Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blogside Chat | Becky Wade

If you've been reading here for the last month or so, you may remember me gushing about a new book by a new Christian fiction author, Becky Wade. Well, guess what?! Becky Wade is here today for a Blogside Chat! I'm so excited to learn a little bit more about her book My Stubborn Heart and the woman behind the story! (You can read my review here.) Here's the blurb from the back of the book:
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance. 
Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.
When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?


i blog 4 books: For any readers who might not be familiar with you, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Becky Wade: I'm a southern California girl who attended Baylor University, met a Texas boy there, married the Texas boy, and lived overseas for four years before settling in - you guessed it - Texas! I'm the mom of three kids (ages 11, 8, 3). I drive around in an SUV, usually toting children or my Cavalier Spaniel (who adores carpool). I spend a lot of my time trying to keep up with my household's childcare, cleaning, grocery, meal, and laundry demands. But while I'm doing all that, my imagination is often immersed in my manuscript and my characters. I'm a huge fan of romantic books and movies, beach vacations, dinners out, and See's Chocolates.

ib4b: Sounds like you're a busy lady! What was the inspiration behind My Stubborn Heart?

BW: I wanted to write a story about healing. That's it! That was the initial inspiration. In order to do it, I knew I needed a wounded main character. In answer, Matt Jarreau (My Stubborn Heart's hero) began to take shape in my mind.

For those of you who haven't read My Stubborn Heart, Matt was once a great NHL hockey player. Then his beloved wife died of cancer. He was so stricken by his loss that he left behind his sport, the money, the fame -- all of it -- and returned to his small hometown to live as a hermit.

The entire novel grew, layer upon layer, from Matt's character.

ib4b: I loved Matt's character ... interesting that the rest of the story stemmed from him. What message or lesson do you hope readers will take away from reading it?

BW: The message that in His time, God can (and will) masterfully work out the destinies of His people.

ib4b: How do you see yourself in the book?

BW: I most see myself most in Kate's wry outlook on life. Her sense of humor, her emotions, and her insecurities are all very much mine.

ib4b: The more I read, the more I appreciate the research that authors do to deliver a realistic story. Tell us about your research process for this book.

BW: Kate (My Stubborn Heart's heroine) loves antiques, so I checked out some books on antiques from the library. I photocopy pertinent sections of research books so that: a) I can highlight all over them and b) I can easily consult them later. I researched things like Kate's career as a social worker, the Pennsylvania setting, and hockey online.

ib4b: It seems like most authors have quite an interesting journey to getting published. What did you do in your "former life"?

BW: Well, strangely, I was also an author in my "former life". So you could say that my CBA debut is my "second life" as an author. And you could definitely say that My Stubborn Heart is God's "second chance" gift to me.

Before kids, I published historical romances for the general market. Then two things happened simultaneously...
  • My oldest child was born.
  • My publisher decided not to offer me a contract for more books.
God spoke to me through those events. I knew He meant for me to leave the writing behind and concentrate on mothering my baby, so for the next seven years I did exactly that. My husband and I had baby #2 and baby #3. I grew more sure with every child and every passing year that I'd never write again.

But eventually, to my great surprise, God called me back to it. This time I knew unequivocally that He wanted me to write for the Christian market or not at all. So whenever I could find a quiet or solitary moment (not easy for stay-at-home moms of young kids!) I sat down and at my computer and worked on a manuscript. That manuscript became My Stubborn Heart.

ib4b: That's quite a journey to where you are today! I (for one) sure am glad that the Lord called you to write for the Christian market! Where do you like to write?

Becky's Desk at Home
BW: Two places. My first choice is at home at my desk, which is situated right in front of a big window overlooking the front yard. I like home best because I have my dog's company plus ready access to snacks and the bathroom. :)

My second choice is the library. Because quiet can be scarce at my house and because I need quiet to concentrate, I take my computer to the study floor of my local library one afternoon each week. I plant myself there and work for hours. Here's a shot of my favorite spot at the library. When I arrive to find someone in "my" spot, I'm grumpy!

ib4b: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

Becky's Favorite Spot at the Library
BW: The Little House collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder! My mom read the series out loud to me when I was too small to read them myself. I still remember sitting next to her on the living room sofa, listening, enthralled, completely carried away. I credit my mom and those books (I cherished the TV show, too) for first breathing to life my lifelong love of reading.

ib4b: What was the last "must read" Christian fiction book that you read?

BW: Love On The Line by Deeanne Gist

ib4b: Ooh ... that was a great book! What's on your nightstand?

BW: A lamp, framed photos, a piece of coral from the Caribbean island of Anguilla, an empty bottled water, 6 books (I'm currently reading Short-Straw Bride), sweet notes and mementos from my kids, and my toddler's baby book. I placed the baby book there in hopes that seeing it daily would inspire me to work on it. Uh huh. Yeah. Like that'll ever happen.

ib4b: What is your dream vacation?

BW: A lavish trip to Paris with my husband. In my imagination we'd stay at the Ritz, sleep late, consume croissants and coffee for breakfast, explore the city, eat crepes, see shows, buy Chanel products. ...Did I mention eating crepes?

ib4b: Sounds like a great vacation to me! What’s a talent you wish you had?

BW: Any shred of musical talent would be welcome. I can't read music, play a single instrument, or sing a single note on key.

ib4b: Do you have a "life verse" or favorite Scripture?

BW: "He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30

ib4b: Such a powerful verse, and one I need to spend more time meditating on. Write your memoir in six words or less.

BW: She loved: God, family, writing books.

ib4b: Can you tell us a bit about what you're working on now? When can we expect to see it in stores?

BW: My next novel will be called Undeniably Yours and it will be available around this time next year. Like My Stubborn Heart, it's a modern, fun, and emotional Christian romance. Here's a sneak peek:
When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft spoken and tenderhearted -- more interested in art than in oil -- she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.
The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

But the more time Meg spends in Bo's company, the more she realizes that the straightforward cowboy with the steady gaze and the trustworthy heart might be the one thing on the ranch well worth keeping.
ib4b: Wow! That sounds like a great book! If it's anything like My Stubborn Heart, I know I'll enjoy it! Thanks so much for stopping by, Becky!

Becky Wade Online



Oh ... and one more little surprise ... here's a sneak peek at the Prologue of My Stubborn Heart!

Prologue

There once was a girl who'd been praying for a husband since the fourth grade.  Over the years she'd prayed for his health, his happiness, his protection, and -- okay -- sometimes for his good looks.  She'd prayed that she would meet him when she was meant to.     

Except that she hadn't. 

She'd been avidly expecting and watching for him all this time, from the fourth grade straight up to the age of thirty-one.  And though she tried hard to be positive,  the truth was that she'd grown tired of waiting.  Tired of dating.  Tired of breaking off just two bananas from the bunch at the grocery store.  Tired of the singles group at church.  Tired of living alone. 

Worse, she was beginning to doubt that her nameless, faceless husband existed at all.  Maybe, late at night in her kid bed, her college bed, her adult single woman bed, she'd been praying for someone who wasn't coming.  Ever. 

Perhaps her husband had run in front of a bus as a child.  What did God do in that situation?  Swap in an understudy?  Or maybe she'd missed her husband during the bustle of her college years, never knowing that the shy guy from physics class was the one.  Or perhaps, right from the start, God had never intended for her to marry.

Or maybe, just maybe -- and this was the hope she still clung to despite the evidence to the contrary -- her husband was still on his way.

*****

There once was a mother who'd been praying double hard for her son ever since he'd stopped praying for himself. 

From earliest childhood, he'd been extraordinary - a perfect, miraculous blend of athletic ability and focused determination.  She and her husband had supported and loved him, but never expected of him what he'd made of himself.  How could it even have entered her mind to dream a dream that big?  She'd watched with a mixture of sentimental pride and stunned surprise as he'd climbed up every level of the sport of hockey. 

By the age of eighteen he was playing professionally.  From there, at what she'd thought would be the pinnacle, his star had only continued to rise.  He'd been photographed for grocery store magazines.  He'd moved into a house surrounded by a wall of security.  He'd married a beautiful girl in a grand wedding ceremony filled with the flashes of cameras, wedding planners, and peach colored roses.

Her son had accomplished it all.  The height of success in his career.  National fame.  Wealth.  The best personal happiness with his wife.

And then it had all come apart, crashing and rolling out of reach like a handfull of spilled marbles.  His wife had been diagnosed with cancer and nothing -- not the most money, not the best doctors -- had been able to save her.  When she'd died, he'd walked away from his sport, from the big house with the wall, from the fame.

In the years since, he'd retreated inside himself to a place where none of his family or friends could reach him.  So his mother prayed.  She prayed that God wouldn't forget about him, this son of hers, who'd gained and lost the world in just a third of his lifetime.  She prayed that God would send someone who could find him and save him from his prison of grief.  And she prayed that maybe, somehow, in time, his heart would soften and he'd find love again.

*****

Funny thing about prayers.  God hears them.  But you just never know if, when, or how He's going to answer them.

3 comments:

  1. Brooke, Thank you so much for inviting me to a blogside chat! I enjoyed answering your fun and interesting questions. It's my honor to visit.

    Warmly, Becky

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, ladies. Always enjoy hearing more about contemporary Christian romance authors, and I'm looking forward to meeting Becky in September in Dallas. Great to get a sneak peek into her next book, too! You gotta love those cowboys. Hope my book about my cowboy is still on your nightstand, Becky. BTW, my uncle is an honest-to-goodness oil millionaire (but in KY), so if you need any questions answered (I'm totally serious), call on me, okay? And, believe it or not, I used to run around town (in MA) with a descendant of Laura Ingalls Wilder. As my website says, I've "been around in the 'nicest' sense of the word'"! Blessings, and thanks for the great interview.

    ReplyDelete
  3. JoAnn - you have indeed been around! ;) Can't wait to share a meal with you in Dallas... I've no doubt the conversation will be fascinating.

    And yes! Here's to contemporary Christian romance authors. There's not enough of us, are there JoAnn? We need to stick together!

    ReplyDelete

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