So Jennifer, tell us a bit about yourself.Now that's a scary invitation. ;) I'm often goofy, sometimes moody, and always and forever deeply in love with Jesus. Having been married to a railroader for the past 19 years, I've moved a fair amount but have finally landed and put down roots in the blizzardy-tornadoey-sweltering-hot midwest. (A place I love, despite what my non-flattering description implies.) I have a sixteen-year-old daughter who fills our home with laughter and has one more year before she launches off to college. I have a fierce addiction to flavored coffee and frozen yogurt, and when I'm not writing or hanging out with my family, I'm buried deep in a book of almost any genre.
A railroader? I'm sure there's a story in that. :) Speaking of stories...Congratulations on your newest release! What is Beyond I Do about?
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Where did you get the inspiration for your story?Much of this story came from the very depths of my heart. :) It centers on homelessness, striving to show the impoverished and homeless from a Christ-like perspective. I chose to do this because I went through a period of homelessness during my teen years, and years later as an adult and suburban housewife who successful hid her past, I often encountered some harsh statements from other Christians. Statements like: "If you give [the homeless] money, they're just going to drink." and "They choose to live on the streets." Or, "They did this to themselves."
Whenever those statements were made, they cut deep, and honestly, shocked me. I couldn't understand how one could proclaim the love of Christ, have the love of Christ dwelling within them, yet look with such disdain upon a human created by God's own hands. The more I thought and prayed about this, I came to realize this came from ignorance. Unless people had been there or encountered someone who had, they had no frame of reference from which to draw. I wanted to help them gain a different, hopefully more accurate, view of this broken and desperate population.
But now that the book has launched, I've come to see God had an even deeper role for this book and me. I've prayed on numerous occasions, "Why, Lord, did you choose to take a hopeless, homeless teen, set her in American suburbia, and give her a voice? Of all the people you could have created to write this book, why me?" The answer came very clearly: "So people would say no one, absolutely no one, is beyond my grace and transforming power."
That sounds like such a powerful story. I find it amazing how God uses our uniqueness in such special ways to glorify Him, and that is what it's all about.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?Oh, that's hard! There's one seen I find incredibly romantic, and that's where the heroine and her guy friend spend an evening at Kansas City's Plaza during the holidays. If you've never been to the plaza during Christmas time, I have to say, it's a must. The entire area is lit up, from trees to every storefront, and couples ride on horse drawn carriages--also lit up.
Ooo, that sounds beautiful. I'll have to put that on my bucket list of places to visit. :) What do you plan to work on next?I've just finished plotting a third book to follow this one and am really hoping my publisher will contract it along with the second book in this series, Freedom to Love. I've been told I should be receiving substantive edits shortly on my second release, When Dawn Breaks, another missional romance scheduled to come out in 2015. I'm also researching a drama for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that shares the gospel with 32 countries via radio waves. When I'm done with that, I plan to plot two books to follow When Dawn Breaks.
Wow, you are the busy bee. :) Where can readers connect with you? Where can readers buy your book?Folks can connect with me at my personal website, http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte. As to where they can get the book--the normal online outlets like Christianbook.com, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and their local bookstore. (If their favorite bookstore doesn't carry it, they can always have the store staff order it.)
Last but not least, apart from writing, what is your favorite creative outlet?
Most definitely a keeper. :) Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Jennifer.
Thank you so much for having me, Crystal! I'd love to hear from your readers. In the novel, I included a scene set in one of the most romantic locations in Kansas City (in my opinion). Where was the most romantic location you've ever gone to?
(Remember y'all, commenters are entered in today's drawing, plus this month's grand-prize giveaway.)