Q&A: Ginny Yttrup
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOUR BOOK LOST AND FOUND?
I was going through a painful time in my life and grieving many things that I'd lost. In the midst of that, a friend shared a meaningful quote with me from Madame Jeanne Guyon who is known as one of the most important women in Christian history. The quote set me on a road of discovery—I read Jeanne Guyon's autobiography and knew that I'd found a "friend" to walk with me through that dark season—a woman who knew what it meant to suffer and lose her life for Christ's sake. After I finished her autobiography, I began to wonder what a contemporary Jeanne Guyon might look like. That's when the story of Lost and Found began to take shape. My protagonist, Jenna Bouvier, is loosely based on Madame Jeanne Guyon, and the story of Lost and Found incorporates some of her teachings.
Q: ALTHOUGH YOUR BOOK IS FICTION – WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOME ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, I've also experienced many years of emotional abuse. Several years ago, I read Leslie Vernick's important book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. The book helped me identify some of the ways I related to those in my life at that time who took advantage of me or who were relationally destructive. I began to value who God created me to be and recognize that not only am I a beloved child of God, but my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It occurred to me that when others treat me in destructive ways, they are also treating the Spirit of God within me, in that same manner. When my behaviors began to reflect those beliefs, those relationship crumbled. Jenna Bouvier, in Lost and Found, also finds herself in a destructive relationship, and while Jenna's circumstances are completely different than my own, many of the emotions her character experiences are based on feelings I've experienced.
Q: WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
I do both. I write issue driven fiction and so far God has me writing about issues from my own life. I don't believe that will always be the case, as one life can only supply so much fodder. But for now, my protagonist's struggles are struggles I've also experienced. My secondary characters are likely patterned after people I know or that I've met, but that isn't done intentionally. I do research regarding their careers, personality types, etc.
Q: WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I'm in the process of finishing my third novel for B&H Publishing Group. Again, it's based on my own life experiences. It's the story of a 40-something single woman who thinks she's battling weight and health issues, but discovers her true struggle is something deeper. It will be a story of hope and redemption, as are all the stories I write. In December I signed a second three-book contract with B&H Publishing Group and I'm so excited about the novels to come.
Q: FACT VS. FICTION – WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME EXAMPLES IN YOUR NOVEL WHERE YOU TOOK SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS?
Where didn't I take liberties?! That's the fun of writing fiction. I took liberties with the settings. Though the book is set in real places, San Francisco and the Napa Valley, I created homes, and businesses that don't exist. Though I did base them on real places that I'd researched. I also, of course, took many liberties with my protagonist, Jenna Bouvier. Though she was inspired by Madame Jeanne Guyon, and some of her experiences mirror some of Jeanne Guyon's experiences—that's where the similarities end. As I wrote, Jenna Bouvier became her own person and is only a shadow of who Jeanne Guyon was.