In Surrendered Hearts, Jennifer Evan’s life changes forever when a gas pipeline explodes and causes a fire in her apartment. She loses her home and her dog plus the ugly scars that cover her arm, neck and shoulder damage her confidence and her future with her. Hoping to start over, she heads for Vermont and meets a quiet man who challenges her view of God. Will she hold on to the pain of her past, or will she discover the healing and love she seeks?
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE SURRENDERED HEARTS?
I wrote Surrendered Hearts as a sequel to my first novel, Along Came Love. They are both set in a Tipton, a small village in Vermont. The hero, Bill Morgan was a secondary character in Along Came Love, and I wanted to tell his story. After I read an article in our local newspaper about a gas pipeline explosion that caused a fire and destroyed several homes, I wondered what would happen to someone who lived through a tragedy like that. I researched burn injuries, and I gave that background to the heroine, Jennifer Evans. The manuscript was finished a few years ago, but it did not find a publishing home, so I decided to publish it as an eBook in 2011. The reviews and responses from readers have been very touching, and I’m so glad I decided to make this book available.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
When I was young, I had a great aunt who gave me an award-winning book each year on my birthday and Christmas. These were wonderful stories like Little Women, Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Bronze Bow, and One Morning in Maine. My mom often read aloud to me, and that helped instill a love for reading in my heart. I visited the library each week and spent hours reading. I was inspired to write Christian fiction after reading novels by Francine Rivers, Liz Curtis Higgs and Elizabeth White. Now there are so many authors I admire. I love to read books by Cathy Gohlke, Susan Warren, Jenny Jones, Tammy Alexander, Vickie McDonough, Carla Stewart, Linda Nichols, and Julie Lessman.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
My faith is central to who I am and everything I do. As an author, I’m following Jesus’ example by using stories to touch people’s hearts and help them understand God’s love and truth. I like to give my characters problems and struggles, and then show how they connect with God and find the help they need to overcome those problems. I pray about every story I write, and I often sense Him guiding me as the story unfolds and I weave in that spiritual thread.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
I wrote my first novel when I was 12 years old, but my interests shifted to other things after that. I didn’t return to writing fiction until I was in my early forties, after our family spent a year in Kenya. When we returned to the U.S., I missed Kenya so much I decided to write a story set there as a way to relive some of those experiences. I discovered I loved creating stories and characters, and I started down the path to learn the skills I needed.
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
I hope readers will find inspiring, romantic, heartwarming stories brought to life by unforgettable characters who face the challenges of life with God’s help and direction. My goal for each book is to create a novel that touches the heart and lifts the spirit.
For those who read Surrendered Hearts, I hope that they will identify with the heroine, Jennifer, and the painful struggles she goes through. She is trying to make sense of all the pain and losses she has experienced in her life. She questions how a loving God could allow all these things to happen. As they see how God touches her life through her brother, her friends, and His Word, I hope they will come to understand how much God loves them and wants to bring good out of those challenging experiences. Jennifer also works through question, “What makes a woman truly beautiful?” I think this is a question every woman asks, and reading this story can help her discover the answer to that important question.