God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
(New Living Translation from BibleGateway)
Hard to believe the third month of 2014 is almost upon us. Time flies with a newborn!
Alex will be 4 weeks old next Sunday and I’m still marvelling at how “chill” he is compared to my first two baby experiences. He grunts more than he cries, and he likes to observe quietly when he’s awake. Aside from the time spent changing diapers, holding and feeding him, I might forget there’s a babe in residence. I anticipate this changing, since all babies seem to love mixing up what has just become the norm; but I would be very grateful if this is a lasting personality trait!
Other things occurring this month: I finished a puzzle that had been a Christmas gift (photo to be added to the Hobbies album soon) and also read a great Star Trek novel, the first of a trilogy called Cold Equations. (I’ve requested the second from the library and it will likely come from the Lower Mainland, hopefully soon so I can continue the larger story arc.) Oh, and I watched a lot of Olympic coverage! Go, Canada, go! :)
Hard to believe it’s been that long, actually. There’s no schedule for eating and sleeping at this early stage, but Alex follows a basic pattern. And he does tend to want to eat when I’m eating… (I did that as a babe. Payback time? I try not to hold it against the little fella, hee hee.)
Today he went in the Ergo carrier for the first time and settled in so well I cleaned the kitchen with his “help.” I also introduced him to one of the playmats, but his reaction was influenced by the fact that he was ready to eat again, so maybe more interest next time. ;)
I really enjoyed this second book in the Christiansen Family series. Eden made a good main character and it was easy to relate to her, while Jace Jacobsen was the ultimate good guy you could cheer for to win the girl. I might have been disappointed that they didn’t spend long in my favourite small-town setting of Deep Haven, but the entire book was great for setting, plot and characters – that made up for it. Besides, I can always go back to the original Deep Haven books for more, and that’s an advantage of having multiple series with characters from the same town. :)
I’m very glad I had the opportunity to read this book and I’ll be waiting impatiently for the next one in the series. Warren’s writing makes for great pleasure reading, and I love how she includes issues of faith in her stories as well.
And now here’s some behind-the-scenes information from the author…
This is the second installment in a new six-book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this series?
The Christiansen Family series is a spin-off of the bestselling Deep Haven collection, stories about the townspeople of Deep Haven, Minnesota, a tiny resort town on the north shore of Lake Superior. The original series started with a book titled Happily Ever After and grew to include six titles.
However, one family began to stand out, and we decided their story needed to be told. We wanted a series about a family with adult children learning what it meant to carry on the legacy of faith into their lives. And I wanted to write a series that would really let readers dig into the family, feel like they were a part of their journey.
This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.
It’s a gorgeous place to set a story—on the rocky shores of Lake Superior, in a tiny town where everyone knows your name. It’s a town with a rich heritage, strong ties, and a place where people want to escape—in fiction and in real life (as it is modeled after my town of Grand Marais, Minnesota). You’ll find people from all walks of life here—and most importantly, Evergreen Resort, run by the Christiansen family for four generations.
What is your hope for this series?
Of course, I hope people fall as much in love with the Christiansens as I have. They’re a great bunch—all led by John and Ingrid Christiansen, who have tried to instill their values into their children. But each child has their own path to walk, and part of the series is just watching as they walk that path—through the good and the bad, trying to figure out where their faith and their parents’ legacy fit into their lives. It’s a contemporary epic family series set in the wilds of northern Minnesota with romance, suspense, and lots of great family drama!
What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main character Eden Christiansen?
Eden Christiansen came from a number of places. Watching the siblings of movie stars and athletes, watching my own daughter cheer her athlete brothers, even watching my friends, parents who feel on the sidelines of their children’s lives… maybe even a little left behind as they leave for college. I began to wonder—what if you had an amazing sibling, and your entire family focused on his or her successes, and you felt left behind, void of your own amazingness? This is Eden—who feels like she hasn’t accomplished anything and is sitting on the sidelines of her life. She feels like she needs to “get into the game” but doesn’t know how or where to start. And she feels like she really has nothing spectacular to offer…
But God has different plans… :)
Did you base the character of Jace Jacobsen on anyone in particular?
Jace was loosely modeled after famed Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died, in part, due to the many concussions he suffered as a hockey player. The problem of concussions with today’s athletes, especially in hockey and football, can be life-threatening for athletes, and although hockey (and football!) is played much differently today, it’s still an issue.
I wanted Jace to have the opposite problem from Eden—he is only good at one thing. In fact, he’s spectacular at it, but he believes if he walks away from it, he will be nothing. So, same problem… different perspective. It gave me a good opportunity as an author to examine our “worth.”
Of course, adding the John Doe element only rounded that theme out with yet another perspective. I loved how these three angles came together.
What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
I think we all need to see our worth not in relationship to our external successes but in how we work out the task God has for us. How we love one another, how we use our gifts and talents. How we abide with God in our daily lives. Hopefully readers will begin seeing their worth in a new way.
How do you expect this new series to resonate with your audience? How do you want your books to make them feel?
I am hoping readers walk away from this book, and this series, with hope. The sense that they belong to something—to God, to family—and the feeling that our lives are not chaotic or out of control, but that God has a unique and amazing journey for each of us, and it’s lived out within our relationships. I want them to feel as if they’d found a new set of friends.
Have you received any feedback from your fans on this series? What are they saying?
People fell immediately in love with Darek and his sweet son, Tiger, in Take a Chance on Me, and I think readers will really enjoy Jace and Eden’s
romance in this story. I’m thankful that people enjoy the work I put into developing my characters and the romance, and I have loved diving into these multilayered stories about people with realistic, everyday struggles.
As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I loved writing about Minnesota in the winter. And I loved the story of John Doe and uncovering who he might be. (I plotted it like a mystery, so it was fun to revisit my mystery-plotting techniques). I especially loved the layers of Jace, the hero, and how, with every turn, he became more intriguing.
What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?
Try to up your writing game with each book, and just keep writing. Not every story appeals to every reader, but I try to write a story I would enjoy—and then hopefully my readers will also.
In your writing career, what are you most proud of?
I think I’ve stayed true to who I am and the kind of story I’m supposed to be writing. I’m very blessed by my reader friends and their constant encouragement. I am very blessed to spend my days with the Christiansen family!
I haven’t read as much as I could have lately, but I’m still taking advantage of Alex’s feeding times. Here’s what book fun I’ve been up to recently:
I really enjoyed Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins, excellent mystery/suspense and I honestly didn’t see the ending coming. (Nice not to be able to predict all the time with that genre. I don’t mind predicting the outcome of a romance, but that’s a different kind of animal!)
I picked up a Star Trek novel the day before Alex arrived. It’s Book One of the Next Generation Cold Equations series, The Persistence of Memory. So far quite interesting, though I’m still not sure I’m ready to move on after Data’s demise in the tenth movie. (Yes, Data was one of my favourite Next Gen characters. Setting a book four years after “Nemesis” means there’s some work to be done to convince me that life has moved on without him.)
I also started an ebook I snagged from GirlEBooks once upon a time, The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. I often take a long time with biographies, so don’t expect my opinion any time soon. Still, I’ve found Keller intriguing since we were first taught about her in elementary school.