LATEST PROJECT: Driftwood Tides (9781414366425, $14.99, September).
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House Publishers.
What is the premise of your new book, Driftwood Tides?
Libby Slater gets the shock of a lifetime when she receives the results from her premarital genetic testing and learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is given the name of her biological mother. Libby isn’t able to locate her, but is able to track down her husband, Holton Creary, who knows nothing of the child his wife gave up for adoption. Together the two try to find out the truth about Libby’s mother and the place they fit in each other’s lives and hearts.
What type of character is Libby Slater?
Libby is a seeker. She’s always known she didn’t quite fit in with her family, so besides it being a shock to learn she’s not who she thought she was, she learns no one in her life really is. In many ways she’s been dealt a tough hand in life, but she realizes she’s also been given many blessings—although it takes her the majority of the story to come to that conclusion.
What is Holton Creary like at the start of the story?
Holton is a temperamental artist through and through, but also a sheep posing in wolves’ clothing. He drinks to numb the pain and guilt of losing his wife and tries to be as standoffish as he can to keep others at bay so he doesn’t hurt anyone else or get hurt.
Why is forgiveness such an important theme for you?
I’ve had an interesting life and have needed to offer a lot of forgiveness to the people I love the most. Being just as human as they, I’ve needed to ask for quite a bit as well. I think Christianity at its core is about forgiveness. God gives so much grace, but in return, He asks us to extend it to others. There seems to me to be so much difficulty with not just the world, but the church also, being willing to forgive others. I have a hard time understanding how we can think we are any less wretched than those who’ve hurt us. Surely we’ve hurt others just as often. Surely we’ve hurt God’s heart.
Are there other themes in this novel?
The question of what makes someone a parent. I was raised for a vast part of my life by a parent of no biological relation. I struggled with who was really mom and dad and have come to the conclusion that biology, to me, is far less important than commitment and love.
What is one thing you want readers of this book to take away?
That no one is perfect. The person sitting in the pew on Sunday every week and doing their daily devotions each morning is no less a sinner than the alcoholic down the street who has fallen into a pit of despair. God longs for both of them, and no one is beyond the reach of Jesus.
Did your background in nursing help in writing this book?
It always does. Being a nurse has allowed me to see people in the most vulnerable situations without the mask we all put on to face the world. It’s given me an incredible opportunity for insight into what makes people really tick when they’re scared, mourning, witnessing the miracle of birth or the (worldly) finality of death. It’s been such a gift.
How would you describe your style as a writer?
I try my best to write the way I really think. Friends would describe me as down to earth, and I hope that shows in my writing. I don’t want to be fancy or throw out big words that readers have to stop every other page to look up. I want to speak in a way that most will understand. I’ve always assumed I’m pretty common, so if I struggle with something or have thoughts that may seem off the wall, I assume others do, too. Some of the stuff I write is a little quirky.
What else should Christian retailers know about Driftwood Tides?
I’ve, to date, written about some really tough subjects: death, abandonment, infidelity, abuse and alcoholism, and although I again take on alcoholism to some extent, this book, I’d say, is less issue-driven than my others and quite a bit lighter. The setting is my favorite part. Who doesn’t want to spend the time it takes to read a novel digging their toes into the soft sands of the Outer Banks and counting their blessings? That’s what I think the biggest takeaway from Driftwood Tides is. It was for me in writing it at least.