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Interview with Darlene West

Darlene West joins us to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Awakened by Grace. Inspired by the people she's met in a lifetime of ministry, she wrote the story to capture their pain and point readers to the greater hope found in Christ.

Welcome, Darlene! What was your inspiration for Awakened by Grace?
Over the years, as a street evangelist, I’ve met a lot of people who either thought their sins were unforgivable or thought they were not good enough for God, and some suffered from chronic and prolonged grief. When I conducted Bible studies at mental health institutions, I found that many with emotional issues suffered from self-condemnation and insecurities. These people touched my heart so much that I felt compelled to write a story that portrayed how powerful God’s love is towards us when we’re suffering. I was able to draw from my own experiences with God when I have gone through a period of suffering or I had insecurities about accomplishing something I needed to accomplish, as well.

How did God change you during the writing of Awakened by Grace? What spiritual truth do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I learned how to let go and totally lean on the Lord. Before I started writing, while I was writing, and when I got writer’s block, I learned to pray my way through it all. My prayer life has matured.

I would like my readers to take away from Awakened by Grace how powerful God’s love is, how forgiving the Lord is, and He’ll never leave you or forsake you.

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What obstacles or challenges do you face in making time to write?
I don’t have a real routine. I keep at it until it’s done. When I’m writing, I’m constantly writing: physically and mentally. I actually go into my characters’ world and I get lost in it. When I’m in my morning and evening devotions, I go to Jesus about what I have written or what I am about to write, as well as how to improve the story.

As far as challenges and obstacles go, I’m actually blessed that my kids are grown and my grandchildren are close to adulthood. I’m retired, so therefore I have more time on my hands. My husband is self-employed and he works remotely. But I’ve learned a long time ago, when God is blessing, the devil is messing.

There are times when I get a phone call or something in the mail that comes as an obstacle. I simply stop what I’m doing and I deal with it. After I do, I resume writing. I don’t get flustered over obstacles because it’s easier to simply deal with them and move on.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love to go to the gun range and practice marksmanship. I enjoy the great outdoors, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and so on. I create recipes, and I’m “Granny’s Goodies” at fairs and festivals. Around town, I’m known as “the fudge lady.” It took me seven years to perfect a chocolate fudge bundt cake, and I won grand prize for it.

If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author(s), living of dead, who would you choose? What would you talk about?
Shakespeare. What inspired him to write such tragic stories like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet? Then on the other hand, such great comedies like A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night? I would also like to know which was his favorite work.

How can we pray for you?
Thank you for this question. I’ve been praying about starting a non-profit to help girls who have been abused or trafficked. I need to know how God would want me to go about it.


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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