Sunday, February 14, 2010
I feel God has called me to be an author, because it’s not my first career, I never dreamed I’d be published, and the opportunity came to me. As a Christ-follower, I have the best message in the world to share, and my books allow me to convey the themes He lays on my heart through the stories He gives me to write.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
When I married my husband, and when my son was born (tied for 1st place!)
How has being published changed your life?
I am able to work at home, doing something I love, and get to know lots of wonderful fellow writers.
What are you reading right now?
Blindness, by Jose Saramago and Crashing Through by Robert Kurson (both for my Book Club’s upcoming retreat) along with Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer
What is your current work in progress?
It is about an Italian-American woman, set in WW2, mainly in Tuscany.
That sounds interesting. What would be your dream vacation?
Cruising the Greek Islands or returning to New Zealand.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
They are always places I have visited or lived, and with which I am familiar. I enjoy writing about a variety of locations, rather than focusing on just one.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Beth Moore. I have benefited greatly from her Bible studies. I have met her a couple of times, but would love to sit down and chat with her.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to study the Bible, lead neighborhood Bible studies and help women grow in their faith.
I love to listen to music—all types, from classical to contemporary. I play the piano.
I love photography. I like to knit, and I belong to a quilting club.
I love to cook and bake. I like to joke about having “worked” with the best chefs in America…while I’m making a meal, I watch the Food Network on my kitchen TV, and cook alongside them! I love to experiment with tweaking existing recipes and creating new ones. Being 100% Italian, I’m mainly interested in the cuisine of Italy. I delight in seeing how my resident guinea pigs—my husband and son—rate my creations.
Also, I am hooked on travel. If I am not planning the trip that’s on the calendar, I’m researching the next one, or one for “someday.”
As a family, we love to explore the city of Chicago
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I enjoy “designing” a book. I adore doing the research and writing. I love tweaking all the details that make the story come alive and feel real to readers. I struggle with what happens after the book is done—all the publicity work that is expected and required. I try to do at least one little promotional activity each day.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Tell us about the featured book?
Oliver Barnett is a contractor who specializes in the restoration and remodeling of old buildings. Samantha Cohen is a savvy real estate investor and developer who has purchased an empty historic church near downtown Pittsburgh and plans on turning it into a restaurant/night club. Oliver, who has always considered himself a good Christian boy, wonders if he should get involved in the project. He is in the throes of being pursued by an old girlfriend (with the enthusiastic encouragement of his mother) but he’s smitten by Samantha. There’s another complication: Samantha is Jewish…and she has a less-than-innocent past. Oliver finds himself in a most unsettling dilemma. Does he do what’s right by the nice girl his mother has chosen for him, or does he do what his heart is telling him to do? And what should he do about the church project?
Please give us the first page of the book.
The hot iron hissed as it made contact with the solder, the silvery metal turning to liquid, rivulets running along the lead channel. Perrin Millet worked fast, not wanting the heat to shatter the shards of thickly tinted glass. He bent the lead frame easily, and with a deft touch, soldered the channel to the master frame.
Close to finishing, he stepped back. The large window was cradled at an angle in a large, supporting, adjustable wooden frame. A small coal stove held a dozen heating rods, all glowing bright orange, each ready to melt and bend the puzzle of glass and metal slowly growing into sharp definition.
The Presbyterians had indeed been generous with the budget for their new church. As an artist, Perrin liked Presbyterians. Not so much the Lutherans, whom he thought were somewhat dour, their church designs lacking ambition and creativity. The group of Presbyterian elders, seeking to make a statement with their fine new church on South Aiken Avenue in bucolic Shadyside, on the east side Pittsburgh, far away from the belching sulfuric steel mills along the river, had presented him a commission to construct nine large story-telling windows. They even allowed him some latitude: he could select the scenes for his windows from more than a dozen approved Bible stories.
“We only ask that you make the windows big and impressive . . . and, of course, accurate,” he was instructed.
Perrin, a master artisan who had created stained-glass windows all his life, was surprisingly not a religious man; he was also given to hard drink and coarse language. But this commission for the Presbyterians had done something to him. Exactly what it had done, Perrin wasn’t certain, yet somehow he felt his completed subjects staring down on him—not in condemnation, but as witnesses to his genius, providing encouragement to his spirit as he labored, almost lost in the process of his handiwork.
His selections: Adam and Eve with the Serpent, Moses holding the Ten Commandments; Samson destroying the Temple (it was Perrin’s first time illustrating that wonderfully horrific story); Jesus holding a gentle lamb (an image Perrin could have done in his sleep); an anguished Jesus in the Garden with the disciples, slumbering, in the background; the Last Supper, with Jesus standing off to one side (a novel approach, Perrin thought); the crucifixion, with a wildly stormy background; and the Day of Pentecost, complete with dancing flames and beatific expressions.
The last window, the great circular window to be hung above the high altar, would be a more nebulous subject.
“We want to see the power of God in that window,” the elders had stated.
“Power of God?” Perrin had asked.
The elders were clear: the unbridled power of the Almighty God.
And so Perrin labored for weeks and weeks—poring over pages of sketches, surrounded by wads of discarded papers, tossing and turning in the night with indecision. Then, finally, with his vision clearly before him, he built the large circular frame and meticulously selected the glass. Painstakingly he cut each intricate piece, carefully laying out the lead and solder and sensitively designing the placement of the colors from the center out in a shape that suggested an all-seeing eye. For what could express the power of God more accurately than the Almighty’s ability to look inside the soul of man, casting His scathing light on its innermost parts in search of the truth?
As Perrin finished the darkness at the edge of the circle, the eye stared back at him. Colors melded from a near-black midnight blue at the edge to true blue, to purple, to burnt sienna, to umber, to a deep, thick, translucent gold in the very center. It was now midday. The work was complete at last.
Perrin called over two of his assistants, had them pull hard on the ropes, shouting that they must not loosen their holds, even for a moment, and then the window was upright.
“Turn it,” Perrin commanded.
They slowly rotated the frame on its wheels, letting the light shine through the glass, allowing the full force of the sunlight to burst onto that all-seeing eye for the first time in all of creation.
As Perrin stared up at his work, the blues washed over his body and the gold spilled over his face and shoulders, making it necessary to squint; his eyes were filled with too much light and too much color. After a moment, he closed his eyes and let the golden light warm his face, the blue cool his body.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I LOVE getting feedback from my readers, and try to answer them all.
Thank you, Terri, for spending this time with us.
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Posted by Lena Nelson Dooley at 4:09 PM