Sunday, June 18, 2017

Spring into Love: A story about abuse and God's healing power

Interview with Jo Huddleston, author of Tidewater Summer:

Alexis: Does the title of your book have special significance? Explain.

Jo: The story in Tidewater Summer equates the turbulence and danger of the ocean’s tidewater to the heroine’s recent experience of physical abuse at the hands of her fiancé.

Alexis: What is the theme for your story, Tidewater Summer?

Jo: Tidewater Summer is a story of renewal from brokenness.

Alexis: Rose Marie Henley is your story’s heroine. What qualities make people like—and strongly dislike—her? Describe her looks, personality, and heart.

Jo: Rose has brown eyes, she’s a brunette, and is tall and athletic. Her personality is subdued, damaged from the physical abuse she has encountered. Before the abuse, her heart was full of love that she shared with her fiancé, her parents, and longtime best friend.

Alexis: Why is Rose seeking solitude?

Jo: Rose is seeking solitude to escape additional abuse from her former fiancé, and to heal from her wounds.

Alexis: What, in her heart of hearts, does Rose really want?

Jo: When the story begins, Rose wants only to be alone. As the story continues and her character grows, she becomes more receptive to others.

Alexis: Rose was in a romantic relationship with a man who was physically abusive. Why did you make him abusive? What were the challenges of writing those scenes?

Jo: I find visits to beaches have a cleansing effect, a balm for whatever ails you. My premise was to write a story about a woman who visits a beach to get over a traumatic event in her life. The most traumatic event humans usually experience relates to their relationships. Tidewater Summer is the result of my story's premise and imagination.

Alexis: How does Rose’s ex-boyfriend’s abuse impact her life story?

Jo: The abuse Rose experiences fill her with fear, she’s broken and confused. Where romance is concerned, Rose must find a way to deal with the past in order to move on in the future. 

Alexis: Rose’s Great-Aunt Clara opens her beach home to Rose for the summer in North Carolina. What moves Rose to take it? How does staying there benefit her life?

Jo: Rose has fond memories of many family vacations spent at her Aunt Clara’s beach house in South Carolina. It is a stable place of safety. 

Alexis: Frank Sutton is your story’s hero. Why does Rose think he’s “over the top handsome”? Describe his looks, personality, and heart.

Jo: When Rose meets Franklin Sutton, she isn’t looking for another relationship and only regards his physical appearance—blond hair, blue eyes, tall—that she describes as over-the-top handsome. Frank is a patient, godly man, a true Southern gentleman. He senses Rose has been treated badly and is gentle in his approach to her.

Alexis: Despite her attraction to Frank, Rose doesn’t want a man in her life. Why?

Jo: Rose has thankfully escaped marrying her abusive fiancé. Her physical and emotional wounds are raw and she doesn’t want to give another man the opportunity to do to her the same as her former fiancé.

Alexis: Frank is smitten with Rose. What does he see in her that enthralls him?

Jo: Frank senses Rose’s hurt, her victim personality. He wants to protect her, care for her, help her recover. Her brown eyes almost mesmerize him.

Alexis: What does it take for him to win her over?

Jo: Frank must break through her defenses and convince her to open her heart to trust him.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about Tidewater Summer?

Jo: God didn’t create us for self-reliance or isolation. Scripture says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Those in the New Testament church relied on close friends or brothers and sisters in Christ for support—bearing one another’s burdens! If we share our burdens, our load is not as heavy, and with a lighter load, we know relief.

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

Jo: Alexis, thank you for having me on your blog for a visit.

Author bio: 

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. 

Novels she has written include her West Virginia Mountains series, her endearing Caney Creek series, and her standalone novel, Tidewater Summer. These are sweet, Southern historical romances. 

Jo is a member of ACFW and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). 

Learn more at where you can read first chapters of her novels and novellas and also sign up for her mailing list.

Book blurb for Tidewater SummerWill Rose find the solitude she seeks during her island summer or is solitude what she really wants? 

A compelling story of one woman’s pursuit of restoration from physical abuse at the hands of her fiancé. Rose Marie Henley’s Great-Aunt Clara convinces Rose to spend the summer at her South Carolina beach house.

Aunt Clara’s handyman sends his nephew to repair Rose’s water heater. Last year Rose would have been excited to see his over-the-top handsome nephew, Frank Sutton. But now she doesn’t want any man in her life again.

Frank has an instant attraction to Rose. Can he break through her defenses? He’ll do anything to protect her, but will she open her heart to trust him?

Buy Jo's book on Amazon

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  1. I love stories of restoration. There's something so meaningful about the healing we receive when we allow ourselves to open up after being hurt. I know this type of story isn't an easy one to write, so I appreciate that Jo digs deep into human relationships! I can't wait to check it out.

    1. PhDMama, thanks for commenting. I agree with what you wrote. Hope you enjoy Rose and Frank's story.

  2. I enjoy stories by Jo Huddleston and want to read this one. :-)

    1. Melissa, so glad you enjoy my stories! Thanks for leaving your comment.

  3. Jo, I've read the interview and would love to read Rose's story. I'm a writer as well as GriefShare facilitator and am always searching for wisdom and words to give others as they travel through the storms of life.

    1. DiAne, thanks for your interest in reading Tidewater Summer and for leaving your comment.

  4. Very interested to read the story for personal reasons. I love that our God is a God who sustains us through brokenness and also restores! Stories like this one are a great reminder.

    1. Elise, thanks for your interest in reading Tidewater Summer! Thanks for commenting.

  5. I love stories of healing. Although I almost always read historical novels, this sounds like a good one. Blessings!

    1. Cynthia, thanks for stopping by to leave your comment. The "gate keepers" actually now describe stories set in the 1950s as historical.


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