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Interview with Christina Suzann Nelson

Congratulations on your new release, Swimming in the Deep End! What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I wanted to look at the many ways in which women mother. I don’t believe our mothers are always the women who gave birth to us. Sometimes they are women who mentor us as adults or take the time to foster relationships with us as children. Sometimes they are our grandmothers or aunt.

No matter how we became mothers, the one universal truth about raising a child is it’s hard. Our hearts are so vulnerable in the form of our children. When our kids hurt, we are in agony.

I’ve wondered over the last few years how Mary was able to survive knowing the suffering that Jesus had to endure. It’s beyond my understanding. She must have ached so deeply for him.

Which character in Swimming in the Deep End was the easiest for you to write, and why? Which character presented the greatest challenge, and why?
It was easiest for me to write Jillian’s point of view. I understand her need to do better for her children and her consuming desire to give them something she felt she missed with her own mother.

Izzy was probably the hardest. She is nothing like I was in high school. She’s academically gifted, athletic, and relatively confident. In many ways, she’s the girl I wanted to be. In high school, it didn’t occur to me that those girls who seemed to have it all together were struggling with many of the same things I struggled with.

How did God change you during the writing of Swimming in the Deep End? What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Grace. As the stories of all these women unfolded, I found myself wanting them all to experience God’s grace in their lives. The women in this story continue to push me towards compassion. They remind me that we all come from different circumstances, and God can all change the course of our lives at any point.

If you could go back in time and talk to your former Writer Self, what advice would you give her?
Risk more, put depth onto the page, and seek God’s theme for each story.

As you look back on your journey to publication, how did God open those doors for you? What event or connection that may have seemed insignificant at the time ended up being enormously important?
There are so many people who’ve touched my life and my writing career. Publication hasn’t changed that at all. I’m blessed to be part of a wonderful community of writers who encourage and support me as well as dish me up some hard truth when it’s needed. ACFW and OCW (Oregon Christian Writers) have introduced me to mentors, editors, and agents. They’ve taught me the craft of writing as well as firmly acknowledging the reason to write.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I hang out with my quirky and amazing family! Jason and I are very blessed to have the greatest kids ever. I also love to hike, to listen to audiobooks, and to read. I spend a far amount of time talking to my horse. She’s a great listener.

My passion is working with children and families in the foster care system. I’m so privileged to work with Every Child Oregon.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished No One Ever Asked, by Katie Ganshert. Wow! That was a powerful novel. Next up is The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, by Bethany Turner.

How can we pray for you?
Over the last six months, our family has been on a wild ride with some deep losses and amazing blessings. I had to slow down my writing for few months, and that was hard. I’d appreciate prayer for our family, for my writing as I move back into a faster pace, and for learning how to balance it all.


Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance. Her contest wins include first place in the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest. Also a professional cellist, Amanda has been spotted onstage with the worship team at the ACFW Conference. A lifelong lover of the flatlands, she lives in Kansas with her husband and their three adorable Wenlets. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

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