Tis the season to have at least a little leisure. For many of us that means some time is allowed to read a book, or seven eight or nine! If you are like me, you love books, love a good story, and can't wait to see how the conflict is resolved or the mystery is solved.
In the interest of getting the word out on good books, and feeling like it is an honor to be able to help out people who have actually been successful at doing what I desire to do. People who have seen through their dream of writing a book (or several or even many) and endured rejection over and over until they were accepted! Now they have been published and have a new book on the market for release. From time to time I will be posting reviews of books because I love to share good news, and one day, someone might just do this for me! Here are my thoughts on the first!
"Along Came a Cowboy" written by Christine Lynxwiler, is an engaging and fun story that allows the reader to experience a period in the main character's life which we all go through, maybe not in 300 pages. But if we long for a healthy life in Christ, we ALL will experience making peace with our past. Facing the fears of admitting our most secret failures, things we may feel make us unqualified for future fulfilment. Lynxwiler does a great job at allowing us to see what some of the mental and emotional processes look like through the fictious story. I love when I can benefit from a lighthearted, happily ever after story, by the Biblical principals woven through like gossamer silk strands. That's what this book offers.
The setting is a small town in Arkansa. The heorine is a Dr Rachael Donovan, Chiropractor. The conflict is her 15 year old niece has come to spend the summer with her. She adores her niece. But it turns out that her niece, might just not be her niece after all, she might be her....well, you'll just have to read it and find out! Also, of COURSE there MUST be a cowboy, right? "Along Came a Cowboy", remember? Well, this cowboy - he looks like, and acts like everything she is attracted to, but reluctant to allow herself to experience. In the process of working through her emotional freeze point, she has the opportunity to resolve all the relationships that were locked away in her heart when she was 17 years old. To help her out are her possee of girlfriends, the Pinky Promise Sisterhood. Together they hold each other up, have good times, and remember to pray for each other through the difficulties life brings them.
I recommend this book to anyone who (like me) enjoys Hallmark movies, comedy-romance movies, and doesn't want to be ashamed for their teenage daughter or niece to read it, also! Good read!
Interview with the author, Christine Lynxwiler.
Q. In "Along Came A Cowboy", the lead character struggles with forgiving herself for a past sin that has had a major impact on her life. Why do you think it is easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves or even to accept forgiveness.
A. I don’t know the answer to that, but I have a few ideas. First, I think we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others. Or we might feel, like Rachel did, that if we beat ourselves up enough about the past, then we’ll feel worthy of forgiveness. Also, it’s much easier to give than it is to receive. Same goes with forgiveness. Maybe because our pride isn’t battered by forgiving someone, but being forgiven implies owning up to sin and recognizing that we can’t fix our mistake on our own.
Q. What would your advice be to someone who is struggling to come to terms with a past indiscretion?
A. Obviously, if you’re a Christian, I’d advise giving the past to God and once you’ve repented and asked His forgiveness, forgive yourself, forget it and move on. But that’s a little simplistic for most of us. I think many of us tend to do what Rachel does in Along Came a Cowboy and magnify our own sins. What seems like an unfortunate little stumble on someone else’s path can appear to be a plunge to certain death on our own life’s road. So consider how you’d feel about a friend or loved one if they’d done exactly what you did. If the answer is, “I’d forgive them” then forgive yourself. You deserve no less kindness and mercy from yourself than anyone else does. If that doesn’t work for you and you have children, ask yourself how you would feel if your child did this thing. Would you still love them? If they turned from this sin, would you forgive them? If the answer is yes, then your Heavenly Father still loves you and forgives you too, so it’s time to let it go and forgive yourself. If the answer is no, then maybe your current sin is an inability to forgive others and that’s a whole ‘nother problem.
Q. When you’re writing, what do you use as your inspiration?
A. Inspiration and ideas come from everywhere. But as I said in an interview recently, I’m an Arkansas country girl, born and raised on a farm, and currently living in the most beautiful small town (in my opinion anyway) in the Ozarks. So these are the places and people that inspire me to write. My books are almost all set in small town Arkansas. My characters are rarely ever patterned after one specific person. Instead each one is a conglomeration of people I meet and interact with every day. I get inspired when I ask “What if?” That’s the neverending question and asking it usually will bring more stories than one person can write in a lifetime.
Q. What do you enjoy most about writing Christian fiction?
A. One thing that I used to complain about that I’ve now come to enjoy is the fact that all my books have a common theme—God is in control. Sometimes it’s the main theme, sometimes it’s just an underlying thread. Each story line is very different from the last one, but the theme is always there. As this theme emerges in a new story, it brings me joy and sometimes even laughter because I know that this is a lesson God is patiently teaching me. I told someone recently that around book seven I began to look for a new theme. “I’m going to get boring,” I wailed. But apparently, even now on book fourteen, I haven’t quite mastered this “God is in control” concept, because inevitably by the end of the book, my character is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is not in the driver’s seat of her own life. Now when I start a story, I look forward to seeing how this particular theme is going to show up.
On a more serious note, I enjoy knowing that the stories God allows me to write not only entertain, (which is why I wanted to be a writer) but that they also touch readers’ lives in a deeper way than I could ever imagine or take credit for. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Q. As an award-winning Christian romance writer, do you have any advice for novice or aspiring writers?.
A. Never give up. And once you’ve decided that you’re not quitting, join American Christian Fiction Writers. The annual fee of $50 will be the best money you ever spend on your writing career. And don’t just pay the dues and not get your money’s worth. Join a critique group. Get to know other writers. Dedicate yourself to learning the craft. And never quit learning. Being published isn’t the end of the journey. It’s only one step along the way to being the best writer you can possibly be. Settle in for a long, bumpy, exhilarating ride!