Agnes Kingsley can hardly bear to walk past the house she lived in as a married woman. It’s full of bad memories she’s never shared, not even with her best friend, Ian James. But now Ian wants her help to restore that old home for a community project. Agnes knows it’s for a good cause, but as their work brings them closer together, she’s afraid to trust—in herself or in the feelings she’s secretly harboring for her childhood friend. Yet as they chip away at the house, walls come down around both their hearts...uncovering a foundation to last a lifetime.
- ISBN: 0373878931
- Publisher: Love Inspired
Interview with Lisa Jordan
By Paula Mowery - June 16, 2014
Where did the idea for Lakeside Sweethearts originate?
After I wrote Lakeside Family, many readers told me they enjoyed Agnes and wanted to know if I was going to write a book about her. So I pondered her character and realized behind her sass and sarcasm, she hid a broken heart.
Also, a woman in our community had a vision for a transitional home for women released from jail to go to as they transitioned back into society. So she worked with our community to make her vision become a reality. Her vision sparked a story idea for me, so Agape House is loosely based on my friend Dianne’s House of Hope.
You are particularly fond of happily-ever-after kinds of tales. Why is that true?
My parents divorced when I was 12, but my grandparents celebrated over 50 years of marriage. As a teen, I read romance novels and knew I wanted to write the same kind of heart-sighing conclusions for my readers. I believe God promises hope and happily ever after, too, so my tagline on my website—Promises of Hope & Happily Ever After—is twofold.
You and your husband enjoyed a long-distance courtship and then eloped. Has any of your story come out into your books? Explain.
My husband was stationed in the USMC when I met him. Because I was still in college, we communicated via letters and phone calls (before email and Skype), but then he received orders that doubled the distance between us. After six months of that, I moved to where he was stationed, and we eloped. We will celebrate 25 years of marriage in October, and we are renewing our wedding vows in my church.
This particular romantic thread hasn’t come up in one of my books...yet. :-)
What type of theme or message do you hope readers will take from this book?
In Lakeside Sweethearts, Agnes feels like a throwaway with no value. I want readers to understand God offers redemption and restoration with His unconditional love and grace. He makes us beautiful, restoring our value in His kingdom and using us for His Divine purpose.
How did you start writing?
When I was sixteen, I read The Promise by Danielle Steel. After I finished the last page, I knew at that very moment I wanted to be a romance writer and give my readers that same heart-sighing satisfaction. After I rededicated my life to Christ, I wanted to write Christian romances to glorify Him.
How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
It’s not possible to separate my faith from my writing. It’s an essential part of my voice because it’s a part of who I am. I consider my writing and my readers my mission field because I’m able to plant seeds in unsaved friends’ and family members’ hearts.
Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I’d have to say meeting Susan May Warren at ACFW in 2005. She was one of my favorite authors and her encouragement inspired to me to strengthen my craft. We became good friends, and I grew as a writer under her mentorship. I became the forum coordinator for My Book Therapy, her writing organization. I attribute signing with my dream agent, my first publishing contract and winning the 2012 Carol award for short contemporary romance to the knowledge I learned under Susan May Warren’s and Rachel Hauck’s mentorship through My Book Therapy.
Since you have a full-time day job, how do you schedule your writing time? Do you have any words of wisdom for other writers who have to juggle careers and other responsibilities with their writing?
I own and operate an in-home family childcare program, so my days are very busy. Even after my last Little Darling leaves, I still have cleaning, lesson plans, etc to do, so it’s essential for me to manage my time well so I can meet deadlines and plot new books.
I write in the evenings after dinner for about 2-3 hours a night. When I’m fast-drafting, I try to get 1500 words a day. When I’m editing, I try to work through a chapter a day.
I’ve had to guard my writing time carefully and say no, even to fun things I want to do.
My advice to other writers is to delegate household and family responsibilities so you can free up writing time. Then block off times in your calendar like you would a dentist or doctor’s appointment. Creating time to write is necessary to install that discipline and to grow your word count.
Do you have your own writing space? Describe where you write.
I have a writing nook with a desk, oversized monitor for my laptop, bookshelves, etc, and I have a comfy oversized leather chair in the living room. I prefer to write in the living room on my laptop because I like being in the hub with my family. When I need quiet or more concentration, I’ll sit at my desk and hook my laptop up to my large monitor. I don’t leave the house to write at the library or the coffee shop because I’m too distracted watching other people and imagining their stories.
What advice do you have for aspiring romance fiction writers?
Read books in your genre. Study the craft. Invest time and resources into quality writing organizations like ACFW and My Book Therapy. Be willing to risk failure by putting your work out there for contest feedback, peer critique and submitting to agents and editors.
What other parting words do you have to share?
God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. He didn’t give us these dreams to yank them away. Lean into Him, believe in your own abilities, and focus on becoming the very best writer you can. Writing takes time, patience and persistence. It’s so easy to give up at adversity, but powering through will make you a stronger writer.
Thanks for sharing with us, Lisa Jordan!
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