Welcome back, Beth. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
The reason I write is to create touching stories for Christian and non-Christian readers alike. Even if I wrote for a secular publisher there would be an inspirational undertone, it’s just who I am and what I stand for as a writer. Being a social worker I usually have the social issue in my head first and a faith point, then a takeaway that’s not been overused. Many times I wait and let the story tell me what those are and how they’ll work into each of the characters personalities.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Healing Grace 2013, Season of the Spirit 2014, Season of the Heart 2015, Season of the Soul 2015
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
To narrow it down I’ll go with writers: Author Steve Lawhead is a family friend and his wife encouraged me early on to write, and my friend Shelley Sabga, or better known as Shelley Shepherd Gray, was a great encourager to me. We knew each other long before we started writing and when she told me about her first published book she gave me the courage to write those first words.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
As far as a historical person, I’d have to say C.S. Lewis. I loved The Great Divorce, and saw the play of the Screw Tape Letters and could see it over and over again.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Not to take things personally. It’s a business. It’s just really difficult to get to that frame of mind when you’re passionate about your writing dreams.
Tell us about the featured book.
Elsie can’t forgive her sister, Katie, for leaving the community with the young man she was smitten with. Feeling betrayed and hopeless she becomes a recluse, not letting go of the sadness. Gideon has held a special place in his heart for Elsie, but knew she was interested in someone else. He was one the deacons would consider when the time was right to become one of them, an honor but a great commitment as well.
When Gideon thinks it’s the right time after Katie has left, he takes the opportunity to comfort Elsie through her bitterness. One way he does this is to study the Martyr’s Mirror, with her, a book that is centuries old, describing their ancestor’s sacrifice for their faith, having been persecuted for many years. This time together grows their relationship and prepares them for what is to come.
But Gideon feels there is something more and he eventually earns her trust. Elsie tells him about the English young men who harassed both her and Katie. When the community moved to
Texas, they were not
welcome by some of the locals. They tell Katie and Elsie that harm will come to
them if their community doesn’t go back up north where they came from.
Together they try to do what is right, and stand their ground when they are confronted by the English young men, and the relationship between Elsie and Gideon begins to grow. Gideon stays by Elsie’s side as she learns to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Ripples of pink clouds covered the blue
sky. The sun slowly dipped behind a large oak tree that was almost invisible
against the fading darkness. Elsie and Katie walked down a dirt road leading to
their family farm after a day at a neighbor’s quilting bee.
“I like the orange with the yellow patches.” Katie flicked her thick, amber curls away from her blue eyes.
Elsie shook her head. “Not me. I like green with the yellow.”
Katie frowned and kicked a rock down the lane ahead of them.
Elsie thought of a compromise, a frequent gesture she made on her part when dealing with her sister. “What if we do all three?”
As they chatted about the patches needed to complete their quilt, an unfamiliar rumbling noise made them pause. Elsie stopped and looked behind her as a car drove up, causing a cloud of dust to fall around them. Her kapp blew off, and the driver whistled.
The three other young men in the car heckled them and laughed. “Hey sweetie, show us more.”
“How about some leg, Amish girl,” The driver called out to her.
“Hey, ladies, stop and talk to us,” another yelled over to them. “No harm in being friendly.”
Elsie had never felt dirty like this. With each word, she felt as if they had thrown a handful of mud at her. She sucked in a breath when the car came to a halt and the driver got out. His dirty, blond hair was slicked straight up, and his blue eyes hardened as he took her in.
The passenger side door opened, and a tall, skinny young man walked around the front of the car. He looked Elsie up and down and moved toward her. She took two steps backward and then took off running. Her heart beat out of her chest, but she didn’t stop until she got to the gravel road leading to their house. Elsie bent over, puffing and holding her side. Katie was close behind, catching her breath.
Katie turned around. “They didn’t follow us, thank Gott.”
Elsie glanced around, no one saw them with those men.
“Elsie, Katie. Are you all right?” Their daed’s booming voice came from behind them. “I saw you running all the way up the drive.” His height and hefty build gave him an intimidating appearance, but his family and community knew him as a gentle man.
“Nee, we’re fine.” Katie answered before Elsie could think of what to say.
He eyed them with suspicion, but nodded. “Okay, then.” He lumbered away, but looked back once.
“Do you think he believed me?” Katie asked with concern in her voice.
“Why didn’t you tell him?” Elsie wasn’t sure what to do. She only knew that now that they hadn’t told him, it became a lie, a secret. Elsie didn’t want the burden of either.
“I don’t want to upset him or mamm. Nothing really happened, anyway.” Katie shrugged.
“It would have if we hadn’t gotten away from them. They had something bad on their minds.” Elsie frowned at her. “It was embarrassing what those boys said. What if someone thinks we invited the attention?”
“They would know better than that,” Katie scoffed. “And they didn’t have a chance to do anything, with the way you ran off so quickly.”
But Elsie wasn’t so sure. Katie liked attention — especially when a young man smiled her way.
“Well, I guess it’s done.” Elsie tried to put it out of her mind, hoping as they walked to the house that they had made the right decision not to tell anyone. And she prayed it wouldn’t happen again. Three weeks later Katie disappeared, and Elsie’s heart was broken for more than just one reason when Jake left with her.
How can readers find you on the Internet?www.bethshriverwriter.com
Thank you, Beth, for sharing this new book with us.
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Grace Given (Touch of Grace) - paperback
Grace Given (Touch of Grace) - Kindle
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