for India trilogy (Journey to Judah,
Restored Hearts, and Chosen Ones),
Second Chance, and Laughing with Lily. Her byline has appeared in numerous magazines, including Marriage
Partnership, Light & Life, Mature Living, On Mission, Discipleship Journal,
and Christian Home & School.
She and her husband, Chuck, conduct marriage seminars and speak on a variety
of topics for church groups and organizations in the States and overseas.
Please tell the readers about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it.
A long-buried secret.
An unexpected encounter.
A quest for answers.
Celeste Tatem, a special-education teacher at The Brighton Center in Schreiber, Indiana, couldn’t be more in love with her husband, Joe. But the memory of one day in the past haunts her, threatening their relationship. When Joe dies in a factory explosion, she sinks into depression.
It will take the arrival of a new student, Lily, and her delightful honesty, laughter, and joy at life’s little things to awaken Celeste to hope. When Don, an old flame from college, reenters Celeste’s world, the flickers of love stir once again, and startling questions arise. Questions that threaten to rip the veneer off of her carefully guarded secret. Then the
most unexpected thing of all happens….
My heart has long been burdened for women who’ve aborted their babies. I wanted to profile this issue through my central characters.
When choosing a setting, I typically start with places I’ve lived or visited. I wanted to revisit a setting where my husband and I shared our early marriage years. While Schreiber, Indiana is fictional, I drew inspiration from the little town where we lived and the special education classroom where I worked.
Did you need to do research?
Yes, not so much in regard to the location, but for the details surrounding the story.
What was the hardest part to write this novel?
Researching medical protocol and the Department of Social Services in 1983 and then using what was sometimes obscure information to craft the realistic details of Celeste’s and Lily’s circumstances.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The graveyard scene. I can’t say why or I’d give too much away.
How did you come up with the title?
When I first brainstormed story ideas, I thought of a plot line based on my bubbly granddaughter, Kylie—how she makes me laugh. As characters and story line formed in my mind, the title easily emerged. While the plot is a mix of tragedy, intrigue (with many twists and turns), Lily provides the necessary shots of laughter at life’s little things while providing a greater glimpse into the hope God offers in the midst of dire circumstances.
I'm sure many readers are interested in learning more about
you. Do you have a homepage where they can do so?
Eileen at www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com, and
Barnes and Noble:
Laughing with Lily, coming soon to Kindle, as well as other