Articles

Unlike Anything I’ve Ever Done

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.