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Friends, you are in for a treat today. 🙂 Jennifer Rodewald is here to visit, and she is bringing with her a giant giveaway! She has paperback copies of both of her novels — Blue Columbine and Reclaimed — and she has e-copies, too. We’ll do two drawings, one for the paperbacks and one for the e-books. That means each winner will get two books! Not only that, I think you’re going to enjoy getting to know Jennifer, too!
Welcome, Jennifer! Lets start with Five Fast Favorites.
I’m imaging one of those game shows right now, and I’m not sure I’m very good at it! That’s okay, here we go…
Green. Sage, more to the point, but you know…
Fall. And Spring. Mostly fall. Except after winter, then it’s spring.
Cats or dogs?
My cat Sapphire is my fave…but then I do love my little mutt named Hound. But only that guy. Most dogs, I could take or leave.
Sports or music?
Sports, unless I’m writing. Then it’s music. I love watching college football, and my daughter run, my other two girls swim, and my son play flag football. But if I’m writing, music puts me in the story, so I really can’t live without it!
Oh, goodness…can’t you tell that I’m indecisive? Actually, I call it eclectic. So there. 😉 So the movie thing depends on the genre. I LOVE The Magic of Ordinary Days put out by Hallmark. I’m also a huge Bourne fan. Not to mention Pirates. Love those! And, The Hunger Games…one of the few stories that I really enjoyed the movies more than the books, and I’m crossing my fingers that the film producers fixed the end of Mocking Jay. (Doubt it, but I have a few weeks left of wishful thinking. Don’t ruin it for me.)
Okay, did I win? No? Was it the thing about not being able to decide? Nuts…
LOL — It wasn’t really a contest, but I feel like there should be a big prize anyway. Oh right — you’re offering an awesome giveaway. Maybe that can be the prize… Before we start talking about your book, let’s share the summary.
“A truly emotional read that is beautifully written.”
Left wounded by a marriage cut short, Suzanna Wilton leaves city life to take up residency in a tiny Nebraska town. Her introduction to her neighbor Paul Rustin is a disaster. Assuming he’s as underhanded as the other local cowboys she’s already met, Suzanna greets him with sharp hostility.
Though Paul is offended by Suzanna’s unfriendliness, he can’t stop thinking about her, which unsettles his peaceful life. A hard-fought friendship slowly kindles something more, but just as Paul’s kindness begins to melt Suzanna’s frozen heart, a conflict regarding her land escalates in town. Even in the warmth of Paul’s love, resentment keeps a cold grip on her fragile heart.
Will Suzanna ever find peace?
I love a good cowboy story. 😉 What inspired you to write this particular novel?
Sometimes this is a hard question to answer…because stories often just come to me. I see them play out, and then I must write. But, there seems to be something underlying that God is teaching me, and because He knows me so well, He does it through story.
Anger is a poison that wilts your spirit. It can be at many things or people, but when it grips your heart, it is very hard to break free. I see it in others, but more importantly I see it in me.
Suzanna’s life sort of unfolded in my mind, and though her story is definitely not mine, I was a little bit appalled at how well I knew her—how much of me is in her. I think that through the revealing of her life, God was showing me how cut off from real living we can become when we shroud our lives with hurt and bitterness. Often we don’t even know that we’re doing it, and it doesn’t have to be one single reason why, but we can shrivel into ourselves, rejecting love from God and others, when we allow hurt to sprout anger and feed it with bitterness.
The other element, though is love. God’s love, very often revealed in tangible ways through others. Paul was that for Suzanna, and there’s definitely a reason for that. My husband has shown me a more excellent way. He demonstrates forgiveness, forbearance, and selfless love to me—even when I’m ugly and difficult. In his love I see and feel my Father’s deep esteem for me, and I know that He sees all the yucky stuff in my heart and loves me anyway. That literally tears me up, even as I am writing this out.
That’s awesome, and something I imagine most of us can relate to in some way. What do you hope your readers will take away from this story?
Hopefully I can pin this down—you’ve already seen how difficult it is for me to be precise, though, so wish me luck.
First, that understanding who God really is is life changing. If we see God as aloof, or worse, as one who is temperamental, we don’t see Him for who He really is, and we miss the relationship He invites us into. Knowing God is more than knowing Bible facts, more than attending any variety of religious services. His heart is for us to know Him in a personal and intimate way, and knowing Him changes everything.
Second, and from a different perspective, I hope with all of my books, as they go rather raw and a little bit on the deep side, that we as a community of believers maybe will see those who are rough and difficult to love as people who are indeed loved by the King. We very often don’t know their stories, but you can probably bet there’s a why behind the hard mask of a bitter woman. There’s probably a story that fuels the angry rebel.
This went through my mind as I was going over I Corinthians 13—a chapter most of us know well. Do we realize, though, that Paul was writing to the Church? Do we let it sink in that when he penned that love is patient and kind and not jealous and doesn’t boast and doesn’t keep a record of wrongs and rejoices in the truth, that Paul was addressing the Church? Maybe we need to soak in that…this chapter wasn’t written with a wedding ceremony in mind. It was delivered with a mission at it’s heart. That is why Paul began the passage with “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am nothing.”
In other words, “they will know us—and know the God who has sent us—because of our love. And this is what love looks like…”
Yes, there was romance in Reclaimed—Paul reached Suzanna with his love. But so did Andrea, and Kelsey, and the rest of the Rustin/Kent family. They showed her what God asked them to show—His love poured out on her bitter heart.
I know, in the writing of this book, that I was challenged to do the same.
I’ve got a few irons in the fire. I promised a follow-up to Blue Columbine, my debut novel and book one in the Grace Revealing Series. That is in the incubating stage. I will say that we will follow Cheryl’s life, see some of the fall out from the way Andrew, as well as other men, have treated her, and we will walk with her as she wrestles with her value beyond her beauty and success.
But, like I said, that’s still cooking…
I am looking forward to releasing another stand-alone book in the first half of 2016. The Carpenter’s Daughter has been a story that has given me fits—but it’s shaping up to be one of my best works. The deal is, God always seems to take me to school when I’m writing a story, so walking through these issues with these women (fictional thought they may be) is emotionally draining. Good for me, yes, but at times, a difficult journey none-the-less. God often wrings out my heart with this stuff, shows me the areas in my life I need to lay before Him or address, and sometime I really just want to run away.
I have to admit I quit on The Carpenter’s Daughter. Three times. Sarah’s journey seemed to be too much for me—maybe a little too close to home. But I’m glad that God, through my husband, bless his heart (insert a tad bit of sarcasm there. But just a smidge.) kept me on it.
Sarah Sharpe, the only daughter of a life-time contractor, has grown up without a mother in the world of men. When she overhears a harsh comment about her “butch” appearance, she is rocketed into a journey of self discovery. Who am I, and is that who I want to be? Questions she is desperate to answer, and questions that will take her deeper than she ever imagined possible.
While Sarah is a unique character, her hunt for identity is universal. Her journey has plunged my own heart deeper into my Father’s as I too must answer those questions—Who am I? Is that who I want to be?
Wow — definitely something we’ll want to watch for next year! Do you have a favorite Bible verse? Why is that one special to you?
Isaiah 49:15b-16 says, “Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…”
The scars my Redeemer wears aren’t just nail marks. They are a proclamation to me and to the world—I am His. He purchased me with his blood, bought me back from the Master of Darkness, and I. Belong. To. Him.
Nothing will change that. There is no stronghold that He cannot shatter. No sin that His blood cannot atone. No question that he cannot answer.
Nothing I can do, nothing of this world, can separate me from the love of Christ.
That’s such a great truth to hold onto. Can you share (briefly) about something you feel the Lord has been teaching you recently?
Guess what? I can be brief on this one! YAY!
He is enough.
I keep praying that He will continue to sink that anchor in deeper into my heart, because the need for affirmation is strong. But, beyond God’s truth, every smile of admiration, every word of praise, every moment of success is just another hit for a high that is doomed to sink into yet another low.
So anchor me here, Jesus. You are enough.
So, so true, Jennifer. He IS enough! Thank you so much for visiting with us! I’ll take a just a moment to explain the giveaway, since you are offering such a great prize. 🙂
- There will be two winners — one winner of the paperback copies of Blue Columbine and Reclaimed; one winner of the e-copies of Blue Columbine and Reclaimed.
- You MAY enter both giveaways.
- The same person cannot win both giveaways. (I will draw the paperback winner first, and if that individual is drawn again in the e-giveaway, I will draw another winner for the e-copies.)
More about Jennifer:
Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.
Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.
“Best read in a long time…”
Andrew and Jamie have been best friends forever—maybe more—until addiction shatters everything. Heartsick, Jamie finally sees that she cannot be the miracle Andrew needs, especially when he stubbornly insists that he doesn’t have a problem. Stuck between loyalty and fear, she makes a decision that changes everything, ripping them apart. Can the hand of Redemption reach into their broken lives?
“Strong writing. Memorable Characters.”