The author explains how she sought to write about a well-rounded faith that trusts—and respects—the Lord.
Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance. Her latest novel is Brunch at Bittersweet Café (Tyndale House), the follow-up to her popular book Saturday Night Supper Club. In this interview, Carla explains the role that faith plays in the story, the most difficult part writing it, and the importance of exploring the intersection of culture, feminism, career, and faith for the Christian woman.
What inspired you to write Brunch at Bittersweet Café?
Typically, I can pinpoint one moment that inspired the direction of a story, but this book came along far more gradually. I knew after writing Melody in The Saturday Night Supper Club that her relentless positivity and cheeriness hid some deeper issues. It was really just a process of exploring what those might be—particularly after the hints I gave about her mother in the first book.
The spiritual themes, however, came from growing up as a Christian and how often I’ve seen outward happiness mistaken for true joy. The fake-it-’til-you-feel-it mentality is prevalent in some Christian circles, even today, and it’s one that Millennial Christians are rejecting in greater numbers.
How do you expect the novel to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this story?
I feel like Melody is a character that most of us can relate to in some way. She has all the ingredients to have her dream life, but she still stumbles along because she’s so inwardly conflicted on what she wants.
It can be so tempting to live your life in a holding pattern, especially when the Bible emphasizes patience, but that attitude can also lead us into the trap of simply waiting and hoping without taking any steps of our own. That, combined with the pressure to always show a cheerful exterior, can lead us to magical thinking, where we just know that everything will be all right if we keep going as we are, rather than to a deeper faith in which we are tested and strengthened by trials.
What role does faith play in this story?
Through both Melody’s and Justin’s journeys, I explore the meaning of faith and the different—and erroneous—ways we can look at God. I think without meaning to, we can start to view God as the magical gumball machine in the sky: put in a quarter (your prayer), get your gumball (your wish).
But our experience with God is not transactional. It’s a relationship. Both characters have to learn that true faith is releasing your dreams, hopes, and sorrows to a God who loves us and trusting Him to give us what we need, not what we think we want.
Carla shares the lessons of her novel: Click through to continue!