Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Francine Rivers new release, Her Mother's Hope!

I'm excited to share an interview with you today. Francine Rivers (you may know her from the bestselling Redeeming Love) has a new release, Her Mother's Hope!So please stick around to read a bit about Francine and her books...

How did you get started as a writer?
From the time I was a child, I knew I would be a writer. Because I didn’t know what I would write, I majored in English (emphasis in literary writing) and minored in journalism (emphasis on who-what-when-where-why). My parents had always been non-fiction readers. Rick’s family loved all kinds of books – and lots of fiction. Mom Edith loaned me novels and I loved them. On a dare (from Rick) I decided to write a combination of my favorite genres and wrote a “western-gothic-romance”. Romance novels were booming in the general market, publishers were on the look-out for new writers. My first manuscript sold and was published. I was hooked! I followed with eight or nine more (of what I call my B.C. (before Christ) books). They are all now out of print, are never to be reprinted, and are not recommended.

When I turned my life over to Jesus, I couldn’t write for three years. I tried, but nothing worked. I struggled against God over that because writing was my “identity.” It took that period of suffering “writer’s block” to bring me to my senses. God was trying to open my eyes to how writing had become an idol in my life. It was the place I ran to escape, the one area of my life where I thought I was in complete control. (Hardly!) My priorities were all wrong and needed to be put right. God first, husband and children second (we had three children by then) and third-- work. I prayed God would change my heart. My love for writing and reading novels waned and my passion for reading and studying God’s Word grew.

Rick and I began hosting a home Bible study. I began working with Rick in his business. The children came along and played in the office, hiding in the shipping popcorn. Writing ceased to matter. I was in love with Jesus and my husband and children. God never stops with the transformation process. We began studying the book of Hosea, and I sensed God calling me to write again – this time a romance about Jesus’ love for each of us. Redeeming Love was the result. It is the retelling of the Hosea story, set in Gold Rush-era California. After I turned it in, I wasn’t sure whether I would write anything more. I had so many questions about what it means to be a Christian, how to live for God, different issues that still haunted me. I felt God nudging me toward using my writing as a tool to draw closer to Him. I would ask my question, create characters that would play out the different viewpoints and seek God’s perspective. I began work on A Voice in the Wind. Writing has become a way to worship the Lord through story – to show how intimately He wants to be involved in our lives.

Where do you get your ideas for your plots?
Almost every story I have written since becoming a Christian has come from a question that regards a struggle in my own faith walk. The plot centers around the different ways that question can be answered by “the world” – but the quest is to find God’s answer. Here is a list of my novels with the questions that started each story:
  • A Voice in the Wind: How do I share my faith with unsaved family members and friends who have no desire to read the Bible or hear me talk about my faith?
  • An Echo in the Darkness: How many times are we called upon to forgive people who hurt us deliberately -- and (in many countries) would like to see us dead?
  • As Sure As the Dawn: How do you deal with anger – especially when there is “good” cause? What is “righteous anger” and how does it look?
  • The Scarlet Thread: What does “sovereignty” mean in man’s relationship with God? If He is in control of everything, what does that say about the bad things that happen to people?
  • The Atonement Child: Is there complete forgiveness and restoration for a woman who has aborted her child? Does abortion have any effect on the woman and the man involved in the crisis pregnancy? Does it impact people around them? (This was my most painful and personal book because I needed to face and deal with my own abortion experience. The character of Hannah is based on my story; Evie is based on my mother’s.)
  • The Last Sin Eater: What is the difference between guilt and conviction? This book came out of The Atonement Child. What I learned: guilt kept me imprisoned for years. Conviction sent me to my knees before the Lord where I received forgiveness and experienced His love and grace.
  • Leota’s Garden: Are abortion and euthanasia connected? Is euthanasia merciful or an act of murder? This novel also came out of my work on The Atonement Child. While studying the abortion issue from all sides, I realized the arguments for abortion are exactly the same as those for euthanasia. While going through a post-abortion class with other women (one a nurse), I learned that the elderly are already at risk. One scene in the book continues to shock people. I wrote it for that purpose. I want people to understand life is precious. The movement toward legalizing euthanasia continues to gain momentum (and has less to do with “mercy” than saving money for care).
  • And the Shofar Blew: What is a church? How do you build it? During my travels around the country and speaking at various churches, I saw many struggling through building projects and massive programs to draw more parishioners. Size of building and number of people in the pews seemed to define success or failure. Like a government out of control, the “church” (in many cases) has forgotten its foundation and purpose. Christ is the cornerstone. Believers meet together to study the Word of God, worship Him and encourage one another – and keep their doors and hearts open to those seeking God. Unfortunately, too many congregations have left their first love (Jesus Christ) and turned to idolatry (placing a building/drawing a crowd/being “politically correct” above a relationship with the Lord).
  • Her Mother’s Hope / Her Daughter’s Dream: What caused the rift between my grandmother and mother? When my grandmother had a stroke, my mother raced from Oregon to the Central Valley of California to be with her. Grandma died before she arrived. My mother was heart-broken and said, “I think she willed herself to die just so we wouldn’t have to talk things out.” I have wondered since: What causes people (even Christians) to hold grudges? What might have brought resolution and restoration to these two women? Could my grandmother have loved my mother without my mother understanding it? The two books have many personal, family details woven in and I will be sharing this information in my blog.

Which is your favorite book of those you’ve written?
My favorite book is Redeeming Love. It was my first as a born-again Christian, my statement of faith, and the most exciting year I’ve spent writing anything. I felt God’s presence throughout the months of work, as though He were telling me His story through thousands of Scriptures as well as explaining the inner heart-ache and quest of each “my” characters.

Which book was the hardest to write and why?
The Atonement Child was the most personal and difficult to write because I had to face my own abortion experience. Added to the considerable research I did, and women who shared their experiences with me, I went through an intensive post-traumatic stress Bible study for post-abortive women at our local pregnancy counseling center. Reliving all aspects of my abortion decision and experience was excruciating – but healing. After twenty-six years of being imprisoned by guilt and shame, I was free through the power and love of God. Though the book was the most heart-wrenching to write, it also proved to be the most life changing. I’ve received countless letters from other post-abortive women and have learned my experience is not unique. Our nation is filled with wounded men and women. The character of Hannah is based on my story, Doug is based on Rick’s, and Evie is based on my mother’s.

Are any of your novels going to be made into movies?
The Last Sin Eater was produced and directed by Michael Landon, Jr. and Brian Bird (They did an outstanding job.) The movie was released in theaters in 2007 and is now available on DVD. You can see the trailer on IMDB.com. Rick and I were invited to visit the set during filming in the mountains north of Salt Lake City. We had a great time and there are pictures of our trip in the movie-edition of the novel.
A film based on Redeeming Love is currently in development with Abba Productions/ Christy Lee Taylor. She has partnered with producer Ralph Winter and they are trying to pull together funding to get the project off the ground.


Tell us about your current work.
I have just completed the second in a set of two books about mother-daughter relationship over four generations. This was intended to be one long novel dealing with the different ways generations have lived out their faith – but became so long it needed to be divided. Her Mother’s Hope will be released March 16, 2010. Her Daughter’s Dream will follow in September. There are numerous family and personal details woven into both books and I plan to share those things on my blog. You may find out more about my new book and more by visiting my web site at www.FrancineRivers.com.

To check out the video trailer, click here.
To purchase, click here.

PLEASE NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to the me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.

20 comments:

Audra Harders said...

Morning, Missy! Thanks for offering a few morning minutes with Francine Rivers! Amazing works; amazing woman.

I loved Francine answers for *where do you get your plot ideas?* Writing around concepts and emotions create an impact are stories and truths that stay with the reader for a long time.

I'm excited to see more books in the works. Frannie's books are such a partnership with God's direction. A real blessing.

Great interview Missy and Frannie! Wonderful way to start my day : )

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for stopping by Audra! I loved her answers to that question as well! Very interesting and helpful.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Umm...

Missy.

Food?

Seriously?

You invited Frani over here and you've got...

Nuthin'????

Zip?

Zilch?

Nada?

Oh my stars, woman, thank the Good Lord in heaven above that you've got friends because I just happen to have a fresh jar of quince jam (from Murphy Orchards right up here in western NY!) and some homemade bread...

I brought some of my own homemade raspberry jam, too, some sour cherry (my favorite) AND a fresh batch of rhubarb/strawberry jam.

Yes.

Fresh. The rhubarb is gorgeous, this month's warm temps coaxing it up and out a little early.

Lovely.

And since no one does it better than Frani and my buddy Missy, I'll leave the hostess details to them, but Francine, I can't wait until my copy of Her Mother's Hope arrives.

Mothers. Daughters. Oh my stars. 'Nuf said.

Ruthy

Missy Tippens said...

Oops, Ruthy, I can't believe I've fallen down on my hostess duties! So I'm offering a nice fresh pot of coffee and some homemade biscuits to go with your yummy jams. :)

(Okay, I hope my family will stop the snorts of laughter at my mention of homemade biscuits!)

Mary Connealy said...

Fantastic interview.
Good luck with the new book, Francine.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Missy,
What a treat to hear from you Frannie. I love to hear your story over and over. We were both writing in ABA at the same time. You are the one with the courage to change your path in the writing venue. I changed my path too, but into another career.

I love your books. My favorite was the Sin Eater and loved the movie too. I can hardly wait to see Redeeming Love in a movie. Also looking forward to your new book Her Mother's Hope.

Thanks for visiting with us. Thanks Missy for hostessing one of my favorite authors. (Well you're one of my favorites too-smile)

Yumm homemade biscuits but why is your family snorting? Should I be worried? I know Ruthy's jam will be yummy. Thanks Ruthy.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, thanks for stopping by!

And yes, Sandra, you should be afraid. Be very afraid! LOL (hint: my biscuits could be used as a weapon in one of Mary's books!)

Cara Lynn James said...

Great interview! I love Francine's books.

Julie Lessman said...

Wow, Missy, great interview!!!

Francine said: "God was trying to open my eyes to how writing had become an idol in my life."

Ouch. God has been dealing with this very thing with me as well, and hearing your story, Francine, is a true encouragement and inspiration to all of us who write for Him.

God bless you on these next two books.

Hugs,
Julie

Missy Tippens said...

Cara and Julie, thanks so much for stopping by!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

OK, "Redeeming Love" became my favorite book after I discovered it. I had my aunt read it. It is a wonderful book. I haven't read any other Francine Rivers books, but I did go to the theater to see "The Last Sin Eater". I like to support Christian-based films.

This is an excellent interview. Thank you so much for sharing! I enjoyed learning more about Francine Rivers.

Angela Breidenbach said...

I love reading Francine's work. She's one of the first authors who inspired me to try fiction. I hope one day that I would be compared to her. That would be a high honor!
Angie

Missy Tippens said...

Jenn and Angie, thanks for stopping by!

佩昭彥怡 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rebecca Lynn said...

I'm gonna ditto what Angie said. Francine Rivers' "Redeeming Love" was the first book I ever read that made me think, "I want to write books like this."

It's so great to hear more about her new release. Thanks for posting this great interview!

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca!

ToryB_He231147 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Missy Tippens said...

If you see deleted comments, it's because I've removed them due to the fact that I can't read the language. I'm afraid to leave them if I don't know what they say. Plus, they have links in them.

For those of you leaving the comments, I'm sorry!

Vince said...

Hi Missy:

I have not yet read a Francine Rivers book but after reading this post, I bought The Atonement Child because this is a topic I very much want to read about from a genuine Christian prespective. I appreciate the post. Thanks.

Vince

Missy Tippens said...

I'm glad it was helpful, Vince.

Thanks for stopping by!