Friday, March 15, 2019

You're Amazing Book Beginnings by Julie Arduini

Book Beginnings
Julie Arduini

Ah, beginnings. Who doesn’t love hearing how a couple met or how a new job started? I’m a sucker for those stories, and honestly, those tales inspire me to write. When Laura told me her theme was beginnings and that a possible post could be about where my book beginnings come from, I was excited. I don’t think any authors or even one author of many books share the same beginning inspiration.

For me, I credit God’s direction and people observation with the genesis of my books. With the Surrendering Time series, it all started when I first visited Speculator, New York in the early 1990’s. I instantly fell in love with the Adirondack Mountains and pictured rural characters who would welcome a newcomer. What if one person in the area isn’t thrilled with the new resident? What if sparks fly despite their conflict? That was all it took for me to write Entrusted, and only God knew that would spawn Entangled and Engaged as well. The community characters were so strong that two more heroines popped up and had their own books. I love that my writing life started with that series.

God then threw a plot twist.I thought it was time to start the next contemporary romance series I had sketched out about sextuplets who stay in the national spotlight because of tragedy and now as young adults, each are trying to find their own identity as well as a romance like their parents had. That idea came from talking with my sister about a topic that was a little similar, and watching This is Us and admiring their ability to write such strong stories for three siblings. However, before I could start, our daughter was going through an extra hard time in middle school and as she processed it, I realized she was telling a story.

I encouraged Hannah to keep sharing, and that I thought she had a great book in mind that could encourage other girls. I promised I’d write it if she helped me. She plotted a three-book series. You’re Beautiful started with a group of middle school girls living in Youngstown, Ohio, attending a mentoring ministry at their church. Hayley, loosely based on Hannah, was the middle school protagonist who is told that she’s not just ugly, but “pretty ugly.” Her mentor, a recent college grad named Sabrina Wayson, was raised by her uncle and aunt because her biological parents were unable to properly care for her. When Sabrina runs into her biological dad, she leaves the conversation feeling ugly. That started the journey for both these characters to surrender that lie they both were believing and find freedom in Christ’s promises.

You’re Amazing was also Hannah’s brainchild, and she continued with the mentoring theme by telling Jazmin’s story. I was surprised when she told me the story was starting not just with action, but tragedy. I knew Jazmin was going to be a middle school aged dancer because her dear friend is a bit of the inspiration for Jazmin. What I didn’t know was Hannah created a way for Jazmin to experience conflict right from the first chapter---the loss of her favorite dance studio. I have no idea where the idea came from, but I know from my previous work, Hannah has been one I go to consistently for plotting help. She’s been able to come up with ideas that my adult think team didn’t. Jazmin’s mentor is Lena, a mom with young children questioning her self-worth. Much of Lena’s story comes from observing moms, and remembering my own doubts. I’m really proud of these books and the messages they send to readers.

Like I shared, I love a good story about beginnings. My prayer is something in my books and how they began is an inspiration to you.

You’re Amazing
Book 2, Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’
Julie Arduini/Hannah Arduini
Short Blurb: A middle schooler and her mentor, a mom of young boys, realize they both have a lot to learn when they come across criticism.
Long Blurb:
            Jazmin’s a natural at dance until a series of changes make her wonder if she should even keep up with her favorite hobby.
            Lena’s a mom with young children overwhelmed with her schedule when a woman remarks that what Lena does isn’t even important.
            Both Jazmin and Lena belong to Linked, a mentoring ministry where all ages encourage each other and build friendships.
            Can these two surrender the lies they are believing and realize they are amazing?
            A novella for tweens, teens, and women of all ages by mother and daughter team Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini.
Pre-Order You’re Amazing:
Releases eBook Format February 4. Print Format February 2019.

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Marie Bast said...

Interesting, Julie, and congrats to both you and Hannah. Hannah did an amazing job.

Christy Miller said...

Good for you, Hannah! I wish I'd had a writing mentor when I was your age. I'm proud of you!

Julie Arduini said...

Thank you for letting us share today. Marie and Christy, we appreciate your encouragement so much!

Kathleen said...

Great blog post, Julie and Laura! Thanks for sharing your story beginnings, Julie, and I loved learning that Hannah played such a big role in bringing her characters to life. Well done!

B J Bassett said...

I always like to hear about a writer's beginnings of their book(s). Julie and Hannah's books are so needed.

Marilyn R. said...

Thank you for sharing about your beginning, Julie. Congratulations to you and Hannah on "You're Amazing". I'm sure this book will minister to young readers and even adults as they read it.

Heidi Kortman said...

Hannah, each book in this series has had me thinking about things. Sometimes I slip comments in on the chapters your mom lets me see. I don't know whether she's told you about any of them or not. Keep being Hannah-cool.

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