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Crystal Walton has a passion for the lost. I’m excited to introduce her to you today and let you hear her heart. She is also generously offering not one but three of her books in today’s giveaway! Before we visit with Crystal, here is a quick summary of her novel, Light Unshaken.
Between a dream engagement to promising musician Riley Preston and the perfect internship at a local outreach center, twenty-two-year-old Emma Matthews is living a life she never imagined could be real. But when Riley has to relocate to record an album, and a local gang leader threatens the Portland center, Emma grapples to remain unshaken.
As danger and secrets drive her into a heart tie she never should’ve formed, tension escalates until the risk of keeping her promise jeopardizes everything she’s fought to gain. Caught in a moment when all light in her life goes out, Emma has no choice but to find the courage to lead her heart no matter what it costs her.
Welcome, Crystal! How about five fast favorites to get us started? What is you favorite color? Sage
Favorite season? Spring
Cats or dogs? Cats
Sports or music? Music
Favorite movie? Ever After
Yes! “I shall go down in history as the man who opened a door.” Love it! 🙂 Let’s talk about your books. What inspired you to write Light Unshaken?
I didn’t approach Eyes Unveiled, planning on writing a series. But when I got to the end, I knew Emma and Riley’s story wasn’t over. The first book focuses on Emma’s journey of tearing down lies/doubts and uncovering a kindling of faith that maybe God really does have a plan for her life, including love.
But just like in life, as soon as we think we’ve overcome something, the enemy finds a way to sneak his stealthy claws back into our faith. And when those tests come flying at us, we don’t always make the courageous choice. We tend to fail. Miserably. We wrestle with temptations. We make bad decisions. We give in to fears. It’s not always pretty.
In Light Unshaken, I wanted to show the brokenness we all walk through because it’s part of what makes redemption so beautiful. Finding grace in failure is one of the main reasons I write what I do. In this story, especially.
Life can be messy, that’s for sure. What do you hope your readers will take away from the story?
My main hope as an author in general is for readers to enjoy an entertaining story while receiving a word of encouragement that speaks into real, raw, genuine life issues. In Light Unshaken, a major pressure point is the realization that love isn’t a fairy tale.
Now, if you’ve ready any of my books, you know I LOVE the gushy part of romance. And I honestly think God intends for us to enjoy that part. But I also want to be purposeful in not delivering a skewed depiction of romance. I approached this story, wanting to show the brokenness we carry into a relationship, the failures that comes through learning to be selfless, the courage it takes to make sacrifices, and the grace it takes to build a commitment that will last. That’s love. And I hope readers will find encouragement, knowing the heartache we often face while learning to guard our hearts and nurture a committed relationship is worth the cost.
We all carry baggage into every relationship. Dealing with it is so important. Why do you write “inspirational” fiction? (Who is your audience, and what impact do you hope to have?)
Ooo . . . I’ll try really hard not to turn this answer into an entire book of its own. First, I need to clarify that I don’t write Christian fiction. At least, not in the typical mold. I believe there’s an audience and purpose for traditional Christian Romance novels, but my heart has always been to reach the lost.
During my graduate program in missiology, we frequently talked about contextualizing the message so that our audience would be more open to receiving it. And I can’t think of a better medium to use than art.
Amidst all the trash out there that’s feeding into what girls believe about themselves and about love, I want to be a voice of hope and encouragement. I believe Christians can enjoy my clean romances as well, but my target audience has always been those who’ve never heard of CBD or who’d never feel comfortable picking up a novel labeled as Christian fiction.
Story is such a powerful medium. Even Jesus frequently taught through stories. Can you give any hints about what you are working on now?
I’ve absolutely loved every minute of writing the first draft of my latest manuscript, Write Me Home. The connections, the banter, the romance, the suspense, the message. All of it. So much fun. I’m dying to introduce readers to an outspoken fireman, a spitfire redhead and her eclectic best friend, an adorable Calico named Jax, and two hilarious dogs who know how to win your heart. It’s probably my favorite story so far.
That sounds like a fun story! What is one thing you wish you had known before you started writing/publishing?
Just one? LOL. Wow, I don’t even know where to begin. That’s another whole book, too. Before I dove into publishing, I remember reading an open letter to aspiring writers about things we should expect to encounter in the business. The author candidly warned that positive reviews will bolster our confidence but only for about a day. Negative reviews, on the other hand, will crush our spirits and be remembered forever.
As much as you try to prepare yourself, the hard truth is that what can take an author years of heartache, labor, and toil takes a reader only a couple of hours to read and even less time to criticize.
Yet despite how much value the system places on reviews, the bottom line is this. There’s only one review worth listening to. And that’s our worth in the eyes of the Lord.
Our words are so powerful. “Let your speech always be with grace…” (Colossians 4:6) Can you share (briefly) about something you feel the Lord has been teaching you recently?
Over and over again, He’s teaching me that the real joy in art is found in offering our hearts even when no one but Him sees it. Here’s a post I’d love to share that really dives into this vulnerable lesson: http://crystal-walton.com/why-im-giving-up/
You included such a great truth in that post. No matter what we are doing, our “why” should be the Lord. Not the praise or admiration of men, but God. Thanks for sharing, Crystal!
Crystal’s passionate about writing stories that mix art with clean romance. When not working her accounting day job, she’s delving into the wonder of words, supporting her Starbucks habit, or laughing over movie quotes and singing eighties songs with her husband.
You can connect with Crystal online:
Also by Crystal:
Unveiled Series, book 1
Twenty-one-year-old Emma Matthews lost the song in her heart the same night she lost her dad. With an unfulfilled promise and an ultimatum shadowing her junior year of college, maybe it’s better that way. You can’t hurt if you can’t feel.
But when the reflection she sees in musician Riley Preston’s eyes borders dangerously close to the one she’s spent the last five years searching for, Emma discovers her walls can’t guard her heart from its fiercest desire.
Terrified of what she’s experiencing, and even more afraid of what she might lose, Emma grapples for the courage to hold on to one dream without abandoning the promise of another.
Relive those heartfelt moments when you don’t know how you’d survive a day without your best friend, when you’re trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do with your life, and when falling in love changes everything.
Unveiled Series, book 3
Accustomed to loss, twenty-two-year-old Emma Matthews learned long ago how to shield her heart from hope. But she never expected it to be the only thing she has left.
A two-thousand-mile flight to Nashville should’ve been enough time for Emma to sort out her future with Riley. Then again, when has time ever played fair? With a contract ultimatum jeopardizing Riley’s career and a ruthless vendetta sabotaging Emma’s efforts to save the Portland center, the fires they spent the last four months facing are far from over.
As danger strikes, rifts emerge, and delays snowball, the unrelenting war between the past and future tests Emma’s convictions until she has no choice but to put her faith in the one thing she’s always doubted.
Will time once again steal the dreams she’s fought so hard to believe in, or will it finally teach her how to trust in a hope that remains unbroken?