There are plenty of bright lights and big cities in the third installment of the Bailey Flanagan series, but Karen Kingsbury says it’s the characters who steal the show.
Hitting shelves this month, Longing (Zondervan) finds Bailey in a very confusing love triangle: After Cody gives her the silent treatment, she starts getting closer to her one-time Hollywood co-star, Brandon. Wondering if her time with Cody is a wrap for good, Bailey can’t help feeling smitten when she’s being romanced by Brandon on both coasts.
With two very glamorous locales, Manhattan and Malibu, serving as the setting, Karen admits the research wasn’t exactly difficult. But even as exciting as these cities are, she was able to make some valuable observations about the celebrity life.
“New York is very different from L.A., though both are full of excitement and life,” Karen shares. “NYC allows a person to ‘just be’ a little more. Someone with a degree of fame can get by and blend with the crowd more in New York. Malibu and the working areas of Hollywood and North Hollywood are teeming with paparazzi and movie stars. The celebrities in So Cal have a sort of strangely symbiotic relationship with the paparazzi. The cycle continues, and when people get caught up in it, normalcy is the first thing to go. Faith is often the second. I’ve spent time with people who have lived the L.A. race and gotten sick of it, and others who were nearly destroyed by it.”
With Longing, Kingsbury hopes readers will be left doing just that—longing for deeper connection in their own lives. “About halfway through Longing, I stopped writing and had a half day of prayer and reflection, thinking through the differences between what I wanted for Bailey and what the characters were demanding,” Kingsbury says. “That’s the crazy thing about being a novelist: If your characters are strong enough, they will dictate the plot. And that was certainly what happened in Longing. I hope readers will take away a renewed sense of longing for the people in their lives and for the God who has called them to Himself.”