Gina Holmes’ latest novel
(Tyndale House) tells an intriguing story of a widower named Holton, who
discovers that his wife had many secrets in her past–secrets that come
knocking on his door in the form of 23-year-old Libby, who claims to be his
wife’s illegitimate daughter.
What inspired this novel?
I’ve always been fascinated by the pieces of
shell and stone that I find along the beach. A piece of freshly broken and
ragged seashell will be nothing special, nothing useful, but let the ocean toss
it around for a number of years and suddenly you have something beautiful. God
does that with us when we let him. The trials we face can really hurt, but God
says He uses all things good and bad for the good of those who love Him and
I’ve personally found that to be true in my life.
Why do you think people tend to do this in the
wake of the loss of loved ones?
That’s a tough one, and I’m not sure I have the
answer. Maybe for the same reason we put things like “beloved wife,
mother, friend” on the headstone instead of “dog-kicker, lazy,
slob”. All joking aside, I think maybe it’s a self-preservation
defense. It would be terribly depressing to do the opposite and focus instead
on everything the person did wrong instead of right.
Did you do a lot of research about grief while
you were writing this novel?
Like most of the human race, I’ve known my
share of grief so researching that subject wasn’t necessary. What I did do a
lot of research on was driftwood sculpting. It’s such a fascinating and unique
art. If you do an internet search for driftwood stallion, I think you’ll
What are some other themes in the novel you
feel will resonate with readers?
Finding and extending forgiveness is a
recurring theme in all my novels because I’ve had to give a lot of it in my
life and have needed it in return. Libby needs to forgive her parents for
giving her up for adoption, even though it was done in her best interest.
Holton needs to forgive his wife and himself. Imagine finding out your spouse
had a child in the world she never told you about? I find it fascinating when I
meet someone who refuses to forgive others for things they themselves are just
as guilty of and I’m sure I’ve done some of that in my life. I strive to do
better and I hope my work shows that.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing
Alcoholism is a tough subject to write about.
Even though I’ve seen family and friends struggle with it, I myself have never
had this inclination. It’s taken me a long time to wrap my brain around it and
after taking a more negative view on it in my last novel, Wings of Glass, in
this book I wanted to show the other side, that alcoholics aren’t a lost cause.
Many want to and do recover.