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Meeting Aidyn from Fistful of God by Therese M. Travis

Therese headshotToday, Author Therese M. Travis gives us insight into how she first came to meet the heroine in young adult novel, A Fistful of God.

Therese has been writing since she found out that her beloved books were written by real people—about the age of eight. Since then, she’s always had a story going on in her head, and sometimes forgets reality. She loves going to church, volunteering there, spending time with her family, crafting with friends, and reading.

Now, let’s hear from Therese:

I first “met” Aidyn Pierce from “A Fistful of God” when I was talking to a fellow writer about her story. We’d been discussing the difficulty of growing up whole–I should say, the impossibility of growing up whole–with a parent who was an alcoholic. I wondered, what if said parent quits, and does everything she can to stay sober, but her daughter can’t accept it? And there she was, my Aidyn, hurting, angry, isolated. And did I mention angry?

She didn’t like to talk to people but she did to me–her fury spilled out, so much so that sometimes I had a hard time making sense of her and her feelings. But then, dealing with an alcoholic doesn’t often make sense, especially to a child.

For a long time, I thought Aidyn was me, and yes, she has a lot of my characteristics and issues. But just recently, I realized she is actually my mother–hurting and angry, and all that anger spilling out onto me. And the inability to forgive–yes, very much my mother. Unfortunately, I forgave the alcoholic who messed up my life long before I could do the same for the co-dependent who helped him.

Most of this revelation came long after the last galleys went through to Fay. Because there’s a huge divide between knowing a thing, and actually feeling and living it. I knew all these lessons that went into my story, all the lessons Aidyn needed to learn, but I didn’t really know them. I hadn’t lived them yet. So whatever “wisdom” that lives in these pages, it is not mine.

Then where did it come from? I’m betting on the Holy Spirit. He’s always been there for me, even when I couldn’t see or feel Him, always guiding, even when I didn’t follow, always whispering love and reassurance, even when I didn’t listen. I think He put the things I needed to discover into the story for me, and then sat back to watch me figure it out. “There you go, dear. That’s it. You’ve got the idea, now make it yours. Make it real. Start to live it.”

I hope I’m living it now.

And I’m hoping, too, for those that really need to read this book–I know some already have–that whatever God wants them to learn is clear to them. I pray for each of my readers–young or not, just starting on this journey of healing after the damage inflicted by an alcoholic, or well on the way, or not needing that at all–come to listen to Him. Because He is what the story is all about. What our stories are all about.

AFistfulOfGod_w11310_680 (2)About A Fistful of God:

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

A Fistful of God is available at Pelican Book Group and Amazon.com and other fine book retailers.

If you missed Monday’s Character Interview of Aidyn Pierce, click here.

If you missed Wednesday’s interview of Therese, click here.

 

Author Interview: Therese M. Travis, Author of A Fistful of God

Therese headshotToday’s special guest is Therese M. Travis, author of the powerful coming of age, young adult novel, A Fistful of God.  Therese has been writing since she found out that her beloved books were written by real people—about the age of eight. Since then, she’s always had a story going on in her head, and sometimes forgets reality. She loves going to church, volunteering there, spending time with her family, crafting with friends, and reading. 

Readers are always interested in knowing how an author develops his or her characters or the conflict an author designs for those characters. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your writing process that brings character and conflict to life?

As far as Aidyn goes, I was discussing how hard it is for children who live with active alcoholics. And I wondered, what if a kid had seen her mom try to quit time and again, and couldn’t make herself have faith in her mom—how hard that would be for both of them.

And suddenly Aidyn was there, kind of smart mouthed and angry and hurt, telling me about her struggles with her mom.

I love it when characters walk on stage like that. My experience with A Fistful of God has been that those who read it, without exception, said that the story ministered to them in some way. I believe that many people has experience with alcoholic parents, me included.

When writing, do you find that God has issues for you to face? If so, do you incorporate those into the lives of your characters?

Usually the issues come to my characters first, and then God gently leads me to see that these are the same things I need to deal with. So it seems a little backwards, but it’s the way God and I work.

God is faithful to meet us in a way that we can work it out best. In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bright to the light for your readers?

Aidyn is just getting to really know about God, and she doesn’t read the Bible much, instead, she relies on those who are trying to teach her. But she has to learn the idea that God loves everyone, not just the special few, the perfect people.

So, no particular scripture. I knew that Aidyn needed to grow up in her understanding of God. Her hurts had stunted her experience of God and His love and mercy, and she regarded Him with a very childlike and wrong view.

And it presents her most realistically, I must say. What advice would you give a reader who is dealing with the issues you write about?

Find someone who understands to talk to. Don’t isolate yourself. Aidyn felt so different from everyone else, like so much LESS of a person, unworthy, until she started to see that kids in the same situation were able to live, and live with joy, even while they struggled. Other kids approached her—don’t wait for that to happen. It doesn’t always. Support groups can help. Just finding one person who cares—and there is such a person out there—can save your life. But you have to be open to it.

Excellent advice. Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

I’m attracted to a lot of different genres. YA, middle grade, inspirational romance, and romantic suspense. I’m finishing a middle grade, getting a couple inspirational romances ready to submit, planning out a suspense, and plotting another YA.

The YA again deals with the feelings of rejection, and again, alcoholism. Much of it is based on the little I know about my father’s life, the hurts he endured, and how he dealt, or more accurately, did not deal with, those hurts.

The middle grade novel explores a twelve-year-old foster child’s experience reconnecting with her siblings in a new home.

I think all my stories explore the idea of hope—that, regardless of how badly you’ve been hurt, you can always find something to hope in, no matter how unlikely it seems. I’d like to think I show that we can all live with joy, no matter what we have to struggle with.

Therese, you do that well. You are on my author “must-have” list, and I recommend your stories to everyone. With Christmas fast approaching, I must give a plug to last year’s Christmas novella, Everybody Loves Mickey, which has one of my favorite taglines of all time: “Everybody loves Mickey, but Aubrey doesn’t have to like it.” Great Christmas reading.

And I plan to buy A Fistful of God for both of my older granddaughters.

Thank you so much for being with us this week. I look forward to your guest blog on Friday.

AFistfulOfGod_w11310_680 (2)A Fistful of God is available at Pelican Book Group and Amazon.com and other fine book retailers.

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

If you missed Monday’s Character Interview of Aidyn Pierce, click here.

Character Interview: Aidyn Pierce from A Fistful of God

AFistfulOfGod_w11310_680 (2)Today’s guest on Inner Source is Aidyn Pierce, who comes to us via her author, Therese  M. Travis. Aidyn is a character in a coming-of-age young adult novel, A Fistful of God, which transcends the generations. A Fistful of God is about parental alcoholism as seen through the eyes of a child. It touches hearts and souls, and I know that Aidyn’s story will speak into the lives of many.

Aidyn, please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? What story did you bring to your author?

I live in a small town in Southern California. I go to school and I babysit.

My story is about me, and my mom, and how I learned to let other people into my life. I learned how much I need people, and most importantly, how much I need God.

If you learned how much you need God and others, you have learned a very valuable lesson. Authors always bring conflict to their characters’ lives. It’s what they do. Please tell us the major conflict your author has you face in your story?

My mom is an alcoholic. I’m only fifteen; I don’t know how to deal with it. I mean, she’s tried quitting a million times, so when she tried again, well, how was I supposed to believe she’d make it?

That truly is conflict, and I can attest to how much conflict an alcoholic parent can bring into the lives of their children. How to you feel about the issues you face?

I want to hide from them. I figure it makes me different from all the other kids at school, so I make a point of avoiding them. I’m pretty lonely.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. Did you discover this on your journey, and if so, how?

I don’t think I’d ever understand how much I love my mom, or how much she loves me, if I hadn’t had to go through all this. And I don’t think I would have been able to understand God’s love, either.

Aidyn, what you described is definitely Romans 8:28 in action. Sometimes the biggest conflicts we face teach us the best lessons. Is there another scripture or a biblical concept that you lean upon to help you through your crisis?

I spent most of my time getting to know Him, so I didn’t have any Scriptures. For a long time I thought He only loved perfect people. I’m glad I found out that’s not true.

The truth is, God loves imperfect people, and He loves us where we are. Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Aidyn. I look forward to the interview with your author, Therese Travis on Wednesday.

Therese headshotAbout Therese M. Travis:

Therese Travis has been writing since she found out that her beloved books were written by real people—about the age of eight. Since then, she’s always had a story going on in her head, and sometimes forgets reality. She loves going to church, volunteering there, spending time with her family, crafting with friends, and reading.

A Fistful of God is available at Pelican Book Group and Amazon.com and other fine book retailers.

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

 

Author Interview of Dianne E. Butts, Grandparenting Through Obstacles

 

Dianne E  Butts 1 - compressed for _webOnce again, I am happy to say that Dianne E. Butts is here with us to share information with us about the book she has co-authored with Renee Gray-Wilburn entitled Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ. 

Dianne’s book, Deliver Me, won a Nonfiction “Book of the Year”  from Christian Small Publishers Association in 2012 and her third book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles (coauthored), won a Nonfiction “Book of the Year” from CSPA in 2013.

An aspiring screenwriter, Dianne was a semifinalist in the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays in January 2013. A short script, inspired by a true story in Deliver Me, was a finalist in the 168 Film Project’s “Write of Passage” competition in 2010. She wrote, directed, and co-produced a short film, “The Choice” for the 168 Film Project in 2012, a script also inspired by a true story in Deliver Me.

Dianne is a member of Advance Writers and Speakers Association.

How did this book come about when neither you nor your coauthor is a grandparent?

My friend Renee Gray-Wilburn called and asked me if I wanted to co-author a book with her about grandparenting. My first question to her was, you realize, don’t you, that neither one of us is a grandparent. She laughed. Of course she realized that. But Renee saw a real need among her friends, many of whom are grandparents, some of whom are raising their grandkids. As she mingled with and visited with these grandparents at various school events where her own kids were participating, Renee saw the need for a resource for Christian grandparents and the issues they deal with. After some research, Renee learned there really wasn’t much of a resource out there for Christian grandparents who are struggling to influence their grandkids’ lives and share their Christian faith with them. This need was the seed of the idea.

GTO-FRONT smaller - compressed for _webWhen Renee called me, I was excited about doing this book because, even though I don’t have kids and so obviously don’t have grandkids, as a writer I have the privilege and ministry of helping other people share their stories. Everyone has a story. And every person’s story is valuable, riddled with good information, and can help someone else with guidance, advice, ideas, or encouragement. So together, Renee and I were off and running with this idea.

Dianne, it seems to me that both you and Renee are proof that God sometimes doesn’t use the obvious person for the job. He works with those who are willing to get the job done. What issues came to you while you were working on the book?

I had an idea of some of the issues grandparents deal with because I have enough friends who are grandparents to know some of what’s happening in their lives. And I hear some about what grandparents struggle with from grandparents at church. What I didn’t know was how many grandparents are facing really big challenges and the depth of those challenges.

Many grandparents are not only dealing with the challenge of living a long distance from their grandkids, some of them are literally on the other side of the world! We have stories from grandparents in the United States whose grandkids are in the United Kingdom. Another’s are in the Philippines. And we have a story of grandkids who are here in the United States but the grandparents are missionaries in Boliva! Influencing or impacting children can be a real challenge across such distance.

Another issue that came home to me is the challenge many grandparents face when their own children, the grandkids’ parents, are not walking with God. In some cases the parents were not raised in a Christian home. In other cases they were but have walked away from that faith and now are quite adamant that the grandparents do not tell their children about Jesus. That’s in direct conflict with our Lord’s admonition to tell the children about Him. What’s a grandparent to do? (Here’s a hint: Prayer can cover any distance and find a way through any obstacle.) And we have stories in the book that showcase beautiful answers to prayer in those dilemmas.

We also have stories of grandparents who are dealing with their grandkid’s parents being divorced, suffering mental illnesses, addictions, and being incarcerated. But in every story in the book (and there are twenty), these faithful grandparents have found a way to build a relationship with their grandkids and influence them with their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

GRAND award CompressedWhat are some of the more creative ideas your contributors found?

I can’t believe that some grandparents have created an entire Christian camp experience just for their own grandkids! They schedule a week or more during summer vacation, invite their grandkids to their home, and design all the activities, crafts, Bible study, and more. Another grandma did a one-on-one retreat with her wayward granddaughter which bore fruit many years later.

Others have taken their grandkids on a “Christian” vacation to destinations like the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, or The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida.

Long-distance grandparents often make use of newer technologies like Skype and Facebook to stay in touch. One was even planning to create a blog with her grandkids to stay in touch and build a ministry together long-distance.

What’s included in the book?

Every chapter is built around one true story. Following the story readers will find thoughtful questions based on the story to apply the truths to their own life situations. There are “Steps to Take” and “Scriptures to Study.” Every chapter has a “Grandparents in the Bible” section. Each chapter ends with a suggested prayer and room for the reader’s own prayers, notes, and ideas. There are also helpful resources throughout the book.

This book will benefit grandparents in all kinds of situations. It is great for individual reading, of course, but is also a great opportunity for group study or discussion, women’s or couple’s ministries, or maybe even a nonfiction book club.

And if you’re thinking this book is for the “old” people in the church, think again! Another thing I learned writing this book is that the average age of a first-time grandparent in the United States is only 48 years old! There are currently close to 70 million grandparents in America and 1.7 million new grandparents are added every year. (Source: “Surprising Facts About Grandparents”.) There’s definitely a need for this book and for churches and Christian groups to address issues grandparents are facing to help them find ways to affect their grandchildren for Christ, no matter what obstacles may be standing in their way.

I was a grandmother at forty-eight, so I know firsthand some of the needs of those who are facing obstacles in their grandparenting. Where can readers find the book?

Anyone can ask their favorite bookstore to order Grandparenting Through Obstacles. The book is also available online through Barnes & Noble and Nook, Amazon and Kindle, and most other online retailers.

You can find us on Twitter @GParentObstacles and Like this book’s page on Facebook.

You can also find me on Twitter @DianneEButts and @BAboutWriting. You can Like my Facebook Author Page here. And I’m on Goodreads too.

CSPBOTYA_oval_logo CompressedI know the answer to this, but I’m sure our readers will want to know. What else have you written?

I’ve written two books in my Prophecies Fulfilled series and am writing the third. My first book was Dear America and my second book is Deliver Me.

I’ve also contributed a chapter to a new Christmas fiction story, a compiled novel that will be an e-book from the writers at Pix-N-Pens Publishers and Write Integrity Press. This novel, A Ruby Christmas, debuts this Christmas. Watch www.WriteIntegrity.com/ the first of December for free chapters and more information.

I’ve also written more than 300 published print articles, numerous online articles, have contributed to 19 books including Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Connect with Dianne on:

www.DianneEButts.com

www.ButtsAboutWriting.blogspot.com

www.DeliverMeBook.com and www.DeliverMeBook.blogspot.com