We welcome Janine Mendenhall to the blog this week. She’s sharing the story behind her new release, Starving Hearts. Before she shares with us, here’s a little bit about the book.
Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage. But she yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way…
Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.
Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter’s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?
Janine, can you please share with us what inspired you to write this story?
The story behind Starving Hearts isn’t pretty. In fact, it used to wake me in the middle of the night.
After quite a few sleepless nights and rough next mornings, I decided I’d write it down if I dreamed it again. I even promised to include it in a book someday, if only I could get it out of my head. If you’ve read Starving Hearts, you’ll spot my nightmare scene in the book’s subplot about the slave trade. If you haven’t, all I can say is—much to my horror—my dream made it seem like I was right there watching the horrendous abuse of some defenseless slave.
Now, much to my relief, it’s buried in the heart Annette and Peter’s story.
Have you ever had any nightmares like that? How did you feel trying to get back into life’s routine the next day?
For me, the process was so disturbing, I began to wonder how that stuff got imprinted on my mind because I didn’t remember studying too much of it, at least not in such painfully vivid detail.
Then it struck me.
When I was a child, my parents forbade me from watching the film of Alex Haley’s Roots. I used to sneak out of bed and catch a few minutes here and there by hiding in the kitchen and watching through the food pass-through, though. And they never caught me.
Maybe those images were stamped in my mind way back then.
Anyway, as both an English teacher and an author, I’m very careful with plagiarism so I went back and watched Roots and Queen, its sequel, to confirm that I hadn’t accidentally copied them.
But there weren’t any scenes like the one I had in mind.
And the question kept haunting me. Where had I viewed or experienced those images?
Toward the end of the editing process, I made another concerted effort to present my worry about copyright issues to the Lord and prayed for Him to show me how I came to have such terrible dreams.
Thankfully, He revealed the source, which I had forgotten about, and sure enough, I found what had been locked in my memory when I studied it again.
I made adjustments to Starving Hearts to prevent copyright problems, of course. Now the scene, which shall remain a secret here, is in my book instead of my head.
Oh, no. I just had a thought.
What if you get nightmares when you read Starving Hearts? Just kidding, sort of. As of this moment, no one has contacted me regarding bad dreams so, I believe, you’re safe.
There is, however, another lesson to be learned.
Children with impressionable minds are sneaking peaks at all sorts of things that are inappropriate. It’s everywhere. Are you watching yours as carefully as I watched mine when they were younger? Just saying.
Thanks so much for joining us, Janine! It’s been great to have you. Sounds like a fabulous read. Another one on my TBR pile 🙂
(Can you find hidden titles of some favorite books/films I’ve added in my bio?)
In 1976, I watched Beauty and the Beast with George C. Scott, and now resistance is futile, especially where reading historical fiction and sewing Regency or Victorian gowns are concerned.
A couple years ago, I stayed up all night sewing an 18th century costume just so I could be Elizabeth Swann, for Disney Day at school.
My interest in historical fiction and fashion grew into a magnificent obsession with beauty and a happily ever after.
A couple years later on Halloween, I sacrificed my chance to dress up in a princess bride costume just so I could watch The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan with Lindsey Wagner.
That fateful evening, I discovered time travel and a new kind of love story.
Now I find (or lose) myself somewhere in time using: Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or a number of other classics like Jane Eyre and Redeeming Love.
I also cry over Amazing Grace, both the movie and the hymn.
But they are tears of joy over God’s blessings.
Then again, that could stem from being lost in Austen one too many times.
After thirty-eight years in Los Angeles, living in North Carolina is another gracious blessing. I’ll always be amazed by living trees and four distinct seasons.
They remind me that God is so awesome, even creation speaks of Him.
Social media is a mystery to me, however. I mean, who reads a book to learn how to use Facebook besides me, and then still messes up?
When they are not helping me figure out 21 century technology, my husband, Tom, and five children enjoy playing the piano and other stringed instruments; computer programming, solving math and physics problems, and doing other left-brained activities.
We also love and worship the Lord.
On that note, I truly enjoy worship songs, but if I attempt to clap while singing, it’s likely I’ll stop breathing so I don’t. Instead, I praise Him for His infinite sacrifice on my behalf and for the opportunity of sharing the Gospel in my historical fiction/romance novels and on my blog.
You can visit Janine at www.janinemendenhall.com/preview-starving-hearts