by Marianne Evans
One of the most daunting questions I’m asked as an author is: ‘What prompted you to write this book/approach this topic/dive into these characters?’
When it comes to my release, Forgiveness, I don’t want to offer what might seem to be a quick and easy answer like: ‘I wrote it to help readers discover the mercy and love of God’s unconditional forgiveness.’ Instead, I wanted to dig deep, and explore the complexities of both giving and receiving forgiveness.
The seeds for the story germinated with the final installment of a series I wrote years ago called Woodland. Hearts Key was its final installation. The story featured a couple, and child, finding new life and love following the destruction caused by alcohol/gambling addiction and physical abuse.
The image of the little girl on that book cover stayed with me as I continued writing other books and moving on to other projects. Pyper haunted me…and her voice started to speak to me, sending me impulses for a story that took my heart by storm.
What if Pyper, the frightened five-year-old child of Hearts Key, grew into a powerhouse musician, like her stepfather? What if she believed her childhood scars to be healed, or at most, nothing more than a distant black memory easily dismissed? What if she literally collided with a fellow musician, Chase Bradington, who took her breath away, but had a history of battling alcoholism? What if this transformed and reformed man battled for her love, and won it—just as Pyper’s father returned to town, reformed as well, and seeking a chance to apologize, and seek her forgiveness?
Like I said, complex layers emerged. Giving and receiving forgiveness. How difficult. How hopeful. How painful. How rejuvenating.
How would Pyper find a way to extend forgiveness to the man who emotionally and physically abused her as the result of his addictions? How would she ever be able to fully trust Chase to not back-pedal and fall into a bad pattern of life once more? Could she freely give her heart to either man?
And what about Chase? Can he fully forgive himself for the wrongs of his past and move forward with Pyper? Can he truly believe, to his core, that the mercy of Christ reaches his deepest, darkest sins and washes him clean? When Pyper and her family welcome him in love and trust, can he believe himself worthy of receipt?
I was forced to ask myself: Do I truly believe in forgiveness? Not just giving it, but receiving it? Is it something authentic, or something I pay lip-service to while in reality I “hold a grudge?” There was a lot to consider, a lot to learn. But to me, taking that walk, making those discoveries, and sharing them with readers, is the most amazing part of being a writer
My prayer is that you will always find hope for the countless ways God can shine a light into the worst, most impossible situations and bring them to His goodness and perfect plan. Just like Chase and Pyper.Every sinner has a future...through forgiveness! @MarEvansAuthor #ACFWBlogs #ChristFic #AmReading Click To Tweet
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of faith-affirming fiction who has won acclaim from critics and readers. RT Book Reviews named her book Forgiveness a 4.5-Star Top Pick and readers laude her books as ‘riveting’ and ‘true to heart.’ She’s a life-long resident of Michigan who calls suburban Detroit home.