Thank you, Mary, for hosting me today. I appreciate the opportunity to share about my novel, Healing Grace.
Grace Runyon could fix anyone -- until her husband developed cancer and died. Believing no one would forgive her, Grace runs from the life she knew, hoping even God wouldn’t find her in a little out-of-the-way town in Michigan. It takes a very sick man and his little boy to help Grace face her past, accept who she is and battle her way back to redemption. Just when Ted and Grace begin to hope for the future, Ted relapses. Grace faces the ultimate choice once again: Trusting God to work through her precious gift, or letting a terminally ill man die. What if the price is more than she can pay?
My inspiration: I’m a Trekkie. The story of Gemma, an empath, has always stuck with me. She can touch others and take on their physical illnesses. There are documented cases in real life, but I wanted to explore the biblical gifts of the spirit, one of which is healing. What would they look like today? Grace can heal with a touch, but when she met her worst fears and failed, she ran, I suppose, trying to get away from God. I didn’t want to write a story in which everything turned out great just because you have faith.
While I was writing this story, my brother came down with a horrible illness, which went undiagnosed for a long time. I didn’t draw from my brother’s case directly, but while keeping up with his symptoms and eventual diagnosis, the research, which gave me the foundation for Ted’s illness. My brother eventually recovered most of his faculties, though still suffers pain and from numbness in his fingers, not quite the miraculous recovery that Ted underwent.
How did you decide on the setting? Did you need to do research?
My brother and his family live in Michigan. He took me up to visit the Grand Traverse area and Petoskey, and my sister-in-law told me the story about the fossils. My nephews talked about picking fruit and other things, like the sand lions. I live on the other side of Lake Michigan, in Wisconsin, but it’s like a completely different part of the country. Lots of fun.
What was the hardest part to write this novel?
It was hard to write about Ted going downhill again after making it seem like he might recover. Of course, you set the reader up for the great miracle, but it’s difficult to be your character who expects to die, who has lost all hope when the medical professionals cannot do anything else.
Which did you create first the plot of the characters?
Healing Grace was the second book I ever wrote, back in 2005. I don’t think I even understood the different between plot-driven and character-driven at that point. I don’t think I can claim that I created the plot or the characters first. I just knew these people and what they were going through; I knew there was a miracle; I knew Grace had to break before she could become whole, and I knew Ted had to suffer not just for himself, but for Grace as well.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I wouldn’t have gone with the first publisher, back in 2007, and publication in 2009. Things didn’t go very well, and it was not a great experience. I leaned things, though, about the publication world. The book wasn’t ready, and when I got my rights back, I was able to repackage, basically rewrite the story, delve better into the characters and fix most of the problems. The MuseItUp team did quite well, and I’m glad they were honest and helpful about making the story better. I’d love one more edit…yes, I’m one of “those” who just can’t get enough tweaking.
What genre is you favorite to write and why?
The question presumes that one writes more than one genre—and yes, I do. I’ve been all through that branding, platform, marketing, choose-your-genre-and-stick-with-it business for the last decade. Honestly, there’s commercial market and an artistic/literary market. I love writing stories that delve into “issues” that are controversial and solve all the problems of the world if they can be overcome. But romance and mystery are what readers recognize and buy more often. Sigh.
I’m excited to share Healing Grace with all the readers. The novel has certainly captured my attention. Below are some links to find this wonderful book.
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/c4pddbh