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One criticism I hear from time to time about Christian fiction is that it’s “fluffy.” However, I’m finding that many of the novels that are being published currently are not shying away from the tougher issues of life, but instead, show how God works in and through those tough situations to grow the characters. I am excited to have Ginny Yttrup back visiting with us today, as Ginny is one author who is willing to tackle the “tough stuff” in her novels. Before we visit, let’s take a quick look at her newest novel, Home.
When novelist Melanie Vander faces a looming deadline, she decides it’s time for an escape to an inspiring, novel-worthy locale. She’s not running away. Really. She just needs time to focus. But as she disappears into her writing, she encounters a man whose tenderness leaves her reeling. Engaging and wise, psychologist Elliot Hammond tempts Melanie to question everything, including her marriage.
But that’s ridiculous. Dr. Hammond isn’t even…real.
Melanie’s husband, Craig, has his own problems, including a recession that’s threatening his business. Waning finances, a looming home foreclosure, and a wife who’s checked out emotionally, has Craig feeling as though he’s carrying his burdens alone. When his client, the beautiful and single Serena Buchanan, offers him a solution to his financial woes, he’s tempted by more than her offer of a business solution.
At a crossroads, Melanie and Craig seem headed in opposite directions.
As Melanie runs away from her problems by escaping into her own fictional world, Craig dives into his struggles, seeking God for strength and healing for his marriage. Ultimately, Melanie must choose whether she’ll check out completely, or allow her characters to lead her home.
Welcome back, Ginny! Let’s start with five fast favorites. What is your:
Favorite season: Spring
Favorite beverage: Coffee, black, first thing upon waking in the morning.
Favorite animal: Bear the Entitled Pomeranian.
Favorite vacation destination: Maui. Oh, Maui… Deep sigh.
Favorite ice cream flavor: All of them. Ice cream is my favorite food group.
That makes dessert easy! Tell us a little about Home. Who is your favorite secondary character in this story?
I love both the husbands in this novel. As the mother of young adult sons, one who married in February, I wanted to write a novel that included strong men of faith. Too often it seems we focus on the imperfections in men, or the attributes that most annoy us. Instead, I wanted to explore all that is good about godly men who live out their faith as husbands. Both characters, I believe, represent men who are flawed but recognize Jesus’ sacrifice for them and try to live their lives in a way that honors the commitments they’ve made to Christ, and to their wives.
Our society seems to be intent on tearing men down, which is sad. Maybe that’s part of the appeal of Christian fiction; we have an opportunity to see flawed men in a different light. Why did you choose this particular setting, and have you been there?
All my novels thus far are set in California. As a native Californian, I’m partial to the rugged beauty of our state. But I veered out of state for a bit of this novel, setting the story within the story in the Virgin Islands. I was longing for a tropical locale myself, so writing about beaches, sunsets, and the rhythmic beat of steel drums had to suffice.
The setting where my protagonist, Melanie, escapes to is based on the family home of a dear friend. Set on Clear Lake, the real property is much as I described it in the book. I’ve actually written a part of each of my novels while spending time at the property on Clear Lake. So it seemed a natural place for Melanie to go to write.
I look forward to visiting (virtually, anyway…)! Do you have personal experience with any of the events in your story, and if so, could you share about that?
A piece of this story is about a couple who struggles financially due to the recession. I am very familiar with financial struggle. In fact, as I was writing this novel, my income took an unexpected hit and I spent several sleepless nights, much like my character, Craig, first trying to figure out what to do—how to fix the situation, then ultimately prayerfully trusting God moment by moment for His provision.
Because it often feels as though I live a portion of the stories I write, I determined that my next book will include a character who wins the lottery. 🙂
Ha! If only it actually worked that way… 😉 Have you given any of your own personality quirks to your characters? If so, would you be willing to share about it/them?
Melanie, the primary protagonist in the story, is a novelist. In terms of the way she writes, her habits as a writer, and some of her struggle to get the story written, are all straight from my own life. I created a novelist who works in exactly the same seemingly haphazard way I work.
Surely you’re not alone in that. Aside from reading and writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
I love gardening—digging in the dirt and making something beautiful out of nothing. I love nurturing plants, watching them grow, and marveling at the wonder of creation. Last year I moved with my housemate to a new home in a new area. The yard is small and easy to manage, but there isn’t much room for a vegetable garden. Instead, I’ve planted herbs in pots and created a beautiful little herb garden on an old potting bench. I’m also fascinated with succulents and I’m planting pots filled with differing varieties.
I also love to cook (and eat).
Smaller spaces can definitely require more creativity. How fun to at least be able to have the herbs and succulents. What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. And I’m now immersed in The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty which I’m enjoying immensely as a writer. It’s fascinating to see how she’s created three separate stories that begin to overlap with one another. The last Christian Fiction I read and enjoyed was Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan. I love Christa’s writing.
Ooh, more books to check out! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us today, Ginny!
Your turn! Do you have a green thumb? What are you growing this spring?
More about Ginny:
Ginny L. Yttrup is an award-winning novelist, writing coach, mother, mother-in-law, friend, and companion to Bear, the Entitled Pomeranian. Her fifth novel, Home, released April 1st. When a novelist loses her way at midlife, can her characters lead her home?
You can connect with Ginny online:
Ginny has generously offered to give away a signed paperback copy of Home. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.