Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind When Dawn Breaks by Jennifer Slattery

I’m very excited to announce a new feature to my blog. So many of you have been interested in the stories behind my stories, I thought it would be fun to take a peek behind other books and find out what real people, places or events inspired them.

Our very first guest is Jennifer Slattery. Her book, When Dawn Breaks, released in January. She takes us behind the scenes to discover what inspired her to write this book.




  1. What true person inspired When Dawn Breaks?

My latest release was inspired by a person and an event. When we lived in Kansas City (we have since moved), there was a woman at our church who, though single and older, felt God call her to foster care. Rather than focus on her fears, insecurities, or all the reasons she shouldn’t answer God’s call, she said yes, and the results have been beautiful. I was so inspired by this woman, I wanted to pattern a character after her, only I wanted to take things a step further. I wondered, what if my heroine was not only single and older but was a new believer and had major regrets from her past? Could God use her, a woman who felt as if she’d failed her own child, to bring hope to someone else’s?

2. What intrigued you enough about this event and person to write about it?

As to the event, in When Dawn Breaks, a hurricane is the catalyst for action, and thrusts Jacqueline into a chaotic and need-filled environment. She’s forced to woman up, in a sense, and be Christ to storm refugees, an act that at times is frightening and uncomfortable. This portion of the novel stemmed from our family’s encounters with Katrina victims. We lived in Louisiana when Katrina hit, and though we were far enough from the touch down to remain unaffected personally, many who were affected flooded our community. It was a crazy, chaotic time with everyone scrambling to help. Churches were hosting people in their basements, people thronged our local library, stores sent boxes of non-perishables to churches and other places. Our church even put five families up in mobile homes.

At the time, watching the chaos, seeing the brokenness all around me, a story began to form of a family forced to reconcile while seeking shelter from a hurricane. Though I didn’t write that story until years later, When Dawn Breaks came from that initial niggling.


The author with the woman who inspired When Dawn Breaks

3. Wow, that’s so amazing. Why incorporate a true event and person into your story?

I think everything writers write have some mingling of truth, for as the cliché goes, we write what we know. And this event really impacted me—to see so many believers sacrificially serve and give, for months! To see so many churches come together to help their fellow man. Though it was a devastating time, it was also a beautiful time because it was such a clear picture of God’s love and grace, poured out through His children.

4. What was the most difficult part of writing a story based in fact?

The hardest part about writing this novel was the portions relating to foster care, because rules and procedures in the foster care industry change from state to state. And there were so many technical details I wasn’t aware of until I began writing. Luckily, my sister has worked in the foster care industry for quite a while, in numerous states, and helped me with all that.

5. Did you get any helpful advice?

Initially, I wanted to leave out a specific location, because of what I mentioned in the previous question, but my editor felt readers needed to be better grounded in setting, and that naming at least the state would help them in that regard. So, that’s what I did, centering the story on sections of Texas and Louisiana I lived in during Katrina.

6. Can you give us a little synopsis of the story?

How about if I give you the text from the back cover of the book?

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with own issues, including a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. Then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

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, 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. 

Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print and kindle version)! You can get that here:

Read a free, 36-page excerpt of When Dawn Breaks here:

You can buy a copy here:

On Amazon:

On Barnes and Noble:


Thanks for stopping by!  Have you ever been inspired by someone in your church? Tell us about it!





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