Welcome, Lee Carver. I’m glad you’ve tackled a common theme in our society. Rare is the family without a divorce somewhere among the generations. Your heroine and hero drew me in precisely because one was a widower, and one almost divorced.
Like your recent release, Gail, I tackled the issue of a troubled marriage in “Retreat to Shelter Creek.” Using humor in every way possible to lighten the serious subject, I employed the family guard-pig Beulah, a skunk in the garage, and lots of down-home Texas dialogue.
I’ve felt the need to write about divorce between Christians since our daughter put the kids in the car and drove away from her fifteen-year marriage. She’d said her vows with the highest expectations and did everything possible to make the marriage work.
Two of our nieces, both darling and beautiful Christians, married men who cast them aside. Both tried marriage again quite a few years later, and both were in danger of being murdered by their second husbands. Christian young women may have been reared in such safe environments that they are unaware of how faulted their chosen ones are. They expect a happy marriage like those of their parents—safe, loving, and supportive both emotionally and financially.
My female main character, Ashley, sees an opportunity for an honorable separation from her husband and his pregnant lover by going to her grandmother’s house in Texas. Mama Lou is receiving chemo for breast cancer, and Ashley will help her for the summer. I had already written the first chapters when our daughter, living in a distant state, was given the same diagnosis. I left Texas for six weeks to help with her care, and returned with a realistic understanding of what that requires.
More on the light side, Ashley is a high school teacher of biology. When she extends her stay with Mama Lou, she agrees under duress to teach first grade at the local school. Teachers everywhere will laugh at her experiences with the little ones.
This story will leave you smiling. There’s even an elder romance subplot, and readers will find spiritual inspiration woven throughout.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
Ashley went into the shed and got a handful of feed just for the fun of giving it to her. Caught off guard by a rustle in the dark, she froze. Was a person hiding in there? A rattlesnake? Her pulse pounded in her neck. As her eyes adjusted, she spied something bright white moving a few feet away. A bright white stripe. Bordered by blackest black.
Don’t run. Be calm.
The plump, shiny animal waddled toward the back of the shed, giving her courage to slip silently out the door and push it closed.
Leaning against the door, weak-legged and sweating, she thanked God the skunk hadn’t sprayed her.
She had no idea what to do next. In her normal world, there had always been a man she could ask for help. The image of the strong, manly Texas roofer came to mind. His phone number printed on the receipt left in the kitchen beckoned to her. He knew about local animals.
Maybe she would call Austin.
Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement, a hybrid author in every sense: fiction and nonfiction, traditionally and independently published. She also does freelance editing, formatting, and uploads. Married forty-eight years to a very tolerant man, they have two children and five grandchildren who live entirely too far away.
Lee, thanks SO much for your transparency. No doubt, this novel will encourage many readers who share “not-so-perfect” marriages in their families. Bless you!
Wonderful post that I really enjoyed. I have just gotten the book, and I am really looking forward to reading it.
Have fun w/the guard-pig, Ann!
Hi, Ann. This book was turned down by several publishers who didn’t want to handle a story of infidelity and divorce among Christians. This is so prevalent in “good families” that I felt we Christian authors *should* be writing about it. I do hope you enjoy the novel. It isn’t all heavy.