Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer Love: Kristen's story about an island, illness and therapy

Interview questions for Kristen Terrette, author of Time and Tide:

Alexis: Time and Tide is book number two in this series about Moanna Island. What is your story about? Is it a real island or purely make-believe? 

Kristen: Time and Tide is about a man named Chad who is going through a major recovery. After almost killing himself and someone else in a car accident, Chad is dealing with legal problems, addiction recovery therapy, and physical therapy if he ever wants to walk normally again. They have become a part of his everyday life. He moves to Moanna Island, near Savannah, GA, to begin working for his family’s company after having to put it off for two years during his rehabilitation. He meets Ryan. A free-spirited, local girl, who opens his eyes to love, something he’s never had, and Jesus, who he’s never known.

Moanna Island is a make-believe island, but I pull from my childhood memories of vacationing on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to develop the island’s look, layout, and character. It’s a low country island, meaning it has lots of greenery, trees, marshland, and extreme low and high tides.

Alexis: What characters from book number one, Safe Harbor, have roles in this new novel? Briefly note who they are and describe the significance of their role.

Kristen: The main characters, Eva and Thad from the first book, as well as Eva’s daughter, Willow, make appearances in Time and Time. It’s a small island, so it would be hard not to run into people. This is especially true since Time and Tide’s heroine works at the South Bay General Store which is the local go-to for just about everything since a “chain” grocery store is pretty far away. However, the biggest link between the characters is that Ryan attends Thad and Eva’s church and has joined a church small group held at their house. Eva and Ryan are roughly the same age and have become great friends. Ryan leans on Eva for advice.

Alexis: Chad Cusher is your story’s hero. Tell us about him. Describe his looks, personality, and struggles. What is his most prominent flaw and his saving grace (if any)? 

Kristen: Chad considers himself a loner and attributes this to being an only-child and hiding himself away to conceal his addiction. But he’s finding he’s less of one as he gets further away from his addiction and closer to a relationship with God.

His most prominent flaw is, by far, his leg which was injured in his car accident. The muscle on it is horribly mis-shapened, and he has a nasty scar the size of his hand there. It’s also very painful which causes him to have a limp and attend physical therapy. Lucky for him, he resembles the actor Ryan Phillipe. He has short hair, but it’s a little longer on top and almost curly. He has pretty, green eyes and a great smile. He’s a former athlete and still works out, so, other than his leg, he’s in good shape.

Alexis: What is Chad addicted to and why?

Kristen: Chad is a recovering cocaine addict. Why? He says his years in therapy have helped him see that he never learned how to deal with his father’s death and the broken relationship they had. He has been clean for a few years when we meet him, but his past brings daily struggles his way. 

I know it is a harsh set of circumstances, but as an author, I don’t want to shy away from addiction, and God’s saving power from it.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in your character’s lives? 

Kristen: God is another main character in my stories! Ryan is a believer, and God uses her as His instrument to open Chad’s eyes to Him. Chad has never attended church or been around someone who is as vocal about Jesus as Ryan is. He knows very little about Him and His salvation. So, while Ryan’s faith shows us obedience and being steadfast, Chad comes to faith in the story. We get a chance to see him become a child of God.

Alexis: It sounds like Chad is very troubled and therefore jaded. He doesn’t believe in the pursuit of happiness, including finding a woman to love. What is it about free-spirited Ryan Mason that makes his heart long for these things?

Kristen: Chad hasn’t been in love before, so he’s unaccustomed to any emotional ties and longings. In the past, he’d only ever loved drugs, and the way they helped him turn off his emotions, make him numb. So, meeting Ryan awakens something inside of him he’s never felt. He’s drawn to her and how she always seems joyful, even when the circumstances around her are anything but. He realizes later one reason he’s drawn to her is because she has Jesus. He’s drawn to the Light in her that brings her joy.

Alexis: Ryan is your story’s heroine. What she’s like? Describe her looks, personality, and heart.

Kristen: Ryan is beautiful without effort. She has wild, wavy, long blonde locks, making her look like she’s always just come off the beach. She wouldn’t be caught dead in heels. It’s just not her style. She’s a flip-flops and frayed jeans kind-of girl. She’s not into material things and fits the stereotype of an island local, maybe a secret Jimmy Buffet follower. She’s smart, but hasn’t been able to finish college because she’s moved home to help her dad with her sick brother. She loves Jesus and has strong moral boundaries. She’s loyal and, therefore, a great friend.

Alexis: Describe Chad and Ryan’s meet-cute on Moanna Island. Why was it special? 

Kristen: Well, Chad actually sees Ryan for the first time at his rehab center. He’s there for therapy appointments and doesn’t know it at the time, but Ryan is there to see her sick brother. He’s taken back by how beautiful she is with her loin’s mane of hair blowing in the wind as she enters the center. She doesn’t see him then, and he assumes he’ll never see her again. A few days later, once he’s on Moanna, he walks into the General Store, and she’s the one who greets him. He makes an epic fail of a first impression but is determined to hit the “do-over” button and make up for it. Of course, he does. 

Alexis: What would you say is Ryan’s deepest fear and happiest moment in this story? Explain.

Kristen: Deepest fear: She’s going to hinder Chad’s journey to Jesus. Happiest moment: When Chad tells her his salvation story.

Alexis: Ryan’s brother suffers from a mental illness. What were the challenges of writing such real issue, one that people like to avoid, into your story?

Kristen: My uncle was schizophrenic. Sadly, he’s passed away, but I was able to pull from my own experiences with him growing up, as well as my mother’s stories about him before he became sick. My uncle was a wonderful man and a believer in Jesus. I think I wanted to be sure I portrayed Ryan’s brother like my uncle. He was sick, but that was only a part of him. He was also loving and kind and funny.

Alexis: Ryan’s joy draws Chad in but what makes him stay and fall in love?

Kristen: Ryan is fun and adventurous. Chad usually hides himself away and only has a few friends. Ryan is fun and extroverted, and he realizes he sees things differently when she’s around. He’s also incredibly attracted to her. They both comment on the electricity that ignites when they touch!

Alexis: What was your favorite adventure that you created for Ryan and Chad? Share details of what they experienced. 

Kristen: They go crabbing! When I was a kid, this was my most favorite thing to do on vacation. Crabs are unpredictable and smelly, but they provided me with some great opportunities for a few laughs.

Alexis: What is the Cusher Empire? Sounds fancy. How serious is it?

Kristen: Chad’s dad started a company that is now bigger than big. It’s real estate/investment/commercial development firm that spans the whole Southeast. It’s a company that builds malls, golf courses, and more. Chad’s the only son and sole heir.

Alexis: How will Chad’s “empire” inheritance affect his relationship with Ryan?

Kristen: He doesn’t think it has to at all, but she gets tripped up on it. She comes from a blue-collar family and can’t see how they’d be able to have much in common long term, can’t see how his family would be happy with her on his arm. It’s an insecurity Ryan has to deal with and try to overcome.

Alexis: What lesson do you want your readers to learn from this story?

Kristen: No one is too far from the reach of God. He can redeem and save even those who think they have no hope for redemption.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Kristen! Do you have any final comments?

Kristen: I would love to say thank you to my readers! You are allowing me to live my dream of telling stories! 

Author Bio:

Kristen Terrette has been an avid reader since childhood, a self-confessed book nerd, and always had characters running through her mind- ones she made up. She went back to school years ago to obtain a Master's degree in Theological Studies because she felt God's tug towards ministry, but she didn't know then what God had in mind. 

After five years on staff at her church, she followed God's leading to a different kind of ministry- one with words, love, pain, and real-to-life characters. She now stays at home during the day while the house is quiet writing stories she hopes will bring readers to a stronger understanding of how God works and His love for sinners like us. 

She always has contemporary romance characters and plots running through her mind and considers romance her first love...but she has a few amazing literary fiction novels up her sleeve as well. Both genres fight for time occupying her mind.

Blurb for Kristen's book: Addictions destroy lives. Chad Cusher’s own dependencies change everything he thought he knew about his future. 

After almost killing himself and someone else, Chad’s legal problems, addiction recovery therapy, and physical therapy if he ever wants to walk normally again, are a part of his everyday life. He believes there is no chance at true happiness, certainly not love, and only hopes to become a better man than he was, to find redemption somehow.

Chad moves to Moanna Island, a small island close to Savannah off the Atlantic coast, to begin a job with his family’s real estate empire, a job he was supposed to have taken years ago.

Free-spirited Ryan Mason is a Moanna local girl from a blue-collar family. She’s dropped her own dreams to help her father care for her schizophrenic brother.

Their paths first cross at a Rehabilitation Center where Chad attends therapy and Ryan’s brother lives. Chad can’t believe his luck when he finds her on Moanna Island, forty-five minutes away from the Center, only days later.

Chad is drawn to Ryan’s joy, even through the pain and grief life tries to throw her way. His lonely void begins to dissipate with every island adventure spent with her. He soon finds out what her secret is. But is it possible to start over and be restored? Even so, can Ryan except Chad’s horrible, even criminal past? Can their crazy worlds ever fit together once she finds out he is the sole heir to the Cusher Empire?

Buy Kristen's book on Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo

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  1. It sounds to me like you have handled a delicate, pressing situation in a skilled way, Kristen. I look forward to reading your book. Nice to meet you here on Alexis'blog :)

  2. Thank you for letting me share Alexis!

    1. You're welcome, Kristen! Thank YOU for being my guest! :)

  3. You are a new author to me, and I would love to read your book. Thanks for the chance to do so.

  4. I am thrilled to have been chosen! Thank you very much!

    1. You're welcome, Janice! :) God bless you. I hope that you will enjoy Kristen's book! :)


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