Q&A: Nancy Mehl
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION DRIVING THE STORY IN INESCAPABLE?
My main character, Lizzie Engel, left her Mennonite hometown when she was only eighteen. Feeling rejected by her father and her church after having a child born out of wedlock, she had no intention to ever return to Kingdom. But after dealing with a stalker and losing her job due to an accusation of theft, she has no choice but to go back to the one place where she and her daughter might be safe. Lizzie, who is convinced that God has deserted her, finds that her trip to the home she left behind may also help her to find her way back to the Father who has never left her side.
My goal in Inescapable was to encourage readers to believe that God has a unique plan for each of them. No matter what mistakes we make or how far we think we’ve wandered from His will, His love for us will always lead us home if we’ll trust Him. We all have a destiny, and we’re all important to our Heavenly Father. This is the inspiration behind Inescapable.
OVER THE COURSE OF WRITING IT, WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST DURING THE JOURNEY?
I was surprised by how much I identified with Lizzie. Most of us have a tendency to concentrate on our failures instead of the intensity and unfailing commitment of God’s love toward us. Lizzie’s struggle with believing that God still wanted her, no matter how many mistakes she’d made, forced me to check my own heart. The truth is that our flaws and mistakes are much smaller than God’s unwavering devotion to us.
WHAT PARTS WERE INSPIRED BY REAL-LIFE (EITHER RESEARCH OR EXPERIENCE)?
Lizzie’s insecurities echoed mine at different times in my life. And the negative voices that spoke to her from the past were similar to what I experienced when I was younger. Thank God I learned that we can’t allow the past to control our future if we want to enjoy the life God has for us.
WHY DO YOU THINK STORY IS SUCH A POWERFUL WAY TO COMMUNICATE TRUTH?
Well, it worked very well for Jesus, didn’t it? Christ told parables – fictional stories with spiritual messages. I believe there can be a powerful anointing on our writing. I pray over each book and ask God to use it to touch people. I want to give them a great story, but I also want to leave them with something even more important. The message that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I’ve turned in all three books in the Kingdom series and am busy now with rewrites. I’ve also been teaching a novel writing workshop and plan to put the workshop online at some point. Recently, I signed with Greenbrier Books to put some of my out-of-print cozy mysteries out as ebooks. Once I catch up on rewrites and a couple of other projects, I plan to work harder on getting the word out about these cozies. After that? Well, we’ll see. I’m hoping for another contract offer soon.