JK: Today I’m thrilled to bring you another interview with Author Joan Deneve. Thank you for joining us, Joan! Tell us what’s new since Saving Eric.
JD: Hello, Jericha. Great to be with you again! Eric and Ellie’s story continues in my new novel Freeing Ellie.
JK: Eric and Ellie… together at last! What are some of the challenges they face in Freeing Ellie?
JD: You’re right about challenges. Life seems to be full of them, doesn’t it?
One of Ellie’s greatest fears comes to pass: Eric has to return to his former professional skills in an attempt to rescue someone dear to them both.
Most importantly, though, Ellie has to deal with some baggage from her past: Guilt over past mistakes; depression; doubts about God’s love and forgiveness. These things rear their ugly heads as she and Eric deal with tragedy, as well as complications from a crisis pregnancy.
JK: Oh my. Can’t wait to read how they address these challenges. What’s Ellie’s most endearing quality?
JD: Ellie is sweet, even when she is having a hard time. This quality is endearing but not always helpful. In an attempt not to be a bother to anyone, she bottles up her pain and tries to handle it all on her own.
JK: I think a lot of women can relate. Tell us how your book, Freeing Ellie, came to be.
JD: I love books that end with Happily Ever After, but I always want to know what happens to a couple after the wedding when real life hits them square in the face. I love Eric and Ellie, and I wanted to take their journey farther and deeper. Since they were both new Christians when they married, I wanted to show their growth as believers and also the strengthening of their own relationship as husband and wife.
JK: Anyone who’s read about Eric and Ellie will definitely want to know more. What resources did you utilize to gather information for Freeing Ellie?
JD: My own life experiences! I was not reared in a Christian home. In fact, my childhood was often violent and troubled due to having a mentally ill father. I was gloriously saved two weeks before my sixteenth birthday! I entered this wonderful faith with a lot of baggage from my childhood. God graciously created the perfect storm of challenges and trials aimed specifically at my fears and doubts to bring me to the place where I could fully trust Him.
Although Ellie’s struggles were different from my own, I think the concept is the same for every believer. God knows the deep secrets and fears in our hearts. He often allows us to go through tribulations (which are trials we can’t handle on our own) in an effort to free us once and for all from the things that have bound us spiritually or emotionally.
I love the line from the novel: Retreat to the truth, not your feelings.
Our thoughts and feelings are often colored by lies we inadvertently tell ourselves such as, God doesn’t care; I’ll never change; Not even God can fix this mess…. We must learn to counter the lies we believe with the truth of His word. God’s truth will make you free. John 8:32.
JK: Yes! God’s truth is the only truth in a world of lies. What about Eric and Ellie will appeal to readers?
JD: Their cute, sweet banter! They’re still newlyweds in this novel! They are also still relatively new Christians. I think the reader will enjoy and benefit from witnessing their growing pains in their new faith.
JK: Can’t wait to read it. Your dialogue is amazing! What is the single most important lesson you’ve learned about writing, or life in general?
JD: Wow! I had to really think about the answer to this question because there were many lessons along the way. But I think if I had to narrow it down to the single most important lesson in regards to writing and life in general, it would be this:
Even though my life’s calling is to be a teacher, I found I REALLY enjoyed writing. At fifty-seven, when I began this glorious writing journey, I felt that I had walked through the wardrobe door and entered a whole new world that I loved very much. Five years later, I’ve learned some things about this ‘writing Narnia’ that I could not have known when I began.
- Writing is a gift but it’s also a craft that must be learned, often through painstaking, patient, and humbling trial and error.
- Getting a book published does not bring a lasting or euphoric high that one thinks it will bring. (Nor will it bring fame or wealth.)
- Most importantly, I’ve learned that God wants to use my gift of writing in His time and in His way. Once I learned that lesson, the pressure was off to compete with other authors, or to complete yet another epic book. God’s will, God’s way, God’s timing. It took me a while to learn that one, and I think I’m still learning. Actually it was this year that I realized God wants to use my writing whether in a work of fiction, a Facebook post, or even the occasional blog. It doesn’t have to be an award-winning book.
Sorry. I gave you three, but I saved the most important lesson for the last.
JK: I’m so glad you did. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?
JD: Me? Not really. But I can tell aspiring authors what I tell myself.
Don’t let self-doubt rob you of the blessing of pursuing your dream of writing a book and getting it published. God wants to use you to help and bless (or maybe just entertain) the people with whom you share this planet.
Don’t look at the Goliaths of other great authors or great and seemingly impregnable publishing houses. As young David said, “Is there not a cause?” Yes! If God has put this desire in your heart, God wants to use you. Trust God and do it!
JK: Fabulous advice, Joan. Tell us something we might be surprised to learn about you.
JD: Like Ellie, I once tried to commit suicide. God wasn’t through with me. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about this book. God is in the business of changing lives! He changed mine! My prayer is that God uses this book to help someone who is struggling with guilt or depression. There is deliverance!
JK: Thank you so much for your transparency, and most importantly, for sharing the sure hope found in Christ Jesus. What’s next for you? Are you writing anything new?
JD: I could use your prayers! Teaching high school English is rewarding but very time-consuming! I also am the primary caregiver for my ninety-six year old mother, another very rewarding but time-consuming challenge. But yes! I am currently working on Loving Brock, the third and final book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series.
JK: Oh goodness! There’s more to come? I can’t wait! Thank you so much for joining us. How might readers contact you?
JD: I love to hear from readers! Here are some ways to connect with me:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: Joannie Deneve, joandeneve.com
JK: Finally, where can we find Freeing Ellie?
JD: Freeing Ellie can be found on Amazon. ♦
~ Jericha Kingston
Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan began her walk as a Christian when she accepted Christ as her savior two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She graduated from Tennessee Temple Bible College in 1975.
Joan and Rene’, her husband of forty-plus years, reside in Prattville, Alabama, a charming city with Southern hospitality. They count their son, daughter, son-in-law, and seven phenomenal grandchildren to be their greatest blessings on earth.
Joan enjoys time well-spent with family and friends, but finds equal joy in quiet moments of solitude on her back porch. There, surrounded by bluebirds and yellow butterflies, she began writing her debut novel, Saving Eric.
An active member of her church, Joan enjoys singing in the choir. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently working on the third book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. She enjoys chatting with fellow writers and readers. Contact her at http://www.joandeneve.com