The Christian author talks about the challenges of forgiveness and redemption.

Courtney Walsh is an artist, theatre director, playwright—and novelist. Her latest Christian romance novel is Just Let Go (Tyndale House). When circumstances throw together an uptight flower shop owner and a reckless Olympic skier, what can they possibly have to learn from each other? In this interview, Courtney talks about the core themes of the novel, the surprising inspiration for her characters, and how her own experiences shaped the story…

What inspired you to write Just Let Go?

I think my biggest inspiration is my own inability to let things go. I wanted to explore the idea of forgiving someone who never says they’re sorry because I’ve had to do that in my own life, and I truly think it’s one of the most difficult things to do. Forgiveness is hard enough, but when the person who has wronged you isn’t apologetic, that’s even harder!

When it came to the rest of the story, I loved the idea of a little flower shop in a small town and how the people working there would get to share in all the major milestones of people’s lives. Plus, who doesn’t love flowers?

Tell us about some of the core themes that are explored in your novel. How can your readers relate to these areas in their own lives?

Quinn has a few core themes in her story—holding on to a dream that isn’t destined to come true, struggling to forgive, struggling to let go, to name a few.

Grady’s story is different. While he’s also struggling to forgive, the person he’s at war with is himself. He’s also racing against time, trying to prove he still has value and worth—he just hasn’t realized a gold medal isn’t where he’ll find those things.

Why do you think so many of us struggle with forgiveness and letting go? How did your personal experiences in dealing with these issues play out in writing this book?

Over the years, I’ve had more than a few instances where I’ve faced a choice of holding on to my hurt after someone has wronged me or letting it go. I realize there are varying degrees of hurt, but letting go of it is one of the most challenging experiences. It’s difficult to reconcile the way we feel—that the person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven—with what we know is true—that it’s better for us if we forgive them.

It’s something I still have to talk myself through, a mountain I continue to walk around. Writing is therapeutic, though, so diving into this topic with my characters was cathartic somehow. Maybe I’ll forgive more quickly the next time!

Click through to discover the role faith plays in the novel–and the surprising inspiration for one of the characters…

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About The Author

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children.