Q&A: Tricia Goyer (The Promise Box)
In The Promise Box (Zondervan), Tricia Goyer’s second installment to her Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, Lydia is torn between two very different worlds as she struggles to make sense of secrets that haunt her past. While she deals with the loss of her mother, she finds hope in reading prayers from her mother’s promise box.
Q: In your newest book, The Promise Box, your main character is a writer, like yourself. Did you enjoy writing from her perspective?
It was great fun to create a character who sees the world as I do. Lydia (like me) processes the world through words. She reflects by putting words to paper. That is why her Mom's Promise Box means so much to her—it's her mother's words. It's her mother's heart, on the page. It was also fun to write scenes from Lydia's point-of-view in the chapters. It was a chance to be creative within my creative character! Yes, Lydia was more like me than many of my characters. It was fun!
Q: What do you think readers will enjoy about this book?
Readers will be drawn to both Lydia and Gideon's stories of discovering the truth. Layer by layer readers will find out more about their stories. Lydia's revelations come through reading her mother's letters, and Gideon's come from talking with those in the community who were there during a traumatic event when Gideon was a child. Hopefully readers will dig deep into their own hearts as they walk through Lydia and Gideon's discoveries. Oh, and if you enjoy a good laugh or a good cry, be prepared for that, too!
Q: What kind of research do you typically do for your books?
Since I'm familiar with the West Kootenai area the setting was the easiest part for me. I'm also familiar with Lydia's role as an editor, so the greatest amount of my research went into two things: research about horse training, and research into the personal stories of those who were conceived by rape (like Lydia) or who faced a traumatic childhood event (like Gideon). I'm so thankful for YouTube and videos on the internet. Hearing the thoughts and emotions from people, in their own words, greatly helped me.
Overall, I research anything I can't write with confidence—whether it be setting, characters, or a character's occupation or experiences. If I pause when I'm writing, unsure, then it's a sign that I need to research it!
Q: What is your writing process like? Are you a quick and dirty, get-it-down-on-paper writer or a slow and steady, perfectionist?
I'm a mess! Well, at least when I first start to write. I start by thinking of my characters and theme—what is the “big issue” that they're going to deal with in this book? For example, in The Memory Jar the theme was “Discovering who you were created to be leads to your God-given destiny.” For The Promise Box it's, “Discovering the truth of the past brings healing in the present and hope for the future.” Once I know my themes then the scenes of the book start coming to life in my mind. I ask things like, “What are ways to hide the truth or reveal the truth? How will the truth bring conflict?” As I think of the scenes, I write bits and pieces. So I might write part of the beginning, then part of the end, then something in the middle. Once I have the “big pieces” in place I start at the beginning again, with chapter one, and write through the story, editing as I go, and ending with THE END. It's not a conventional way to write, but it works for me!
Q: Who is your favorite character in The Promise Box?
Do I have to pick? I love both Lydia and Gideon. I love Gideon's gentle nature and his way with horse. I love Lydia's heart that longs to feel loved and cherished. If they were real they'd be great friends
Q: This is your second book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. What can readers expect for future additions?
Future additions will continue to share the lives of bachelors who visit West Kootenai . . . and the young women who catch their eye. Book number three, The Kissing Bridge, releases next spring and the main character, Rebecca, has decided to leave the Amish and is heading to Washington State. She takes a short stop in West Kootenai to visit her friend Marianna and a handsome bachelor catches her eye. So, ja, Rebecca's plans change.
I'm also writing about these bachelors in some upcoming novellas, so stay tuned!