What are you reading right now?
I just started A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears and am really enjoying it. Melissa is a very gifted writer! Her word choices are unique and very effective, and her characters are very likeable.
I've read one of her stories so far and enjoyed it.Tell us about When Dawn Breaks – a brief blurb:
I’d love to!
As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. Dealing with his own issues, Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?
You can read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1
I love the cover. Is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?
More than anything, I hope my readers walk away with a deep knowledge of God’s never-ending, never-changing love for them and a passion and the courage to pursue His purpose for their lives.
I’ve been asked this question a lot lately, and I think my answer may change a little each time. I think this is because the novel, in many ways, developed organically. But as I thought about this question last night, I realized this storyline was birthed back in 2005, before I’d really surrendered to God’s call to write, and we were living in Katrina-ravished Louisiana. At the time, our church helped with the relief efforts, and I met many very broken men and women. Somehow one character arose in my brain, and the idea of a the storm forcing this individual to live in a tense environment—a relationally volatile environment—after the storm. It was an interesting notion, but little more than that. One of those, “Maybe some day I’ll write a story about…” But at the time, I was crazy busy raising and homeschooling our daughter, helping with the storm relief efforts, serving at our church. Then we moved, and moved again, and moved again. And the idea was completely forgotten. In my mind. But of course, we know God never forgets, and often it takes years for Him to bring about certain plans. J When we’re ready.
. What impact did your research have on you personally?
You know, there were times this was a difficult novel to write. I’ve been alert to foster care issues since our daughter was very young. Three times our family has begun taking steps toward fostering, and once we moved consistently toward international adoption, but each time, we sensed God closing the doors. I believe He used the passion I have for hurting and orphaned children to help me write this novel, but as I was researching (and talking with my sister, who’s worked in the foster care industry for some time), my heart bled for these poor children. I couldn’t help but ask, again and again, “What can I do, LORD?” He’s shown our family our role is to be a support, emotional and financial, to those called to foster and adopt, as it truly does take a village. J
While you were writing When Dawn Breaks, do you think it mattered where the book was set?
It absolutely did. I needed it to start on the Gulf Coast, where the hurricane hit. Then, I wanted the rest of the novel to occur close enough to the coast to provide shelter storm refugees but far enough away for that town to remain unaffected by the storm directly. In essence, the two fictional locations mirrored my experience living in first Bossier City, Louisiana when Katrina hit then New Braunfels Texas shortly after (but still recent enough to frequently encounter displaced storm victims).
How do you handle distractions?
Um… terribly. I do best writing with complete silence which is why I do the bulk of my creative writing during the day when my hubby’s at work and my daughter’s at school.
When you’re working on a project, how do you keep the immensity of it from getting you down?
The fictional part rarely bogs me down unless I put unrealistic expectations on myself. So far I’ve never written under contract, so that helps alleviate stress. But when I’m doing big picture edits under a deadline, I can get insecure, overtired, and discouraged. When that happens, I remind myself that the sprint will be short lived. I usually plan a totally fun girlfriend day for the day after deadline, as well. J And to help alleviate some of my stress, I remind myself that I am only accountable to do my best; God takes responsibility for the rest. That always gives me a great deal of peace.
. Has there been a time in your own life where you could really sense God was putting you in a situation for a reason?
Often! Probably the biggest has been my recent bout with chronic illness. I and my family (church and nuclear) have prayed many times for my healing, but whenever I do, God reminds me of Paul and what he went through (the thorn in his flesh). God has told and showed me numerous times that He can use me in my sick state, that my ill-health keeps me in a place of humility and dependence, and that He is molding my heart through it. And honestly, I find that incredibly beautiful.
Where can readers find you online?
They can visit my blog, where I post devotions and inspiring testimonials and often host talented authors, at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. They can also connect with me at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jenslattery
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.