Most of my novels are historical romance. Broken and Beautiful is not. I wanted to do something contemporary, but that wasn’t the only drive behind it. The influences are far reaching—everything from the praise band at the church I attend now, to the bar band I followed in my younger crazy days. And though it is fiction, the events and happenings in the lives of the four main characters—Casey, Kyle, Aster and Matt—were entirely taken from real life experiences, some told to me by friends, and others that I witnessed. Yes, the grossly unjust punishment Kyle endures in chapter three—if you read you’ll know what I mean—did happen to a friend of mine. Casey, struggling while playing piano at the funeral of a close friend… well, that was me. My dearest Pam, I still miss you every day!
The original manuscript was written as the dates in the book unfold, so when we had rain, there was rain in the book. Except for the end, because I got ahead of myself and wrote the August chapters in July. Writing in first person from each character’s perspective was actually a self-imposed exercise to improve upon character development. That summer, after getting my kiddos off to summer day camp, I hightailed it to my couch (my office) and laptop, squeezed my eyes shut and said, “Today I am [fill in the blank].” If I was Kyle or Matt, I had to think and talk like a guy. Not the easiest thing to do. And I had to remind myself of things, “Oh, yeah, I’m Aster. Have to drop the f-bomb every other word.”
Why a tragedy? The short answer is Ned Stark. Yes, my husband and I are both huge Game of Thrones fans. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Although much of the story is centered around Matt’s spiritual journey, this cannot be considered a Christian book. Due to the subject matter and graphic content, it would probably never be allowed on the shelves at Christian book store, and that’s okay. However, I believe God gave me this story to convey a message. It is simply this: No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you can find redemption and forgiveness in Christ. We are all broken. But in God’s eyes we are all beautiful.
Healing Grace is here! This novel, the third in the Grace Series, brings back many of the characters from Concealing Grace and Saving Grace, not only those we came to love, but also a few we didn’t like so much. We meet some intriguing new folks as well–Constance, the schoolteacher and Sam, the dedicated adjutant. The storyline focuses primarily on Julien’s brother, Etienne. Etienne, the valiant young colonel and Etienne, the wounded soldier. If anybody deserves to find forever love it’s arrogant, eccentric, sometimes silly, but always endearing, Etienne. I hope you will fall as much in love with him as I have.
One of my favorite people in Healing Grace is someone you may remember–Sadie, the young girl Jessica taught to read. Despite the circumstances of her life, Sadie has grown into quite the young lady. I like to think of her as passively formidable. Perhaps you will as well.
In writing this book, I took a chance in the plot twist. Of course I can’t say more than that without claiming, “Spoiler Alert!” What I will say is this: We are all people, no matter the color of our skin, no matter our interests or orientations. We all have triumphs. We all make mistakes. And we all feel. It is not our place to judge, but to love.
One last question: Have you ever wondered how and why the Sovereign Sons of the South came to be? Find out in Healing Grace!
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
All my best wishes and God bless!
One February 20, 2016, I had the great privilege of being at TG Books in York, Pennsylvania, for the release of Unveiled, the series. This series features two novels initially, One Fine Beast and One Fine Man. I say ‘initially’ because who knows how many more books the future of this series may unveil. I hope you enjoy Gabriel and Lilly as much as I enjoyed creating them!
I have a new series coming out very soon entitled, One Fine Beast. This suspenseful historical romance takes place in the 1880’s near Philadelphia. It was inspired by a young girl who I used to teach piano to–Aria. Of course, Aria is no longer a little girl; she is a lovely and quite admirable teenager. But, back when she was seven, her favorite movie of all time was Beauty and the Beast. Funny, this Disney classic has always been a favorite of mine, too. The challenge, of course, was how to create a beast who doesn’t actually change into a prince at the end. After all, we don’t really live in a fairytale world…
Happy reading to all!