Monday, April 26, 2010
I discovered Francine Rivers last summer during an extended stay at our lake place last summer. I began with Redeeming Love and didn't stop reading until the Book Store was sold out!
It is my joy and honor to bring this interview to you after consuming Francine's newest book, Her Mother's Hope, in a two day reading! She had me at "Marta usually loved Sundays."
Can you tell us something about your Christian testimony?
I was reared in a Christian home. My parents were active in church, my father an elder, my mother a deaconess. I attended Christian summer camps, youth group and said grace at every meal. I thought being born into a Christian family and raised in the faith made me a Christian. It didn’t. Each person makes their own choice, and it took me years to surrender to Jesus – not until after I’d gone through college, married, had children and started a writing career. Rick and I went to church, but came away dissatisfied and knowing there must be something more. We both had personal issues that brought us close to divorce several times. We wanted our own way and to have control over our own lives. Having control is an illusion. As a child, I’d asked Jesus to be my Savior. What I didn’t understand is I needed to surrender my life to Him and allow Him to be LORD of my life as well.
Our marriage was on the verge of collapse when Rick started his own business. We moved to northern California to be closer to family. We made many outer changes, but no change of the heart. As we moved into our rental house, a little boy came over to help and said, “Have I got a church for you!” We weren’t ready to listen. The lady on the other side of our fence also invited us to the same church. Out of desperation, I went a few weeks later. It was my first experience with “expository teaching.” The pastor taught straight out of the Bible, explaining the historical context, what the scriptures were saying, and what they had to do with me in the present. I drank it in! I took my three children to church. They loved it. Rick resisted (after having a somewhat disheartening experience with a denominational church in Southern California). I asked the pastor if he would be willing to teach a home Bible study. He agreed -- if Rick agreed, which he did. Studying the Bible changed our lives. Our hearts and minds opened to Christ. We both accepted Jesus as Savior and LORD and were baptized in May 1986. Since then, God has been changing our lives from the inside out. The Lord also healed our marriage. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this year.
Where do you get your ideas for your plots?
Almost every story I have written since becoming a Christian has come from a question that regards a struggle in my own faith walk. The plot centers around the different ways that question can be answered by “the world” – but the quest is to find God’s answer. Here is a list of my novels with the questions that started each story:
* A Voice in the Wind: How do I share my faith with unsaved family members and friends who have no desire to read the Bible or hear me talk about my faith?
* An Echo in the Darkness: How many times are we called upon to forgive people who hurt us deliberately -- and (in many countries) would like to see us dead?
* As Sure As the Dawn: How do you deal with anger – especially when there is “good” cause? What is “righteous anger” and how does it look?
* The Scarlet Thread: What does “sovereignty” mean in man’s relationship with God? If He is in control of everything, what does that say about the bad things that happen to people?
* The Atonement Child: Is there complete forgiveness and restoration for a woman who has aborted her child? Does abortion have any effect on the woman and the man involved in the crisis pregnancy? Does it impact people around them? (This was my most painful and personal book because I needed to face and deal with my own abortion experience. The character of Hannah is based on my story; Evie is based on my mother’s.)
* The Last Sin Eater: What is the difference between guilt and conviction? This book came out of The Atonement Child. What I learned: guilt kept me imprisoned for years. Conviction sent me to my knees before the Lord where I received forgiveness and experienced His love and grace.
* Leota’s Garden: Are abortion and euthanasia connected? Is euthanasia merciful or an act of murder? This novel also came out of my work on The Atonement Child. While studying the abortion issue from all sides, I realized the arguments for abortion are exactly the same as those for euthanasia. While going through a post-abortion class with other women (one a nurse), I learned that the elderly are already at risk. One scene in the book continues to shock people. I wrote it for that purpose. I want people to understand life is precious. The movement toward legalizing euthanasia continues to gain momentum (and has less to do with “mercy” than saving money for care).
* And the Shofar Blew: What is a church? How do you build it? During my travels around the country and speaking at various churches, I saw many struggling through building projects and massive programs to draw more parishioners. Size of building and number of people in the pews seemed to define success or failure. Like a government out of control, the “church” (in many cases) has forgotten its foundation and purpose. Christ is the cornerstone. Believers meet together to study the Word of God, worship Him and encourage one another – and keep their doors and hearts open to those seeking God. Unfortunately, too many congregations have left their first love (Jesus Christ) and turned to idolatry (placing a building/drawing a crowd/being “politically correct” above a relationship with the Lord).
* Her Mother’s Hope / Her Daughter’s Dream: What caused the rift between my grandmother and mother? When my grandmother had a stroke, my mother raced from Oregon to the Central Valley of California to be with her. Grandma died before she arrived. My mother was heart-broken and said, “I think she willed herself to die just so we wouldn’t have to talk things out.” I have wondered since: What causes people (even Christians) to hold grudges? What might have brought resolution and restoration to these two women? Could my grandmother have loved my mother without my mother understanding it? The two books have many personal, family details woven in and I will be sharing this information in my blog.
Are any of your novels going to be made into movies?
The Last Sin Eater was produced and directed by Michael Landon, Jr. and Brian Bird (They did an outstanding job.) The movie was released in theaters in 2007 and is now available on DVD. You can see the trailer on IMDB.com. Rick and I were invited to visit the set during filming in the mountains north of Salt Lake City. We had a great time and there are pictures of our trip in the movie-edition of the novel.
A film based on Redeeming Love is currently in development with Abba Productions/ Christy Lee Taylor. She has partnered with producer Ralph Winter and they are trying to pull together funding to get the project off the ground.
Tell us about your current work.
I have just completed the second in a set of two books about mother-daughter relationship over four generations. This was intended to be one long novel dealing with the different ways generations have lived out their faith – but became so long it needed to be divided. Her Mother’s Hope will be released March 16, 2010. Her Daughter’s Dream will follow in September. There are numerous family and personal details woven into both books and I plan to share those things on my blog.
Tell us about your family life?
Rick and I met in the fifth grade. We were good friends through school, and graduated together in 1965. I went away to college and he joined the Marine Corps. When the hometown newspaper carried the story of my brother’s capture in Hue during the Tet Offensive, Rick wrote to me from Vietnam and we began to correspond. We married a year after he returned from Vietnam (1969). We have three children and five grandchildren. (Note: My brother was seriously wounded, escaped from his captors when the Marines entered Hue, and is alive, well, happily married with two grown children and living the blissful retired life in the woods of Northern California.)
Don't wait one more day before you pick up Her Mother's Hope--or ANY of Francine River's books. You will be entertained, enriched, and ready to read her next books!
PLEASE NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to the me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services for more information about blog tour management services.
First chapter excerpt at: http://rivers.authorsontheweb.com/books/84/excerpt
Book trailer video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-EgopBa4IY&feature=player_embedded
Book description: http://francinerivers.com/articles/her-mothers-hope-now-available
Posted by Diane Viere at 1:47 PM