Welcome to my new feature with author interviews, reviews, stories, giveaways and much more. Everybody loves a good story. Words - whether spoken, written, or watched on the big screen have the power to tug our hearts.
Today I'd like to welcome Betsy St. Amant.
Her contemporary romance, Love Arrives in Pieces, came out June 9th. Here's what the back cover says:
For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.
Betsy sat down for a few minutes and shared about her book and her writing life.
1. Can you tell me about your love of story?
I've had a love of story since I was a little girl. I believe stories, even fiction stories--maybe even especially fiction stories--tell great truth. I love that Jesus spoke in parables (a form of story). He knew that's how our hearts respond the deepest! Think about when you read from a textbook or from something else factual--you might remember the information, but it doesn't resonate the same way. It doesn't linger. But when you incorporate faces, history, settings, and emotions into those facts--that's when you live it for yourself. That's when you remember. That's when you believe.
2. So Betsy, tell us about your new novel.
I wrote Love Arrives in Pieces because I wanted to show the after-story of a woman scarred by divorce. The book doesn’t focus on the divorce, and it’s not a romance between the heroine and her ex husband. But it features the hope that comes from trusting God, moving on, and continuing to find healing—and love—in the strangest of places. Stella Varland (the heroine in the story). while not pining away for her ex anymore, is still walking through the residual effects of a divorce she never saw coming and never asked for. I hope it encourages other women who have to wear those same ill-fitting shoes. I want to show them their story is not over!
That sounds like you dug into some deep issues and also shows your readers hope.
3. What spiritual truths do you desire to convey to your readers?
I’m all about themes of redemption and restoration in my stories. When I went through my divorce, I would hear the term restoration and think that automatically meant restoring my marriage. But that wasn’t what happened—instead, God restored my heart. He restored my faith. My hope. My joy. He saw the death of one dream and provided me with another. The same month my husband left, I got a contract with my dream publisher. That wasn’t a coincidence! He is all about restoring the years the locust ate, and He is still doing that in my life. I have no idea what it will continue to look like, but it will be good. Because He is good.
Wow, that's really powerful.
4. Could you share with your readers how you get your story ideas?
Absolutely nothing and everything can prompt a story idea in my head. For example, I was driving to Dallas for the RT Convention last May, and saw this tree on the side of the highway. It immediately, like a shock wave, sparked this entire, crazy idea for a story that I’m still excited about. Just by seeing a tree. I also get inspired for new book ideas through music. I’ll hear the story in the song and it’ll play in my head like a movie. You just never know where the next book is going to come from! :)
LOL. So ideas come from all sorts of unusual places.
5. What’s something quirky about you that most people don’t know?
I really like straight lines. I think an entire area can be cleaned and look 100% neater if everything is just simply straightened. I do that all the time at my family’s house or a friend’s house, or at work—just start absently straightening things on their desk or table, etc. and voila! Half the time I don’t even know I am doing it. But hey, I always leave things looking nicer than I started ::wink::
6. What are your hobbies?
I love writing, obviously, and reading, as they tend to go hand in hand! I also really love fun exercise classes like zumba or kickboxing. I enjoy being outside in the sun, whether it’s taking a walk or laying by the pool or just sitting on a bench. I also adore the beach!
I'm sure you are enjoying summer then.
7. Speaking of summer, if you could vacation anywhere, where would you go?
8. Finally, if you have a day all to yourself how would you choose to spend it?
There would definitely be a pedicure involved, along with a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks, a sugar cookie from Panera Bread, roaming through a bookstore, and shopping for new shoes.
It sounds like you know how to have fun. Thank you so much, Betsy for stopping by today. As a kick-off this month to my 'love of story' feature, I'm giving away the following.
To put your hat in the ring, be sure to leave a comment. I'll be drawing a winner on July 31st. Thank you for visiting today.