Welcome, Michelle! I’m delighted to have you as my guest today. Michelle is the author of the Sacred Vow Series and founder of the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers website.
Thank you, Edwina. It is good to be here.
How long have you been writing? I started in 2003 and wrote my first book, First Impressions, which eventually sold.
When and what was your first published book? My first book that I sold released in 2008 and is titled, It’s Not About Me. It was actually the fifth book I wrote.
You have a website called “Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers.” What prompted you to establish this site? I wanted to create a safe place for Christian authors to talk about their work and not get chewed out by people who think Christians should never write anything controversial. I also wanted it to be a place where readers could find authors and books with edgier content. It’s a great website—if you haven’t visited, check it out!
Sacred Vows is your current series. Where did you get the idea for this series? I wanted to write a story about a woman who had an affair (since it’s always the men who cheat in most novels) to show the slide down into the pit and how God can pull anyone out if they call on His name. I also wanted to show how He will heal any marriage if both parties look to Him for healing. It’s shocking to me how many Christians divorce over infidelity without even trying to work things out. Forgiveness is a big part of the Christian walk and I believe we too often discriminate and make some sins forgivable and say that others are not. In case anyone cares to know this piece of trivia about me—I was married from 1986 to 1988 and yes, my ex-husband cheated on me many times with different women. God had to pull me out of that mess and heal my heart, so I am not speaking from ignorance or inexperience when it comes to how wounded we can be by this type of sin. Most Christian novels begin the story after the sin has been committed and I wanted to show the pull of sin and how it’s easier to “go there” than most people think. Given the right set of circumstances it can happen to anyone. They [Christian novels] don’t show the slippery slope that starts with what seems like an innocent relationship. But Satan is out to kill and destroy, and that includes marriages. The second book was written to show the year after the affair ended and the issues that develop in the process of healing. I also wanted to contrast an unsaved couple with a Christian couple to show how couples with faith in Jesus have hope. The third book was written to show the ripple effects of sin over time even when there is healing. It also shows the redemption of what looked like a hopeless sinner and shows how a Christian, even in a fallen state, can influence someone’s life for the good over time. Plus the issue of homosexuality erupts in the third book.
In the three books of the Sacred Vows Series, Never Without Hope, Their Separate Ways and Decision to Love you have dealt with “controversial” subjects that mainstream Christian fiction will not address. What is your reason(s) for addressing these topics? I never planned on writing a second book in the series, or a third for that matter, so when I wrote the end of Never Without Hope and stated that James died of a heart attack in the future, I thought about what type of situation might make James die from the stress and grief and came up with the issue of homosexuality and how it would feel for a Christian couple to have one child — their only son — make this declaration after being raised in a Christian home. I’ve met too many good Christian couples who have grieved over a child who declared their preference for the homosexual lifestyle when they became adults. I also wanted to show that hatred and prejudice (like James had for the gay lifestyle) might cause someone to seek out something they may not have cared to explore otherwise. There is also the issue of choice and the issue of homosexuality. So many things can be explored in this type of situation. Should Christian parents reject a child who declares as an adult that they are gay? What about talking to friends from church and getting support? It’s not something parents typically want to share about their child, so they suffer alone. I wanted to use this book to show those parents that no one has fallen so far from God that they are beyond His reach. No one.
As mentioned above, in Decision to Love, you deal with homosexuality. How did you prepare for this storyline? I’ve talked to a lot of people and gotten a lot of feedback, and I did a bit of research on my own. It’s a heated topic even in the church. If a child is saved and then as an adult they declare this preference, do they lose their salvation? Just praying that the person get saved is not the answer. It’s more complicated than that if a child already gave their life to Christ and it was a true conversion. I wanted to explore that angle rather than have a kid be “lost” and how they just need to find Jesus as the solution. What if they had already tasted and seen that the Lord is good? What then? You are right when you say it’s a heated topic, even in church. In fact, in my research, I’ve found that most churches do not want the topic of homosexuality brought up.
The fourth book of the Sacred Vows series comes out next year. Is this the final book of the series? Without giving away everything, what can we expect? Um, considering I didn’t plan to write beyond the first book, I can’t really say it’s the last one. Each book in this series was very risky for me to write, but it’s not about gaining popularity or risking my career, for me writing these types of stories is about ministry. Whose life can I touch through a story that might show them a situation about their life that needs to change? Who needs hope and encouragement? I write for people who need hope. Of course, the next book deals with issues of trust, which is why I titled it, Learning to Trust. It’s going to be another powerful tale. Having read all three books, I can definitely say this is your ministry!
Tell us about yourself and your family. I’ve been married over twenty-two years to the same wonderful man and we have two sons in college.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Read great books of course!
Thanks Michelle for a great interview!
Thank you again for having me!
Readers and Friends, I will review Michelle’s book Decision to Love, on Wednesday’s blog and you will have a chance to win a copy of this book! Stay tuned!
Also, on Friday, I will review Cecil “Cec” Murphey’s and Twila Belk’s latest book “Because You Care – Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers.”