Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Author Interview with Lindsay Harrel about "The Joy of Falling" (book)!

Dear Blog Reader Friends,

Today, you're in for a special treat!

My author friend Lindsay Harrel is here to talk about her new novel, The Joy of Falling. See the book cover above. Isn't it gorgeous?

Now here's what's in it for you (besides getting to know an awesome author): Lindsay is going to giveaway ONE signed paperback copy of her book to the winner of the book giveaway contest (enter via the Rafflecopter widget toward the end of this blog post)! This book giveaway contest is for U.S. residents only because shipping books internationally is expensive.

I hope that you will enjoy getting to know Lindsay and learning about her book baby, The Joy of Falling!

God bless you.


Interview with Lindsay Harrel about her book, The Joy of Falling:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Lindsay: I wrote this book for the same reason I write in general—I want to bring hope to people. Grief is such a difficult topic, and everyone experiences it and reacts differently to it. But regardless of our different experiences, I believe that hope can always be found, and that’s what I wanted to illuminate in The Joy of Falling.

Alexis: What was your inspiration for this story?

Lindsay: Grief is a topic that is deeply personal to me, since I lost my mom at the age of 19. But I recognize that my own journey is not the same one others have taken, and that led me to write a book about the different ways that people handle grief. That got me thinking about how two people might react to the same incident in various ways—one too busy to deal with it at all, another consumed by it so completely she can’t move forward.

Alexis: How did you research the international locations described in this book?

Lindsay: I mostly used the Internet, including various blogs, tourism websites, etc. Because this book features an ultra-marathon in New Zealand, I actually found a real ultra-marathon website and followed the marathoners’ journey across the country to infuse real places and moments into the story. Also, I asked a friend who lives in New Zealand to read an early draft of the book, and she was able to give me a lot of insight into things that the Internet didn’t.

Alexis: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story? Why?

Lindsay: Honestly, it was just putting myself through the emotions of grief once again. Remembering how it felt to lose my mom, asking myself the tough questions that don’t really seem to have an answer—those things gutted me emotionally.

Alexis: What was your most memorable moment as you created these characters?

Lindsay: I was actually doing revisions and trying to rewrite the entire first act. I needed to figure out Eva and her motivations a bit better. And I rewrote the first line: “Once upon a time, color had dominated Eva Jamison’s days.” I still wasn’t sure I had gotten it right, but not long after, I received an email with the cover of the book—which is bursting with color. I immediately knew that this theme of light and darkness, colors and grays, was the perfect metaphor for Eva’s life before and after her husband’s death.

Alexis: Tell us about Eva and Angela. How do they know each other? What do they each want out of life? What is their greatest joy and deepest pain? Explain.

Lindsay: Eva and Angela were both married to the Jamison brothers, who died in a scuba diving accident fifteen months before the book begins. Before their deaths, Eva was living her best life as a florist/artist, fully enjoying her marriage and all that awaited them in the future. Angela, on the other hand, was a wife and mom of three kids, and while she hadn’t pictured her life the way it had turned out, she found she actually enjoyed homeschooling them. When their husbands died, though, Angela had to quit homeschooling and start working two jobs to make ends meet. And here’s the other thing—Angela is mad at her husband for dying. So how is she supposed to process that?

Alexis: How do Eva and Angela process the grief of losing their husbands? In what ways do they grieve the same and in what ways are they different?

Lindsay: Eva is kind of stuck in the grief. She lives in it, because she’s afraid of forgetting her husband if she moves forward. And with raising three kids and working two jobs, Angela doesn’t have time to grieve at all.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the men in this story. What can you tell me about Marc and Simon without giving away the plot? Describe their looks and personalities too!

Lindsay: Aw, I just love these guys! Marc was Brent Jamison’s best friend and business partner, and he feels really guilty for not only still being alive—he was supposed to be on the ill-fated scuba diving trip with his friends—but also for having feelings for Eva (now, after Brent is gone). Marc is Italian American, so he’s got darker features and an amazing smile.

Simon King is a New Zealand reporter who is also a widower with children, so he is someone Angela finds herself able to relate to in a way she hasn’t connected with anyone else. Simon is in his early forties, and he’s broad shouldered with an athletic build. He’s such a family man and I just loved writing him.

Alexis: In what ways does the concept of hope play into this story?

Lindsay: Like in all my stories, I want readers to come away with a sense of hope. Just because our circumstances might be worse than we can possibly imagine doesn’t mean we can’t have hope for a future.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about The Joy of Falling?

Lindsay: I want them to remember how they felt as they read it. I hope that they see themselves in the characters, even if they’ve never experienced the loss of a husband.

Alexis: Now for the fun questions (in italics):

How do you take your coffee? 
Uh, not at all! LOL. I prefer iced tea. ;)

What is your least explored hobby? 
I love to sing and wish I had time to be in shows like I once was. But with little children, that’s not happening right now.

Who is your favorite author?
Explain. That’s a really impossible question to answer! If I must pick one, I’d say Jane Austen. But if we are talking someone in more recent times, I’d say Lisa Wingate. Her book Before We Were Yours inspired me to go even deeper with my writing.

Who in your personal life do you look up to the most? Why? 
I have a few mentors who pray for me regularly and are very generous with their time and encouragement! They love the Lord and they love people, and those are two things I strive to do better.

What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?
I love Philippians 1:6: “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I feel like it’s such a good reminder that even when we don’t see the WHY of something, we can trust the WHO.

Cake or Ice cream? 
Always and forever ice cream.

Netflix or Hallmark movies? 
Ah, that’s hard, because I don’t have access to Hallmark movies. I’ve enjoyed both!

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Lindsay! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

Lindsay: Thanks, Alexis! Happy to have the opportunity to share about The Joy of Falling!

About the Author:

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. 

She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. 

Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.

Blurb for Lindsay's book, The Joy of Falling:

Eva and Angela must learn to live again. One step at a time.

It has been fifteen months since Eva and Angela lost their thrill-seeking husbands in a scuba diving accident. Both women are trying to navigate their way through the grief, but neither one is making much progress. Angela is barely making ends meet, angry at her husband for leaving her to raise three children on her own. Meanwhile, Eva is stuck, unable to move forward after losing the love of her life and her source of inspiration.

But then Eva gets a life-changing phone call. Before Brent and Wes died, they had signed up for a race of a lifetime—an ultra-marathon in beautiful New Zealand. Eva begs Angela to run the race with her in their husbands’ place, and Angela finally agrees, hoping to finally understand her husband's choices.

Training is exhausting, and the race is even more demanding. Their journey grows more complicated by the presence of two men—Marc is Brent’s best friend who is running the race with Eva and Angela, and Simon King is a writer who is covering their inspiring story. With every step, Eva and Angela must ask themselves questions that they haven’t had the courage to ask before. As the women literally put one foot in front of the other, they wonder: Is it possible to find their way forward in hope?

*United States residents ONLY may enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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