Nancy Mehl: Love vs. Conflict
“Balancing love against conflict brings out passion and commitment. It makes love more interesting. It asks the questions, what would I sacrifice for love? How deep is my commitment? How far will I go to protect the one I love?”
Well known for her cozy mysteries, Nancy Mehl was filled with dread when contemplating putting pen to paper on the first in her Road to Kingdom romantic suspense series.
She believed that romance was not her thing: “I then realized that I only had to look into my characters’ hearts and explore their feelings,” says Nancy, “Love is the strongest emotion human beings experience. Writing about it is not only important but vital to creating characters with depth and interest.” Inescapable
(Bethany House) is the story of Lizzie Engel, raised in the Mennonite community of Kingdom who is rejected by her father when she falls pregnant outside of marriage. Lizzie flees to Kansas City but is forced to return five years later when a stalker threatens her life. Keeping the suspense taut is second nature to Nancy.
“As far as suspense, it’s really nothing more than conflict. Balancing love against conflict brings out passion and commitment. It makes love more interesting. It asks the questions, what would I sacrifice for love? How deep is my commitment? How far will I go to protect the one I love?”
In addition to an intriguing plot, Nancy stretches her characters in many ways. “Lizzie has been taken advantage of by a boy she thought loved her. Her guard is up. Not only is she afraid of taking another chance on love, she feels unlovable. Her father’s judgmental attitude has made her feel like damaged goods.”
Returning to Kingdom reunites her with Noah, a man who has always loved Lizzie. “Having vowed to protect her when she was a child, Noah feels guilty that he wasn’t in Kingdom when she got pregnant and needed someone to support her. He wants to reach out to her now, but he’s afraid it’s too late.”
Through Lizzie’s journey, Nancy hopes her readers will understand that God has a plan for each of us. “We’re important to Him, and no matter how many mistakes we make, or how far we run from Him, His love and His plans for us are ... inescapable.” This article originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!