I just finished reading a new book by author Emma Broch Stuart called Broken Umbrellas. This book really touched my heart and brought about a healing in my life. I know it will touch you, too. Emma wants to share this book with as many people as possible and is giving away an autographed copy this week on my blog. I’ll be doing a drawing next Wednesday from the pool of comments below–so don’t forget to hop down there and say hello or ask her a question. She’ll love getting to know you, too!
Please join me in welcoming author Emma Broch Stuart to my blog.
Thank you, April, for having me on your blog! This is truly an honor for me.
Your book really touched my heart. I’ve also struggled with broken relationships. I think that’s a topic just about everyone has more experience with than they want! Tell us a bit about your latest book. What was your inspiration?
Well, April, once upon a time, brokenness claimed so many areas of my life, and every one of those areas were relational in nature: bitterness and shame from past intimate relationships; wounds and scars from abuse; insecurities from relating with women I felt had it together when I did not; feelings of failure as a mother. It was all relationship stuff. When I realized that humanity tries to relate with one another in spite of their brokenness, God asked me to write about my own personal struggle with broken areas of my life. And voilà! Broken Umbrellas was born.
What was my inspiration? Let me just say, I feel most people are really bad at one thing or another in life like sports, or math, or sewing. For me it was relationships. Even becoming a Christian didn’t save me from a broken marriage. And I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I get this right?” And God showed me that when we have unhealthy hearts, we have unhealthy relationships. (That goes for friendship relationships, too.) Then he took me on an incredible 13-month journey that healed me in the most radical way. I wrote Broken Umbrellas because I don’t believe I’m the only one who has struggled with relationships.
What inspired you to start writing in the first place?
God gets all the credit here. He says write, and I obey! And I’m always blessed when I do.
Where do you get your ideas?
One way God speaks to me is through the pages of his Word, and I have incorporated that into my children’s series. Of course, my past brokenness and journey to healing prompted Broken Umbrellas, so a lot of “life research” went into that one. And I really enjoyed coming up with ideas for chapter titles. I loved your titles, too!
Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?
For now, I write nonfiction and children’s books. I don’t know where God will lead in the future, but my plate is pretty full with these genres.
I’m working with WhiteFire Publishing on a fun and inspiring piece called Barn Doors. Barn Doors is a collection of short stories about everyday life and how God speaks to me . . . and how I hear him. It releases next spring.
I also have a children’s series with DeWard Publishing called The Keeper Series. The Windkeeper is the first in the series and looks to be ready for this fall. An illustrator has it as we speak, bringing my words to colorful life. The Starkeeper will follow, and The Rainkeeper will complete the series.
I find it fascinating to learn about other author’s writing styles. Do you use an outline, or do you prefer to write by the seat of your pants?
There is no rhyme or reason to how I write. For example, with Broken Umbrellas I wrote the beginning to the middle and then took a few days to process all of that. Lots of tears as I relived those old wounds. Lots of grateful prayers for how far I’ve come. When I was ready to start where I left off, I felt led to write from the end and meet up in the middle. No outline, just wrote what leapt out of my heart and organized as I went along, which goes against my OCD for organizing, list making, and “going in order.” I can totally get behind that! Outlines kill stories for me!
What are your interests/hobbies (outside of writing!)?
April, I’m a crafty kind of person and always have a project out on the craft table. I also like to visit my son and his family in France. And it may surprise you to know that I love to read! But then again, I don’t know many writers who don’t love to read.
I’m so glad you stopped by to visit with us. Before you go, let me ask one last question. You’ve mentioned God’s Word as inspiring your writing. Would you share a Bible verse with us you find especially meaningful–and why it’s so meaningful to you?
It seems my favorite passage changes as often as the rising of the sun. But let me share my favorite passage THIS week. Psalm 103:14 says “[God] remembers that we are dust.” That is so powerful to me, and very humbling. And it has helped me extend grace more easily when I ponder this verse in relation to people who are difficult to love. Oh, I love that!
Where can readers find you on the web?
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/emmabrochstuart
To order her book from your favorite online site in paperback or ebook form:
Barnes & Noble HERE
Thanks so much for stopping by, Emma!
My pleasure! Thanks again for inviting me.
Don’t forget to comment below for your chance to win an autographed copy of her new release, Broken Umbrellas!
“Oh, but when we are covered with Gods umbrella, we are accepted and safe. We have but to step under, and His protection shelters us.” Broken Umbrellas is a refreshingly transparent and heart touching re-telling of one woman’s facing divorce–in marriage, in spirituality, in friendships, and family. Emma Brock Stuart walks us through her steps of healing and points the reader to the path of The Healer for the ultimate restoration. Highly recommended–MUST READ.
Some time back I interviewed Dina after reading her novel Dance from Deep Within (click here to read the interview again). Today, I’m excited to invite Dina as a guest poster to share about her new release, a young adult series called Valiant Hearts. I’m just starting Dauntless now, and it’s excellent. Please give a warm welcome to author Dina Sleiman:
From Bethany House Publishers
Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, prepare to meet your historical counterparts!
Hello and thanks for having me today. I would like to share with you about my YA inspirational medieval adventure/romance series. Yeah, that’s a lot of adjectives. LOL. This series is pretty unique, especially in the Christian market, and so requires quite a bit of description. But let me start by sharing a little of how it came about. A few summers ago I saw a picture of a female knight, strong and courageous, bold and valiant, and I realized that somewhere in my many years of marriage and raising children, I had lost my fight.
And you know what? I wanted it back!
Meanwhile, I had been considering trying my hand at a young adult medieval romance series for several years, but I didn’t have a strong idea. Quite a few more months would pass before everything came together for me. I was walking and praying about a series concept, when the BBC’s new Robin Hood came to mind with its bold Maid Marian who is a crusader for the poor in her own right, its female Djaq, and its tough villainesses. That’s when it hit me. Put strong, young medieval women in legendary male roles, et voila, my Valiant Hearts Series was born.
I’m so thankful for this opportunity to create strong and courageous role models for young women. I feel that all too often Christian girls are sent mixed messages. “You can be whatever you want to be, but you should be…” (insert small box of your denominational choosing here.) I want to inspire young women to be all that they can be and empower them to reach their full potential in Christ.
“What is a Valiant Heart heroine?” you might ask. A young woman who is both feminine and strong, vulnerable and tough, gentle and passionate. She is fearless, intelligent, and full of life. A heroine who contains within her both the tender beauty of a blossoming flower and the fierceness of a lioness. One who uniquely reflects her creator God and is willing to pursue her dreams with all her heart. A woman who is open to love, but not defined by a man.
Each book in the Valiant Hearts Series will feature a strong, young medieval woman in a traditionally male role as she lives out a story of adventure, romance, and faith. The series is geared toward teens, but will appeal to adults as well.
Shown above is Merry Ellison, my heroine for the Robin Hood inspired Dauntless. Merry will go to any length to save the outlawed children of Ellsworth from the treacherous King John. Dauntless is available now online, as an ebook, and in local bookstores. Click HERE for more information.
In book 2, Chivalrous, Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight, but such cannot be her fate, even in the Camelot inspired region where she dwells. Meanwhile, her father intends to use her as a marriage pawn. In this story that flips the Lancelot/Guinevere legend on its head, Gwendolyn struggles with issues of gender and worth as well as her faith in God. Chivalrous is available for pre-order online and will release in September. Click HERE for more info and to preorder.
My heroine Rosalind for book 3 (working title Relentless) has a role in book 2 as well. I’m picturing Katie McGrath from the series Merlin. She serves as Gwendolyn’s handmaid in book 2, but in book 3 she will face her own adventure as she goes on crusade in search of redemption. I just started writing this one, and it will be fun to see where this story takes me.
And I have ideas for more: pirates, body guards, spies, even a quest!
I hope you will consider giving my Valiant Hearts Series a try, or perhaps purchasing it for some special young woman in your life! And please join me on my Valiant Hearts blog to stay in touch. http://valiantheartsseries.blogspot.com/
Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards. Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter Time, Dance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing as well, and she loves to teach at writers conferences throughout the US.Read More
On Monday January 5th, Maxine Marsolini and Jeannie St. John Taylor interviewed me for their radio program, The River. If you missed the live broadcast you can listen to it below. We chatted about MACY, healing fiction, marriage, forgiveness, challenges and hope. I had a wonderful time. Thanks to Maxine and Jeannie for being such wonderful hosts!