The main characters of The Masterpiece might not receive a warm welcome in every church across the country. What do you want readers to see in these characters—and in themselves?
Never judge by outward appearances. It takes courage for people to come into a new church—or enter a church for the first time. Christians are, after all, “aliens,” very different from the world—or should be.
Visitors and newcomers may look different than we do. They may come from different places. If people seem unapproachable, offer a smile and nod of greeting. Give them space. Give them time. Extend courtesy and welcome to all. And when the door opens, talk with them about Jesus—not just inside the walls of a church, but anywhere.
Roman Velasco is unlike any other male character you’ve written. What was most challenging about crafting the character of a rebel graffiti artist? Why did you choose this character?
I thought the hardest part in writing about Bobby Ray Dean/the Bird/Roman Velasco was going to be learning about the art form, challenges in doing it and getting away with it, terms and materials.
But the real challenge was figuring out what drove this boy/man to paint graffiti—and the kind of graffiti pieces he did. We have crews in town that go out and buff (cover) graffiti as soon as possible.
Many times, graffiti is a territorial marker, a challenge, evidence of war going on in your community. I wanted Bobby Ray Dean to have other motivations which evolve as he grows up and into the persona of Roman Velasco. He feels illegitimate as the Bird, but strives for legitimacy through Roman Velasco. The graffiti and the canvas work he does show the war going on inside him.
It takes God to bring the two sides together and blend the mediums into a new, unique art quest and passion.
What does The Masterpiece have in common with your other novels, and how is it unique?
Every story I’ve written contains a love story. Brokenness, healing, and redemption are consistent themes in my work. This book has that in common with all my others.
However, in other stories, I’ve had one main character be strong in faith. The difference in this novel, both people are broken and struggling.
Grace is the Christian, but she has fallen several times, and suffered greatly for it. Her faith is an uphill, arduous climb. Roman adds to that battle. They both come from traumatic childhood experiences that have shaped their lives.
The strong Christian voices in this story come from secondary characters.
What do you hope your readers come to know about God through this story?
I want readers to know that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you’ve done, when you accept Jesus, God will make you into His masterpiece.
Click to find out how Francine’s mission as a writer has changed over the years…