Did you meet Julie Arduini last spring when she visited with us and shared her novel, Entangled? I am happy to have her back today with the third novel in the series, Engaged. Before we visit, let’s take a quick look at the story.
Trish Maxwell’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. She left the mountain town for her dream job in New York City, only to come back unemployed. With no prospects, she works at her mom’s department store and makes amends as she finds a new passion creating window displays for Adirondack businesses. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s changed for the better.
As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans. Just when Trish thinks the plan for her life’s coming together, a second chance comes her way that could give her every career goal she’s ever wanted, but threaten to tear her and Wayne apart. Can Trish surrender fears about her future and discover God’s plan for her?
You can find Engaged on Amazon.
Welcome back, Julie! What inspired you to write this series or this novel in particular?
When I first came up with the idea, I was in need of a third book to pitch for a series. I was confident about Entrusted, had a strong idea for Entangled, but Engaged was very vague. I wasn’t even sure at first who the heroine should be. Once I realized Trish Maxwell deserved a story, it really came together. I wanted to write a book about surrendering dreams in exchange for God’s plans. Trish in Entrusted wasn’t very nice, and she resented Speculator Falls. She was certain her future was in New York City. That all falls apart, and she has no Plan B. Engaged has her back in her mountain hometown, living with her parents, with a lot of apologies to make and questions to answer. They want to know what’s next for her, and she truly doesn’t know. I think that’s something we can relate to. I’ve definitely had things fall through that I was certain would work. Our hope has to be in the Lord and we need to ask Him to direct our steps.
She does sound like a character many could relate to. Who is your favorite secondary character in this latest novel, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
I loved creating Shirley McIlwain’s character. She is based on many of the volunteers I worked with during my years with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, RSVP. In Entrusted, Shirley is Jenna’s right hand at the senior center. She’s organized and keeps things at the center buzzing. She’s protective of the center and Jenna. Trish used to be the senior center director, and when she learned about her job in New York City, she left town without notice. It crushed the seniors, and Shirley isn’t going to let that hurt be forgotten right away. However, as harsh as she can be at times, it really is because she cares so much. Shirley and Trish have some fun interactions, and it was fun to write. Engaged is the end of this series as far as surrendering elements of time (Present, past, future as far as book order and theme go.) However, I’m open to returning to Speculator Falls with a new series sometime and bring back favorite characters and new surrender themes.
It’s always fun to see familiar “faces” in future stories. What is your favorite dessert?
My tagline is “Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. I would say anything milk chocolate is a favorite. However, while writing Engaged, my go-to was a Hershey Symphony bar. I loved the kind that was milk chocolate and toffee.
I used to put those in the middle of brownies. (Spread half the batter in the pan, layer a broken Symphony bar over the batter, and then spread the remaining batter on top. Bake according to the box directions.) Now that was amazing! What accomplishment means the most to you?
We are blessed with two children who love the Lord and are so good to each other. They look out for each other and are kind to others. They are prayer warriors and worshippers. I give God the credit, but knowing this about them beats any book sales or earthly thing.
There is no greater joy than knowing that your children are walking with the Lord. <3 Speaking of walking with the Lord, can you share about something you feel the Lord has been teaching you recently?
Overall, I’ve never been a very anxious person. However, as I wrote Engaged and watched the kids go through transition, I was quite anxious about their futures. It’s a theme to the book, so it should not have surprised me. It helped me lean hard on the Lord. I spent more time praying, reading His word, listening to His voice than I had before. What “worked” two years or even two months ago wasn’t enough. I had to press in, and He has been faithful.
That’s awesome! He is always faithful. Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I’m researching and developing the plot and characters for a six book series on surrendering opinions. “The Collins Six” were the first sextuplets to survive after doctors advised their mother to select for termination, but she refused. They have grown up in the limelight not just for their unique circumstances, but for a tragedy that kept them in the national eye. They are now young adults trying to find their own identities despite many around them feeling they have a say in their lives because everyone feels so invested in their family. Each sibling will have their own book and romance and something to surrender as they journey through worrying what others think of them.
That sounds intriguing! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us today, Julie!
Your turn! Tell us your favorite candy bar in the comments below. 🙂
More about Julie:
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of Entrusted: Surrendering the Present, as well as Entangled: Surrendering the Past. The last book in the series, Engaged: Surrendering the Future, is coming in June. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A Walk In The Valley. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, and also is a blogger for Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.
You can connect with Julie online:
Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG
Julie has generously offered to give away a paperback copy of Engaged. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.