The Inspiration for Jennifer Slattery’s debut novel comes
from events in her own past—events she would rather leave in the past. Jennifer
opened up about her inspiration and her freshman novel,

Beyond I Do (New Hope Publishers).

Beyond
I Do

is about a woman seeking purpose, but along the way, she finds she may have to
give up security. What inspired this novel?

Much of this novel deals with the homeless population,
stemming from my own experience with homelessness as a teenager. Thanks to
Christ, I got my feet under me and moved on. I thought my past was in the past.
In fact, I begged God to leave it there, telling Him again and again I’d only
write as long as no one ever knew who and what I once was. But then God began
to open my eyes to the immense pain all around me. Pain I once had experienced
had been healed from by God’s grace. I knew I couldn’t see such pain and simply
do nothing. Through a bit of angst-filled prayer, I realized God
wanted me to point others to the same ladder He had lowered down to me—Jesus
Christ.

What themes emerge in this novel?

One of the biggest themes is surrender. To find God’s best,
Ainsley will have to surrender her ideas of what that best is. This terrifies
her for she fears she may have to give up all those things she believes give
her security, though ignoring God’s leading terrifies her more.

Can you tell us more about your main character, Ainsley?

Ainsley hides her true self behind starched dress suits and
heels while plotting her five-year career plan. Deep down, she’d rather be in a
t-shirt and sneakers, listening to soft praise music. However, she’s spent
so much of her life focusing on who and what she doesn’t want
to be, she’s lost sight of herself. She’ll have to face her fears—and deal with
some wounds from her past—to find herself again.

What do you hope readers feel when they finish this book?

I hope they feel closer to Christ and are encouraged to follow whole-heartedly after Him, even if doing so feels uncomfortable, uncertain, or frightening. Because I believe He has great things planned for each one of us; much better than anything we could plan for ourselves.

Who are some writers who have inspired you?

Francine Rivers for sure! I was reading her before writing
was even on my radar. I also love, love, love anything by Mary Conneally and
admire her ability to write about intense subjects with humor, authenticity,
and grace. I’ve also been greatly inspired by the courage of Kathi Macias, a
fellow New Hope Publishers writer, who has written about some very difficult
yet necessary subjects.

This is your first novel for publication, correct? Do you have any more in the
works?

Yes, it is, and I do, thanks for asking. I have a second
novel coming out sometime in 2015 titled When Dawn Breaks. This one
is also a romance. It’s about a fifty-one year old realtor displaced by a
hurricane. She uses the disaster as an opportunity to reconnect with her
embittered daughter. Along the way, she encounters three children abandoned by
their mother. Can God use someone who deeply hurt her own child to
bring hope to someone else’s. And will it cost her the man she loves?

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About The Author

Jennifer Slattery writes writes Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, Internet Cafe Devotions and Takin' it to the Streets, a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.