Archive for the ‘Author Interviews’ Category

The Mother Road

See the book cover on the top of this post? It comes from one of the best new books I’ve read this year. As a reader, I like books that engage me immediately, cover topics that matter to contemporary life, challenge my faith and thinking on relevant topics, and where possible, have some humor as well! This one met all my requirements and did so in a lively, entertaining fashion while still leaving me thinking. I noticed the book initially because of the title–The Mother Road will always be historic Route 66 for those of us who live in the West. But I came to love the book particularly because it fulfilled my reading requirements so well. I even gave it to my high-standards husband, who also thought it was excellent. You might want to grab your Amazon card and order this book. I don’t make that recommendation lightly, but you won’t be disappointed in The Mother Road.

Author Jennifer AlLee agreed to respond to a few questions, so you can get to know her as well as her excellent new book. Here’s my interview with Jennifer as we talk about The Mother Road…

Jennifer, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog and talk about your recent book, The Mother Road. I read it a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it very much.  In fact, I passed it on to my husband, and he liked it as much as I did. Would you mind giving us a brief summary of the story?

Thank you, Mary, for the invitation. I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the book! Here’s a taste of the story:

Within the course of a week, marriage expert Natalie Marino is dumped by her husband, receives an urgent call home from her father, and discovers her estranged sister, Lindsay, is pregnant. A road trip on Route 66 may not help, but it sure couldn’t hurt. Or so Natalie thinks, until Lindsay’s boyfriend starts stalking them. Will their trip down the Mother Road bring the two sisters closer, or turn out to be the biggest wrong turn of their lives?

As an author, what was the starting point for this book? Why this particular story? When you are writing fiction, who do you envision as your audience?

This book started with the first line, “I cannot get a divorce.” It popped into my head one day, and from there I had to think, what would be the worst case scenario? That’s when I got the idea of making Natalie a marriage expert. Not only does the divorce devastate her emotionally, it crumbles the foundation of her career.

I envision my audience as mostly women, although I love it that the men who pick up my books seem to enjoy them just as much. I think most women share a common yearning to discover their identity. So many of us pour ourselves into our roles as daughter, sister, mother, wife… we tend to lose sight of who we are in God. We all have a unique, special identity which is enhanced by the gifts and talents God has given us. I hope my books entertain my readers, but also encourage them to think about the person they were created to be.

In my little community in Northern Arizona, there is considerable interest in Route 66, since it ran right through town at one time. I was delighted to read that your characters Natalie and Lindsay spend the night at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook in The Mother Road.  Did you ever take the drive that Natalie and her sister traveled? If not, how did you find your excellent information?

Mary, I really wanted to take that drive, and I had every intention of doing it. But life had other ideas (in the form of my son needing surgery), so that didn’t happen. It was extremely important to me to get my facts right, so I did lots of research: books, YouTube videos, web sites, blogs, DVDs… I didn’t use any towns or locations that I couldn’t find information about. For example, Natalie and Lindsay stop at the Road Kill Café. I searched the internet until I found a photo of the menu, just to make sure that I could have them order authentic dishes.

You touch on many of the toughest issues women face—infertility,  the infidelity of a spouse, an unwanted divorce, the loss of a loved career, disrupted family relationships, a parent with Alzheimer’s, and questions about God’s role in their difficult experiences. Yet this is a humorous book as well as a sad one, and Natalie is very hopeful at the end of the book. I know your first goal was to produce a good novel, but did you also write the book to help women with these struggles? What kind of reactions are you getting from readers since the book came out? Do they relate to Natalie’s difficulties?

The reaction to the book has been wonderful. Lots of people have told me that the humor keeps the story from being depressing, but doesn’t trivialize the serious issues. You’re right, my first goal is to write an entertaining, moving novel. But I also want there to be some substance, something that gives the reader hope.

Natalie’s husband makes some overtures to her at the end of the book and indicates that he wishes he hadn’t left home, but she tells him to devote the rest of his life to his new family. Divorce can be a touchy topic in Christian circles. While writing the book, were you ever tempted to depict a reconciliation between Natalie and her husband, rather than concluding with the divorce?

Yes, divorce is a difficult topic to address, especially in Christian fiction, because the automatic response is that every couple must work things out in the end. While I believe that God’s best is for us to keep our marriage vows , there are times when that just doesn’t happen. For example, if the relationship is abusive, the woman absolutely needs to get out. With Natalie, I never considered a reconciliation because of the details of her split with Tony. But I wouldn’t dream of judging anyone for the decision she makes. That’s between her and God.

Please let us know what else you have happening, Jennifer. Is there another book on the horizon for you?

I’m very excited to be part of a new line for Abingdon Press: Quilts of Love. Each book is about one quilt, one family, and one unforgettable love.  Mine is the second in the line, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, coming November 2012. Izzy Fontaine is a former ballet dancer whose grandmother has just died and left her an heirloom quilt. Things get complicated when museum director Max Logan claims that Gran promised him the quilt. And when Izzy’s mother and brother catch wind that it may hold the key to a great treasure, they want a piece of it, too. Things get a little crazy as Izzy tries to keep the peace, deal with the charismatic Max, and figure out what Gran was trying to tell her.

Thank you again for being with us today!

Thank you, Mary. It was great visiting your blog!