Jennifer, the problem is infertility; for Felicia, it is a desire to pursue her own individuality through a career; Mimi simply wants to have a little more peace and quiet in her life and not have the church dominate her so much. The four women find support in each other, and the authors tie their tales together through their regular social meetings.

Critics of Desperate Pastors' Wives found much to praise in what they felt were well-rounded characters revealing a little-discussed aspect of American life. On the Christian Review of Books Web site, Roseanna White declared that the "authors created characters with rich dimensions and complex development that sucked me in and kept the pages turning." Although one Romance Review Web site critic complained that the "writing is passive, and we don't get deep enough in any of the character's thoughts, motives, and actions, to really care about what they are going through," many other critics found the novel delightful. "I positively burned through this book because it was so enjoyable," reported Jamie Driggers on the Armchair Interviews Web site. A Christian Fiction Review Web site writer noted that the authors sometimes spend too long providing character background, but "once the story gets past that, however, things pick up rather quickly." The reviewer concluded that Kolbaba and Scannell "have done a great job of balancing all four women's stories." "The authors are to be applauded for parting the curtains in the homes of these pastors' wives and giving us a peek at their daily balancing acts," asserted Joyce Handzo for In the Library Reviews Web site.

Desperate Pastors' Wives is the first of three books in the planned "Secrets of Lulu's Cafe" series that Kolbaba is writing with Scannell. The second novel is A Matter of Wife and Death.



Marriage Partnership, summer, 2007, Raelynn Eickhoff, review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 2004, review of Refined by Fire: A Family's Triumph of Love and Faith: A Soldier's Story of 9-11, p. 70.

Today's Christian, July 1, 2004, Mike Parker, review of Refined by Fire, p. 12.

Today's Christian Woman, March 1, 2006, Lisa Ann Cockrel, review of Surprised by Remarriage: A Guide to the Happily-Even-After, p. 60.


Armchair Interviews,http://reviews.armchairinterviews.com/ (March 20, 2008), Jamie Driggers, review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

Christian Fiction Review,http://www.christianfictionreview.com/ (March 20, 2008), review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

Christian Review of Books,http://christianreviewofbooks.com/ (March 20, 2008), Roseanna White, review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

Faithful Reader,http://www.faithfulreader.com/ (March 20, 2008), W. Terry Whalin, review of Surprised by Remarriage.

Ginger Kolbaba Home Page,http://www.gingerkolbaba.com (March 20, 2008).

Growth Articles,http://www.growthtrac.com/ (March 20, 2008), Jim Mueller, "A Conversation with Ginger Kolbaba."

In the Library Reviews,http://www.inthelibraryreviews.net/ (May 14, 2007), Joyce Handzo, review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

Phantom Toll Booth,http://www.tollbooth.org/ (March 20, 2008), Joe Montague, review of Surprised by Remarriage.

Road to Romance,http://www.roadtoromance.ca/ (August 1, 2007), Marie DisBrow, review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

Romance Review,http://www.aromancereview.com/ (March 1, 2007), review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.

San Diego Metropolitan Online,http://www.sandiegometro.com/ (March 20, 2008), Terence J. Burke, "Metropolitan Editor Writes the Book on the Lives of ‘Desperate Pastors' Wives.’"

Title Trakk,http://www.titletrakk.com/ (March 20, 2008), Heather Hunt, review of Desperate Pastors' Wives.