Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
Read a free, 36-page excerpt of When Dawn Breaks.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Jennifer. Congratulations on your newest release, When Dawn Breaks. What a beautiful cover too! Can you tell us what first inspired you to write this story?
Jennifer: Absolutely, though that’s a bit of a complicated question. 🙂 The inspiration for my heroine came from a sweet woman at our old church in Kansas City, MO, who, at the age of 51 sensed God calling her into foster care. Not only was she older, which I’m sure felt challenging, but she was also single. And yet, she answered God’s call and took in a teenager. She went on to adopt this young woman and now has two additional children in her home.
I was so inspired by her, I wanted to tell her story. Only I wanted to take it a step further. I wondered what it would be like if my heroine was not only single and older, but what if she was a new believer? More than that, what if she had deep regrets from her past, many that stemmed from how she’d parented her own daughter? Could God use a woman who had brought deep pain to her own child to bring hope to others? And thus, When Dawn Breaks was born.
Savanna: I’m really looking forward to reading it. From your website, it’s clear you have a heart for ministry. What do you hope readers will take away most from this missional romance novel?
Jennifer: You know, I think sometimes it’s easy as Christians to isolate. We enjoy surrounding ourselves with other believers who “get us”, and that’s great, so long as we don’t cut ourselves off from the outside world. I often ask, “Why are we here? Why didn’t God just whisk us up to heaven once we’re saved?” Of course we know the answer, and that’s to share His grace and truth with a hurting world. I think sometimes we just forget, or maybe get nervous. Other times I think we don’t know where to start, and yet, I believe if we’ll but quiet ourselves and draw near to God, He’ll show us. Then, of course, we’ll need the courage to obey. That’s the hard part, isn’t it?
In answer to your question, I hope believers will be encouraged to surrender fully to God, following after Him and His will with full obedience, for I believe that is how we grab hold of the abundant life Christ promised. It’s scary, it might feel awkward, and it might stretch us more than we feel possible, but the results will be glorious for there’s no better place to be than centered in God’s will.
Savanna: Beautifully said, Jennifer. 😉 Do you have a fond lesson and/or memory from one of the contests you’ve participated in? We’d love to hear it!
Jennifer: I do! The Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest. The year I placed was tough. I’d recently learned a dear friend had terminal brain cancer. In fact, I learned I’d finaled very close to the day she told me her doctors had given her a year tops to live. It felt so… wrong. Here God was opening doors for me, and her life was ending. I went through a very dark period of feeling as if I didn’t want to write anymore. Really, all I wanted to do was mope around the house and cry, which I did a lot of.
The winner of the contest was to be announced at the Guild’s annual conference, so my husband urged me to go. I didn’t want to, but he wouldn’t relent, so I went. That year it seemed every speaker spoke of death and suffering and God’s grace amidst it. I had a very clear thought as I listened, and that was that God had allowed me to live for a reason, and I needed to make the most of it. A second, equally clear thought followed: If I were driving by an accident on the freeway, would I not do everything in my power to help the wounded individual? I realized God was reminding me of the reality of eternity, telling me He wanted me to do everything in my power to share His love with a hurting world.
That same conference was when I first met my publisher, Dr. Andrea Mullins, who has since retired. She is such a wonderful woman of faith who radiated Christ’s love so strongly, I was drawn to her. Long story short, we talked, shared a few emails after, and eventually, she signed me, and I knew without a doubt God had orchestrated every step.
Savanna: Wow. That’s incredible, Jennifer. I’m convinced that God’s sovereignty over all things is the greatest peace we could ever find.
Can you share a piece of writing advice that has made a difference in your career?
Jennifer: Never give up. 😉 The journey to publication can be long and discouraging. They say only 10% of writers ever get published. I don’t know how true that percentage is, but I’ve often wondered if that was because the other 90% gave up. I can think of so many people who initially pursued their call with such enthusiasm and passion only to later quit, and I’ve always wondered how many of them did so one month before their first contract offer. The sad truth is, they’ll never know.
Savanna: Great points. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Jennifer: Sure! I have another novel coming out in October, this one on forgiveness and God’s grace revealed through our deepest hurts. This novel has a great story surrounding it, too. Maybe I can come back and share it. Here’s the blurb:
Abandoned by her husband, an organ procurement coordinator fighting to keep her job and her sanity encounters an old flame facing an unthinkable tragedy.
For Tammy Kuhn, being an organ procurement coordinator is more than a job. It’s a ministry. But when her husband of sixteen years leaves her for another woman, struggles with childcare, her absentee ex-husband, and an altercation with a doctor threaten her job. Embittered and overwhelmed, she fights to maintain her sanity when a late night encounter with an old flame stirs emotions long since buried but the ICU is no place for romance.
Savanna: Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! Wishing you a blessed year ahead. We’re so glad you could join us this week as our guest!
Jennifer: Thank you so much for having me! I’d love to ask your readers a question: What is God calling you to do, and what’s keeping you from that? Or, if you are pursuing His call on your life, was that first step hard? What gave you the courage to move forward?
Readers, don’t be afraid to answer. 😉 We’d really love to hear your thoughts. (Plus, a comment will give you 1 more entry in the giveaway!)
Jennifer has graciously offered a copy of When Dawn Breaks to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends January 20, 2015. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody! 😉