I’m pleased to welcome Jennifer Slattery to the blog this week. She has a new release, Restoring Love, and is excited to share with us how the character of Bianca came to be. First, a here’s a sneak peek at what the book is about.
Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?
Wow, love the premise, Jennifer. Can you share the story behind this story?
Some characters develop slowly. Maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of their career or whom they spend most of their time with. Sometimes, as is the case with Bianca, real women and their struggles merge to create an individual that so completely captures my imagination, I have no choice but to share their story.
I caught a glimpse of Bianca years ago, when I spent time working in a church daycare. She managed one of the preschool classrooms and was also a single mom of three—one older elementary boy who seemed to always be angry and two little ones who seemed to always be sick. As I watched, I soon realized the incredible struggle this poor woman was facing. She loved her kids fiercely. That was obvious, and in an effort to provide for them, she arrived early and stayed late … earning minimum wage.
I’m not sure if she received any kind of assistance, but I do know she lived in poverty.
I have no doubt she went home every night exhausted and frazzled, only to find her day was far from over. Parenting is crazy hard. Single parenting is even harder. Single parenting while living in poverty?
I can’t imagine.
Though I haven’t seen Tina* in over a decade, I’ve thought of her often—when my family and I sit to dinner and begin Bible devotions, or when my husband and I walk hand-in-hand while discussing a parenting issue, or when we pray for our daughter and her future, drawing strength and assurance from one another and Christ. And I’ve often wondered how hard it would be, how insecure I would be as a parent, if I didn’t have my husband to bounce ideas off of or gain perspective from.
The more I wondered, the more my writer’s brain was triggered until Bianca took form. She, like Tina, is doing all she can to provide for her kids and help them find a better life. But with a husband in prison, mounting bills, and all the hours she spends working for minimum wage, she feels as if she’s always trudging up hill with leaded weights attached to her ankles.
And yet, she’s not alone. I don’t believe any of us ever are. God reaches out to us, through a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, or perhaps the kindness and generosity of a stranger. If only we could look above our mess and all the chaos, I’m certain we’d see His hand.
This was the beautiful truth I wanted to capture in Restoring Love. The story is about three unlikely characters, each fighting to overcome a lifetime of regrets. But more than that, Restoring Love is about the God who loves us with an unyielding love and is, at this moment, fighting on our behalf. Ultimately, this story is about the God who gives us the power to rise above.
Let’s talk about this! When has God reached out to you through someone else? Or, when has God asked you tor each out to somebody? Share your stories and examples in the comments below, because we can all encourage one another!
*Name changed for privacy sake
Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefy, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
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Thanks for sharing with us. What an incredible story. Jennifer is giving away a copy