It’s a new week, to which I am so so thankful. I’ll just say, “let’s talk about books!” What better way than a new-to-me author interview? Her YA novel releases tomorrow and I hope y’all enjoy! I’ll start with some awesome 4 Questions and then chat a little about her next book, Intermission!
1. What is something about your life right now that you would never have imagined 5 years ago?
I’m surprised we still live in the same town and the same house. In nearly twenty-two years of marriage, our record for living in the same house was six years, previously… but we’re on year eight at this location with no plans of leaving any time soon. It feels very odd to me, because I’m a frequent victim of Wanderlust and always excited about the “fresh start” feeling of moving to a new place. If you would have told me, five years ago, that I would still be here I would not have believed you.
2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I’ve typed and deleted two answers to this question already because they scraped places in my heart that are still a little too raw to share, publicly. On to a third… except… here’s the thing: my long list of “wish I had a do-over” incidents are mostly instances of my own emotionally-driven poor behavior, and each time I’ve disappointed myself I’ve been led me toward a deeper understanding of who I want to be—or, more importantly, who I do not want to be. Taking that into consideration then, would I really undo those instances if I could?
But that’s not really an option, so… if I could use a little of my stupidity to help someone else, it would be by offering this advice:
1. Do not respond to anger with anger, or to insults with insult. And never electronically.
2. Avoid credit cards and unsecured loans.
3. Do not make decisions based on fear.
4. Own the stories of your life as yours.
5. Extend mercy… even to yourself.
3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
“It’s a girl!” Hearing that the first time, after being told I might never have kids due to advanced endometriosis—and immediately following 24.5 grueling hours of labor!— was a moment of perfect happiness, pure bliss. And getting to hear that phrase a second time, 3.5 years later? Beautiful.
4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Be mindful of where you’re spending your heart—which can usually be traced to the thing to which you’re giving your time, attention, and worry. It’s okay to need to disconnect now and then. Be willing to separate yourself from your devices, distractions, friends—even your responsibilities (within reason)—every now and then in order to create a space where you can be quiet, still… and alone enough for Truth and Peace to find you… and perhaps even smack you upside the head, if necessary. And trust me, the older you get, the more often it’s necessary to be Truth-smacked.
5. What was your inspiration behind the story?
This story has been “in the oven”, so to speak, for the past nine years or so. It began as a short story—an assignment I was required to complete as part of the Apprentice Course with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. My wonderful mentor for that program, author Sandra Byrd, told me she thought it had great potential for expansion into a novel, and because I learned early on that Sandra has exceptional story-crafting skills, I listened.
During the very long process of rewriting, revising, and editing The Ryn and The Remedy (Eyes of E’veria books 1 & 2) when I needed a break from that fantasy world and those characters, I would pull out this story and start to expand it, fleshing out the characters and plot, bit by bit. I completed several drafts of this novel before The Ryn ever published, but none of them felt quite “right” so I put it on the shelf and worked on other projects.
I pulled Intermission out of storage about two years ago and started revising again, but still, something just wasn’t gelling. Finally, several months ago, I decided to try an experiment… and I switched the novel from third person point-of-view to first person. Still, there was a certain “zing” missing. I dove back in, changing the story from past tense to present tense, and . . . badabing! I found the answer! (Okay, it wasn’t an instant transformation. Changing the point-of-view was bad enough, but that tense switcheroo? Dang. That was the most tedious thing I’ve ever had to do as an author!) Those two seemingly simple, but entirely frustrating-to-implement changes kickstarted yet another revision that took the story to deeper and more gut-wrenching places . . . and gave it the “oomph” it needed to be ready to meet the world.
6. What do you hope the readers leave with after reading Intermission?
Of course I want readers to feel the warm glow that should come from having finished a satisfying romance, but beyond the Faith and Noah love story, Intermission brings up a lot of tough issues. I hope the way Faith and Noah handle those issues will encourage readers—especially teen readers—to hold on and know they are not alone.
The book’s dedication speaks my heartbeat hope for readers of Intermission. Yes, I hope you enjoy the romance. But more than that, I hope this novel will help you to find your song… and the courage sing it.
Thank you so much for sharing Serena! I hope y’all enjoyed the interview as much as I did! Be sure to check out Serena around the internets 🙂