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- What inspired my latest story.
ENGAGED is a book that I never had in mind. When I was with a traditional publisher, I was asked if I had a series in mind. I was ready with book 1. Book 2 was something I felt comfortable pitching as an idea. I had no idea what to do with a third book. As I thought about the characters, it was the “bad girl” from ENTTRUSTED, Trish Maxwell, that I knew had more to say. She grew up in Speculator Falls but resented the rural upbringing. Once she left for her dream job in New York City, she hurt a lot of people back home. The job didn’t work out, and ENGAGED is all about Trish making amends while trying to figure out her future. I enjoyed writing Trish’s story because I’ve met a lot of people that had dreams that didn’t come to pass the way they thought they would. They had to surrender to God’s plans and realize that they were actually better than their dreams.
- What advice would I give my younger self?
I was an angry person obsessed with what people thought of me. I was terrified of rejection. It was emotionally paralyzing. I would tell myself that true freedom comes from surrender in Christ. Don’t be afraid of that. Pursue Him with everything, and although life won’t be perfect, you will have such peace, even in rejection.
- As a ninety year old, what advice would I give my present self?
I think I’d have to say stop striving. I am chasing “balance” so hard that I am often discouraged. Pursue Christ, enjoy family, then write. It will all come together. You don’t get time back with family. Don’t worry what the house looks like, even if the neighbor gives looks. We aren’t promised tomorrow. Enjoy today.
- What’s the best part of writing?
I love hearing from readers. The last couple summers I’ve set time apart to lead a book club in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. They talk about the characters with such passion it is surreal. They’ve found threads in the chapters I never intended, but God knew. It has been amazing. I never want to get too busy that I can’t connect with readers. I consider myself a reader first, and I love talking about writing and reading.
- Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I am a classic introvert often in extrovert situations. I do a lot of mentoring, speaking, and some teaching. I have enough grace to last for that moment, and then I am drained. If I speak with a lot of women, even online privately about situations that leads me to deep prayer, it takes awhile for me to recharge. Invites to parties and social events are not pleasant for me. God is extending my comfort zone, but I am an introvert!
Trish Maxwell isn’t the same person she used to be thanks to losing her dream job in New York City with no prospects in her field. She’s forced back to the mountain life she grew up resenting and given a pity job at the department store her mom owns. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s not the princess she used to be.
As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans.
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. The last book in the series, ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future, is coming in June. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, and also is a blogger for Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.