Author Interview: Jerusha Agen, Author of This Dance
Today’s guest on Inner Source is Jerusha Agen, author of This Dance, the first novel in her Sisters Redeemed series published by Write Integrity Press. Jerusha is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her fiction and nonfiction have been published in various journals, magazines, and newsletters.
In addition, she is a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. Jerusha is also a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com.
Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and one little, furry cat.
Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com. Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).
Jerusha, please tell us about your novel. Where does it take place? Who are your main characters? What trouble do they get into?
This Dance takes place in the fictional locale of Harper, Pennsylvania. Set in the dead of winter, the story takes readers to the cold world of Nye Sanders, a former tango dancer whose rise to the top was destroyed when God took her reason for living. Three years later, Nye has a new career at a private equity firm and a nonexistent social calendar. It may be dull, but it’s exactly what Nye wants—passionless, controllable, pain-free living.
The trouble starts when Nye meets a charming lawyer who threatens to break through her carefully constructed emotional defenses. As if that isn’t enough, this same attorney uncovers secrets that may make Nye lose everything she’s fought to build in her new life.
Then there’s the annoyingly perceptive, grandfatherly landowner who’s bogging up a land deal Nye is supposed to handle. Nye is strong, but when her nightmares return and a ghost from the past brings her grief out of hiding, she might lose control. If she does, she won’t be able to go on.
The fellows Nye meets have troubles and stories of their own, too. The lawyer, Cullen Chandler, is stuck in a never-ending scramble to succeed in his career. He finds himself sacrificing the relationships he holds dear on the altar of corporate success. When Nye enters Cullen’s life, she’s a distraction he thinks he doesn’t need, but he can’t get her out of his mind.
As for the landowner, he’s an unexpectedly shrewd man who has what it takes to send the young folks in the right direction—straight for the joy, hope, and love of God.
What issues does Nye face that will speak to the heart of your readers?
Where do I start? Nye’s story hits on a lot of pertinent issues that I think most of us have to deal with in our lives. On the basic level, there are the issues of grief and loss, as well as fear of experiencing more loss in the future. While Nye likes to think she has control over her life, she’s really being controlled by her repressed grief and fear of being hurt again.
Then there’s the issue of joy. Nye has lost whatever enjoyment she once had in life. Her fear of pain keeps her from seeking anything that might bring her joy, while her sorrow prevents her from believing there could be anything that would bring her happiness ever again.
I hope that readers who are struggling with a painful loss, who know the fear of being hurt, or who have lost the sense of joy in their lives will find hope in reading Nye’s story.
God handled the matter of grief with me through my writing several years back, so I connected easily with Nye’s struggles. Have you ever faced this issue in your life or did you deal with the issue while you were writing the story? In other words, did you write your story to share how you overcame the issue, or did God call you to write the story because He knew you needed to face the issue?
Like most people, I’ve had my share of grief and loss. The sneaky thing about those types of trials is that they can come in all forms—any loss, not just death of a loved one, can send a person into a cycle of grief. I’ve been blessed by some tremendous teaching by ministers and writers on the subject of suffering, most significantly through teaching on the Book of Job. This Bible book has taught me so much on the subject of suffering—how to deal with it and what God has to do with our suffering. Writing This Dance was a chance to communicate through a story some of the awesome comfort that Scripture has for us on the issues of loss and suffering.
Your words are a blessing to me, because, yes, grief can come not only from death but from other trials as well. What Biblical concept did the Lord bring to the table with your writing? Would you mind explaining how God has spoken to your heart about the issue?
Grief and loss aren’t the only issues in This Dance that the Lord knows I need to look into again and again. At the root of the problems Nye and Cullen face is also an often overlooked form of idolatry. No, they don’t worship funny golden statues, but they do love things like career success, the arts, and even a special relationship so much that they’ll sacrifice everything for them. Loving good things like these too much is such an easy trap to fall into. I need the reminder of the experiences Nye and Cullen have to check for the idols in my own life and be sure I’m not replacing God with what He’s given me.
Such good stuff. I’m one who sometimes allows my career to shove out my worship and my walk with the Lord. What advice based upon scripture would you give a reader who is dealing with the issues that are front and center in your current release?
Remember that God is in control and that He’s a loving God, who will work out ALL things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). You can try to control your life like Nye does and try to avoid things that might cause you pain. It might seem to work for a while, but, sooner or later, you’ll realize that you can’t control anything.
That might sound scary, but it isn’t when you know the God who is in control, when you know that He’s good, that He loves you and has the wisdom to see the big picture that you can’t see (Jeremiah 29:11). As much as whatever you are going through may hurt right now, cling to the truth that God is there and that, in the very end, everything, no matter how awful it seems now, will be turned into victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).
You brought forth some of my favorite verses. I write—always—with Romans 8:28 in mind, because God is always in the details of our lives.
Jerusha, thank you so much for visiting, and I look forward to meeting your character, Nye, on Wednesday.
No love, no pain. No God, no games.
A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.
Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?
You can order This Dance at Amazon.com.