Thursday, April 03, 2014

BRIDGE TO HAVEN - Francine Rivers - One Free Book

Readers, when I read Redeeming Love by Francine, I wept. Then when I read it years later, I wept in the very same place. I've loved her writing for many years, and when she was the speaker at the American Christian Romance Writers (now ACFW) first national conference in Denver, I was able to share with her about what her writing means to me. It's a great honor to be able to feature her here on my blog.

Bio . . . New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers has published numerous novels—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated in over twenty different languages. She and her husband, Rick, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Welcome, Francine. What is your hope for your novels?
I hope the stories I write will increase readers’ hunger and thirst for Jesus, and the characters will inspire them to be more like Him. It’s so easy to follow the ways of the world, to get sucked into following the herd rather than be among the flock. I want to encourage readers to trust in the Lord always and to remember only His Word is truth.

You often say that each of your books is inspired by a question. Is that the case with Bridge to Haven? If so, what question inspired this novel?
We live in a complex, often-disheartening world. I know I always have questions about how to live for Jesus in a world that hates Him. Questions continue to challenge me. How do I live by faith and not by sight? How can I be an overcomer in a world that wants to crush the very heart of me? I take these questions into any story I write, and each story is a quest for God’s perspective.

With this particular novel, I wanted to explore how people can be bridges. Jesus is the ultimate bridge that takes us across the chasm over hell and into heaven to be in the presence of God. Each character in the novel plays a part as a bridge builder or bridge destroyer. Sometimes the characters begin as one and become the other.

What message do you hope will resonate with readers of Bridge to Haven?
I hope readers will ask themselves: Am I a bridge? How can I help someone who is struggling step onto the bridge of faith and begin the journey to a haven of rest? Do I point the way? Or do I walk with them? How does that look in my day-to-day life?

Why did you want to reimagine the parable of the Prodigal Son? Why was this important to you?
The Prodigal Son is the story of every human being. We are all God’s creations. But too often we try to go our own way. That way brings pain and separation from what we truly want: an everlasting love relationship with God. Only in Him do we find the happiness we crave from the womb. Some turn away from the world and head home to God. That journey all too often begins in desperation and follows a road of fear until we see the Lord has been waiting for us all the time with open arms.

Was there a specific person upon whom you based Abra’s character?
The story started as an allegory about the character of God and Jesus, but how can anyone capture the immensity of God, His all-consuming love and passion for each of us? I certainly couldn’t. His love is so immense, cleansing, healing, restorative. It’s beyond human understanding. I dumped my first attempt and started over. In this rendition, Zeke and Joshua strive to be like Jesus, and often fail. Abra represents those who fail to see the love offered and turn away, looking in all the wrong places for what they had from the beginning. It is a leap of faith to believe God’s grace is not earned, but freely given.

I was like Abra for many years. Despite the truth I was taught as a child, I took hold of a wrong view of God as a constant critical eye, a Being just waiting to condemn me to everlasting hell. When I turned to God, I felt like Paul when the scales fell away from his eyes. In a sense, I awakened and knew God loved me despite everything I had done and mistakenly believed. My stubborn pride had to be broken. There were always people around me who loved me and pointed the way to Jesus. That is true of everyone. God makes ambassadors and scatters them everywhere. When we open our hearts, usually out of desperation, God pours in His Holy Spirit and opens our eyes and ears to who He is and to those He has called to help us cross that bridge of faith God uses to transform our lives.

What is the significance of the title, Bridge to Haven?
**Spoiler alert for those who are in a book club.**
The ultimate bridge to haven is Jesus, who provides that way back to God, and the ultimate haven is that haven of rest, God’s presence in heaven, where He dwells and believers will live forever.

What is the significance of going home?
I believe the yearning for God and eternal life is built by God into our DNA. Going home for me is living in relationship with Jesus who brought me to life. Until I surrendered to Him, I wasn’t just walking wounded, I was walking dead. I am now at home in Him and will eventually be at home with Him in heaven.

What research did you do for this title? What did you learn about Hollywood in the 1950s?
I compiled binders full of information about the forties and fifties, World War II, the Korean War, medics serving in Korea, Hollywood studios and stars, along with Scripture that always speaks to the mind and heart of any human being. The Bible is like God’s blueprint for mankind, how and why man was built, what happened when sin entered into our lives, and the cure. Since I don’t have a mind that retains information, I kept the binders and my Bible close at hand for constant reference. I am fortunate enough to have an exacting, knowledgeable editor (Kathy Olson) who makes sure the time lines and accompanying information are correct down to the smallest detail of which song might have been playing on the radio. And since I am very aware of my limitations and imperfections, I applaud and embrace her efforts.

How do Abra’s lessons apply in today’s culture?
We are all the same as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We haven’t evolved into higher beings. We are still stubbornly human, fiercely contending with God, intent upon living our own lives our way no matter what pain it brings to ourselves as well as those around us. When I read the Bible, I feel like I’m reading the daily newspaper. If you want the answers to why you are here and what you were made for, read Scripture and run to God.

What are the timeless elements of this story?

God made you. God loves you. God wants a personal relationship with you. He doesn’t want Sunday morning only or bits and pieces of your life; He wants all of who you are—your past, present, and future. God has a plan for your life that will fulfill the deepest longings of your heart. Seek Him first above all things. Trust Him.

About the book:
To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love,New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.

First Page:
Chapter 1
Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
Psalm 71:6
Filling his lungs with cool October air, Pastor Ezekiel Freeman started his morning vigil. He had laid out the route on a map when he first came to town. each building brought people to mind, and he upheld them before the Lord, giving thanks for trials they had come through, praying over trials they now faced, and asking God what part he might play in helping them.

He headed for Thomas Jefferson High School. He passed by Eddie’s Diner, the students’ favorite hangout place. The lights were on inside. Eddie came to the front door.
“Mornin’, Zeke. How about a cup of coffee?”

Zeke sat at the counter while Eddie made stacks of hamburger patties. They talked high school football, and who might win a scholarship. Zeke thanked Eddie for the coffee and conversation and headed out into the dark again

Thank you, Francine, for sharing about this new book today. I know you didn't choose her name because of mine, but I am drawn to books where a character has my name.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Bridge to Haven -
Bridge to Haven - Amazon
Bridge to Haven - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


mongupp said...

Ooohh I. Love. Francine. Rivers' writing!!!
Monica ; Ontario

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Good interview, Francine and Lena.
I really like the 'heart' in your books and weaving stories to woo people back to Jesus. Good Job!

Patty said...

This interview makes me want to go back and read Redeeming Love again. Thanks for sharing ladies.

Patty in SC

pol said...

I loved the post today with Francine Rivers, had read of this book before but hearing her relate how she feels about it makes me want to read for sure. sounds amazing.
thanks for sharing
Paula O(
a reader in Ga

Bluerose said...

Seeing Francine Rivers' name on the cover of a book is an automatic add to the "to read" list! :)

Tammy (AL)

Alyssa Faith said...

I am so excited for this book!!!
Alyssa (CA)

Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Anonymous said...

I've read both Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series and Redeeming Love. I loved all of them because they had so much depth to them and weren't superficial like so many books nowadays. I'd LOVE to read this book!
J.C. -Indiana-

Britney Adams said...

I love this fascinating interview! Thank you so much for sharing, Lena and Francine. I am eager to read BRIDGE TO HAVEN! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

Britney Adams, TX

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Jackie McNutt said...

Lena, what a beautiful tribute to your friend Francine and her writing.
I have not read any of Francine's books but based on your post and interview I am looking forward to adding them to my TBR list.
They sound like very inspiring books.
Thank you

karenk said...

a wonderful posting.

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel.

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jean said...

Francine is my favorite author!

Jean K
West Palm Beach, FL

Melanie Backus said...

Thank you for this beautiful interview, Lena and Francine. I certainly want to read Bridge To Haven. Thank you for the giveaway.

Melanie Backus, TX

Cindy W. said...

I read Redeeming Love not to long ago and I know what you mean Lena, I cried, no, I wept in several places too. I plan on reading it again later this year and may make it an annual treat. It is an exceptional book and I fell in love with Francine's writing.

I would love to win a copy of Bridge to Haven. Thank you for the opportunity.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

KayM said...

I would love to read another book by Francine. Redeeming Love is my favorite novel. I loved Mark of the Lion Series, also.

Lourdes said...

Would love to win, book sounds great.

Lourdes in Long Island NY

Cathy said...

Would love to win this one. Love Francine's books!

Cathy in BC Canada

Mary Preston said...

BRIDGE TO HAVEN sounds like such an incredible read.

Mary P


Judy said...

Bridge to Haven sounds so good. I would love to win it! I love Francine's books!

Judy B from Indiana

Amy C said...

Wow! Sounds like I have missing a lot by not reading any of Francine's books!
Amy C

Susan Johnson said...

Sounds like a great book. But then, all of Francine Rivers' books are good.

Jackie Smith said...

I can't wait to read this new book by Francine....she is a great author...have read all of her books!
Thanks for the giveaway. Enjoyed the interview!
Jackie in Georgia

jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

Cindi A said...

Congratulations on your latest book. It looks wonderful. I plan to read it even if I don't win a copy.

~Cindi Altman from PA

Courtney Clark said...

Vintage Hollywood? Count me in! As always, this one looks amazing, Francine!

Courtney C. from AR

Sheila Deeth said...

Crazy confession, I've only read one Francine Rivers novel. But I'm hooked after just one and I'm eager to read more. Sheila, Oregon

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Wow, this books looks simply amazing and I would love a chance to read it and your other books sometime!!! Enter me!!!
Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless!!!
North Carolina

Anonymous said...

We have all of Francine's books in our church library and would love to add this one. Thank you.

Julie (WI)

Melody said...

I have read most all of Francine's books and what amazes me is that she doesn't stick with one era. From chariots to lion's den to the 1800's to the present day. They're all wonderful!

Donna, TX

Mama Cat said...

This book sounds amazing; I would love to read it! It has been a while since I have read one of Francine Rivers' books. The ones I met were great - blessings to both of you! Jeanie in Phoenix

sm said...

I sure want to be a bridge to Jesus for my co-workers, neighbors and family. I enjoy your books. sharon, CA

kam110476 said...

I read Redeeming Love almost a year ago and w/ all the glowing recommendations I thought I'd be blown away, it was good, but I just couldn't get into it. Then I read Lineage of Grace a couple of weeks later and I haven't thought of God, the bible, Jesus, or the 5 ladies in Jesus' lineage the same since! Needless to say, I was/still am BLOWN away!
I have been itching to get my hand on Haven for months! I can't wait to read Abra's story!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Barbara Shelton said...

Have long admired Francine Rivers's writing. Thanks for this giveaway and for the chance to win a great read.

Barb Shelton
Arlington, TX

Jackie Tessnair said...

I love Francine's books.Thanks for sharing!Jackie Tessnair N.C.

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Abra sounds like a character who learns much and this book has much we can learn from
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Kandra said...

Whoa, this sounds really good. Sign me up!
Kandra in Oklahoma

Merry said...

Bridge to Haven sounds engaging, I look forward to reading it.
Merry in MN

Linda McFarland said...

Love Francine Rivers. Bridge to Haven sounds like another good read! Would love to win, thanks for the opportunity...Linda from PA