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Interview with Gay N. Lewis, Author of Mattie’s Choice

Today’s guest on Inner Source is Gay N. Lewis, the author of Mattie’s Choice. A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choiceand Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio. For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/ Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog. http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com. Also catch Gay at https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis and www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

Gay, I’m so glad that I have this opportunity to interview you. Mattie’s Choice is an historical novel which deals with a difficult issue, one that has troubled Christians and even divides Christians. I believe that the story is a true example and an outreach for women in a similar situation as Mattie.

First of all, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Would you share the issue you deal with in Mattie’s Choice and tell us why you wrote it?

With my newest book, Mattie’s Choice, I’ve departed from my sweet, whimsical, fantasy genre about a dyslexic angel. Oh, Sarah is still up to her bumbles and antics, but I’ve put her in time out for a while.

Mattie’s Choice is a Christian women’s fiction book about two women married to abusive brothers. This story was inspired by my mother-in-law and an aunt by marriage. The book is not biographical, but many of the events in this book actually happened to these women.

Here’s an example. One of Paul’s (hubby) older brothers had to be hospitalized many times. Paul’s dad wouldn’t let his mother be with a five-year-old during multiple surgeries. Hard to believe, right? Most of us ladies today would say, “No way, buster. Out of my way.” On the other hand, too many women live with a controlling man and are forced to do as they say. Choices are not easy in these circumstances.

My father-in-law wasn’t physically abusive but emotionally cruel. Paul’s mom wasn’t allowed to visit her twin brother or any family members. She couldn’t go to her dad’s funeral. My mom-in-law was a strong woman who managed to live with this claustrophobic existence and reared eleven children. All of whom are emotionally healthy—none took after their dad’s controlling ways. They are successful and respectable citizens.

I’ve met women who live with abusive husbands. I’d hoped this book would give them courage to face up to the danger and find alternative ways to deal with it. I believe we often see ourselves by looking at others. One woman I know was actually awakened from a deep sleep when her husband pulled her from her bed by her hair. Another one was forced to sit up all night and read Scripture. Women shouldn’t feel threatened. Scripture tells husbands to love the wife as Christ loved the church. I hope men will read this book, too, and understand how a woman feels. If he is controlling, I hope he sees the need to change. If a woman is in an unhealthy situation, I hope she’ll get help. It’s out there these days.

The title of the novel strikes me every time I hear it. Mattie, like everyone, has choices to make in her life, and the choice she makes reveals her courage and her faith in keeping with her promises, although those promises come at a great cost to her. Your novel actually has two choices. Mattie’s sister-in-law’s way of dealing with the problem is much different and more quickly remedied than Mattie’s. I’m going to step aside, and I’d love for you to provide your thoughts on the choices set before your main character and your secondary character.

Thanks for asking that question. The original title of the book was Choices. The story is about the choices all the characters made. Mattie eloped and chose to keep her promises. Jesse, the husband, chose to control his wife’s thoughts and actions. Mattie’s father chose to decline help. Maury, Mattie’s brother, chose to support from afar. Society chose to ignore a woman’s circumstances. Joe, Ella’s husband, chose alcohol. Ella chose to stand up to her man. Pelican Book Group, my publisher, already had a book titled Choices. My title had to be changed, and I chose Mattie’s Choice since she is the central character.

What would you tell someone who is embroiled in a situation such as the one that Mattie faces?

Get help. Leave. Protect yourself and your children. Secret shelters exist today where abusive men can’t find you. The best possible scenario is to avoid a marriage with a controlling or abusive man. Find out about him. Hire a detective if necessary. What are his parents like? How does he treat others?  If investigation pulls up nothing alarming, and a fearful situation emerges, get out as quickly as possible. God wants a wife protected, loved and cherished. Not fearful for her life.

Mattie’s family loved her, but they made some tough choices themselves. I think about what I would do if someone I loved was in a relationship like Mattie’s. What do you think a family should do when someone they loved is being harmed by the one person who should love and protect them?

We had this situation with a daughter. We were on vacation when we learned that our son-in-law had taken all monies from a joint account. Our daughter had written checks for bills and they were destined to bounce. We quickly put money into her account, and then my husband called the father of our son-in-law. He was a reasonable man. These two older men spoke about the situation and agreed our daughter and his son needed to end the marriage. The couple agreed. They separated and locks were changed. The son-in-law broke into the house. Our daughter called us and the police. We got there before the officer did. The officer said he couldn’t make the husband leave. The law was on his side because his driver’s license had the address on it. This guy came from a lovely home, and he had parents we liked and respected. In divorce court, we learned the son-in-law had a history of abusing women. He’d kept it a secret even from his parents. Why? I have no idea, but if an investigation had taken place before marriage, that detail would have emerged. As parents, we were active in supporting our daughter and protecting her.

Thank you for sharing your heart. I know that it takes a lot to share family troubles, but your words could help someone who is going through something similar.

Will you let our readers know what you’re working on now and what is in store for them in the future from the pen of Gay N. Lewis?

I have two Sarah books ready for publication to add to the existing series. My dyslexic angel comes to earth to help humans and she bungles each mission. God gave Sarah empathy for humans. Jesus was the only Divine/Man on earth, but Sarah is given a few earthly traits while she visits us. That’s how she relates to us and our doubts, baubles, and bumbles.

I also have a sequel to Mattie’s Choice. It’s going by the title, Rebecca’s Family Secrets. Mattie’s daughter, Rebecca, is the star in this book. It’s pure romance with a great deal of suspense. It’s also historical. There’s no domestic violence in this one. Just pure fun.

Thanks for having me. You asked me soul-searching questions, and I enjoyed answering them.

Thank you, Gay. I don’t believe I said this to you through our work on this story, but I have, from the start, admired your heart and your tenacity for making sure that those who are suffering from spousal abuse know that there is hope for them.

More About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

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