Monday, March 29, 2010

Francine Rivers, Welcome to Seekerville!!!!

If Reba McIntyre is the queen of country music, (and you all know better than to dispute that, right???) Francine Rivers is the go-to gal on Christian fiction. From Redeeming Love to The Atonement Child, to the Mark of the Lion series, to The Last Sin Eater and now her just-released Her Mother’s Hope, Francine’s work has spanned a generation with vibrancy, faith and love.

I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Francine at the 2004 ACFW conference in Denver. It was my first ACFW conference and the birthing ground of The Seekers. I distinctly remember meeting Tina Radcliffe (then Novinski) in the ladies’ room. She was washing her hands, I was standing just behind her and to her left and saw her nametag in the mirror. Being fiendishly clever, I read it backwards, smiled, nodded and said:

“So. This feels quite normal. Ruth Logan Herne coming in second to Tina Novinski… once again. Why don’t you get published and leave the first place contest honors to the rest of us?”

Yup. Typical Ruthy. And yet she loves me. Still.

As our keynote speaker that year, Francine’s loving words spoke to the heart of a Christian author. She treats everyone as an equal and that warm humility blesses everyone who knows her. With a publishing career that spans over three decades, Francine has credits that boggle the mind and a personality that endears the spirit. Several years ago I contacted her for something, a contest perhaps…
And I remember being awestruck that I could just E-MAIL FRANCINE RIVERS AND SHE ANSWERED ME!!!!

When I confessed that, it was almost as if I could hear her laughing through the returning e-mail. “Ruth,” she wrote, “We’re both authors, just having a little chat.”
Umm. Yeah. Right. Only one of us was Francine Rivers.


But that’s how Francine comes across. Sweet. Kind. Straightforward. Honest. And I’ll make her uncomfortable if I wax too long, but that giving spirit is what we gravitate to in her books. She emotes a honest examination of conscience that offers inspiration, a gift I see as the work of the Holy Spirit.

I would love to sit in her kitchen and eat toast with home-made jam, watch the birds and swap stories someday. But for now we’ll PRETEND we’re in the kitchen. Hers. Mine is rarely clean enough to host anything more than a three-year-old tea party. Three-year-olds overlook things like dust, dog hair and science projects in the refrigerator.

I made a fresh batch of Ruthy-bread, Mary Connealy sent some fresh-churned butter from Nebraska, Cara Slaughter has picked and shipped ginormous Florida strawberries and Francine has brought the homemade jelly along.

Sit down, grab a cup of joe or help yourself to the cappuccino bar. Sweet tea is to your left and fresh lemons are on a bowl of ice just beyond. Cozy up and welcome Francine with me while we chat about love, life and God.

Thank you for coming over, Ruthy. And for the sweet, over-the-top introduction. Why don’t we sit here at my kitchen nook table? Aren’t the little American finches cute? They eat their weight in seed every day. There’s a mourning dove. I hope our young hawk doesn’t swoop by this morning. Rick said the other day this is definitely a bird feeder – all kinds of birds. I enjoy it when he visits and perches on one of the oak branches. The other birds go into hiding, and he keeps an eye on me. If I move, off he goes.

I know you were published in the ABA before switching to the CBA. Given the conservative nature of the CBA at the time, did you think Redeeming Love would be long shot to get published in either market? Can you give us the story behind the publication of Redeeming Love (i.e. your agent's thoughts as to the likelihood of publication, the difficulty of getting it published, if any, and the eventual "call"?)

Redeeming Love was my first book as a born-again Christian, and it was a “hard sell”. The editor at Berkeley-Jove with whom I had worked for a number of years didn’t want it because it was “an allegory about God”. Other publishers rejected it for the same reason. A Christian working as an editor for Bantam had been looking for faith-based stories. She offered a contract. The book didn’t last long on the shelves. As soon as it went out-of-print, my agent, Jane Jordan Browne, requested the reversion of rights. I wanted to make some revisions to the original manuscript – soften some of the more explicit scenes, remove a few “hard-core” words and add a conversion scene. Tyndale House President, Dr. Taylor, didn’t feel the book was right for their lists (and it wasn’t at the time). He and I talked and he prayed with me. Karen Ball, my editor at Tyndale House, had recently taken a job with Multnomah, and she wanted Redeeming Love. Dr. Taylor prayed a blessing over the project. That meant a great deal to me.

The “redeemed” version of Redeeming Love was published by Multnomah with a letter in the front warning readers of the “R” rated content. Bible stories are often very edgy. Redeeming Love remains my personal favorite of all the books I’ve written because it comes from Hosea which had a profound effect on my life, and the story is all about the Lord and His love for us. I consider it my statement of faith.

Adult relationships between parent and child are not always easy. I’ve been to your website and your new release intrigues me. Can you tell us about Her Mother’s Hope?

When my grandmother died, she and my mother were somewhat estranged. Mom thought Grandma “willed herself” to die just so they would never be able to talk things out. That broke my heart because I knew how much Mom loved Grandma. Mom had also told me that Grandma had never once said “I love you” to her, but she had heard Grandma say it to me often.

Those things haunted me for years. I knew “the reason” Grandma had been angry at the end (though it wasn’t entirely rational, and definitely not “fair”), but why would a mother never tell her daughter “I love you”? That’s what started the exploration of mother-daughter relationships – and the other possibilities of why someone might not be willing to share their feelings. I also wanted to show how patterns can be passed down to the next generation, yet can be changed by one person who loves God and loves as He loves.

The theme of the book is grace. Grace is a free and undeserved gift from God given to us so that we can extend it to others. I also hope readers will come away wanting to share their lives with their family members. Too often we keep secrets, never sharing the experiences of relationships that shaped our lives.

The manuscript was so long (and I wrote it twice!) that Tyndale decided to divide it into two books. So the first half of the story – Her Mother’s Hope – centers on Marta and Hildemara, characters based on my grandmother and my mother. The second book – Her Daughter’s Hope – continues the story with Hildemara’s daughter, Carolyn, and her grand-daughter, May Flower Dawn.

There was so much I wanted to say through these four women (Marta, Hildemara, Carolyn and May Flower Dawn). Each generations views God and faith differently. Grandma believed God helped those who helped themselves. My mother believed God loved those who served. My generation thought God was dead and then later cried out to God for help. My daughter’s generation is polarized. Some think God owes them a blessing. Others are walking examples of Christ, fully devoted to the Lord and walking in His ways.

If you haven’t seen the “trailer” on my new website, I hope you will take a look. It has the “feeling” of what issues are in Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream. My heart – and family – are interwoven into these books.

How do you deal with being an author in the spotlight -- contests, ratings on Amazon, glowing reader mail, reviews, etc.? Is it a struggle to "become less so He can become more?"

A few years back, while in an RWA competition, I saw the effect of the awards on a dear friend who “lost”. She was devastated and cried. She was happy I had received the award, but she longed for affirmation for her work. This writer had published far more novels than I had and is a wonderful writer. Seeing how hurt she was crushed me. Hence, I decided not to compete again. Why do we do it? For the market? We are one in Christ, and I don’t want anything to come in the way of that. And I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “best book” (unless it’s the Bible). If a novel or non-fiction book changes someone, encourages them, or opens their hearts to Christ, that is their best book of the year whether it sold ten copies or a million.

I don’t read reviews if I can avoid them. Good ones tend to stir pride, and the bad ones crush the spirit, neither of which is good for my faith walk. Reviews are one person’s opinion. God is the one we want to please. I’m one of those people who would love to please everyone, so it’s better if I keep my audience to One. All I can do is put heart and soul into my work and leave what happens with it to Him.

And, following that, how do you graciously handle spontaneous interruptions in your life by well-meaning fans? Is that difficult or intrusive?

I’m never sure what to say when a fan stops me or wants to tell me how one of my books has impacted their lives. I think God can use anything to reach into the hearts of His children – even a work of fiction. But saying that sounds like false humility. So I say “Thank you”. I am thankful. Hearing how God uses something I’ve written for His good purpose encourages me to keep working.

As to interruptions, they often come. Sometimes I can feel the impatience well up inside me, and then I remind myself that people are far more important than work. And there is probably a good reason for the interruption. I need to stop work and listen. It’s not about giving up time, but receiving whatever it is God wants to offer through this person. And, hopefully, giving whatever they need in the way of encouraging words. Nothing happens by accident. Sometimes an interruption is a divine appointment.

Frannie, Michael Landon Jr. did a film version of The Last Sin Eater and you said you were amazed at how the actors were able to emote time and again as scenes were re-shot. I saw there’s a movie version of Redeeming Love in the works. How much or how little input do you as an author have in that project and is it difficult to hand over the reins on a beloved book?

And can they do it justice? Part of the draw in the book is the reader’s investment in the inner feelings of the hero and heroine. The reader empathizes and/or sympathizes with both characters, but so much of that is because of their internal struggle. Does the nature of this story make it more difficult to transfer to film?

Ah, Redeeming Love, the movie. This project has been in the works for a number of years and hasn’t really developed “legs”. Christy Lee Taylor, lovely young woman came to a retreat to meet and talk with me about making a movie. She had worked at PAX TV and also done some acting and created her own production company, Abba Productions. She had a passion for Redeeming Love, and a vision of how it should be made into a movie. Although she had little experience and no real movie-making credits, I decided to let her run with it.

The contract I had written by an entertainment attorney made certain I would have final say on the script, and would see the final cut before release. If the movie isn’t what it should be (quality and story), I can remove my name and any mention of the book from the credits. Christy has worked very hard and made many amazing contacts. Some very well-known writers and directors are interested in being part of the project. Financing is the major stumbling block. It’s all in God’s hands.

Francine, when you were the keynote speaker at the ACFW conference, you gently compared writers who are Christian to Christian writers. Can you explain how they differ? Is one a better way to use a gift than the other or are they roads less traveled comparatively?

There is a big difference between a Christian who writes and a Christian writer. A Christian who writes can write anything, and not necessarily something that is glorifying to the Lord. They write for a market. A Christian writer centers their work on Jesus Christ. He is central to their story. The purpose of Christian fiction is to whet the appetite of the reader for the real thing: a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and a passion for His Word.

It’s not that one writer is better than the other. Each is called to a different purpose. A Christian who writes can still (and often does) weave their “world view” into their stories. Their goal is to entertain. A Christian writer is focused on presenting Christ. And, of course, both want to sell books.
I’m not sure I’m explaining this very well…

I think you explained it just fine.

As an author who wrote for ABA , you had a host of titles and awards to your credit. I saw that you described your first books as Western Gothic Romance and I laughed. What a fun combination of emotions that must have been.

You’ve since bought back the rights to those books to block them being remarketed. Francine, that takes guts and moxie. Not everyone has the conviction to turn their back on the promise of more money. Was it a difficult decision? And expensive?

I called the first books western-gothic-romances because I loved all three of those genres and liked the fun of combining them.

Getting the rights back to my B.C. books was a business decision to start. My agent always made it a practice to get the reversion of rights as soon as the book went out of print, in the eventuality that the book could be sold again to another publisher. After becoming a Christian, the B.C. books were not the message I wanted to offer to readers. They were about “eros”. Redeeming Love was an attempt to define “agape”. I didn’t want people going back and forth and getting confused about my focus. That made the decision easy. Keep the old books off the market. I made that promise to God.

A few years later, I forgot that promise when my editor suggested I make revisions (like I had with Redeeming Love) and republished sanitized, Christianized reprints of old books in the Christian market. I dove into revision work, but it grew more and more frustrating. I couldn’t figure out why until my daughter, Shannon, reminded me of the promise I had made to God. Oh! That’s right! I did make that decision and promise, didn’t I? Ooops! I contacted my editor and explained the project was over.

We did find out a few years ago that the original publisher had sold the rights of one of my old Second Chance at Love books to another publisher – who then reprinted the book as a “new release. I called my agent as soon as readers let me know. I ended up hiring an attorney at considerable expense to make certain the book was pulled off the market and we had written confirmation of reversion of rights. I also wrote a letter on my website, letting people know what happened.

I encourage people to check the copyright date before buying a book. Anything before 1991 (pre-Redeeming Love) is B.C. Publishers often repackage books to attract new readers and increase sales. I’ve purchased books I thought were new, only to find out I had already read it. Saves money and time to check those dates in the front of the book.

You seem to write as the Lord directs, with him leading powerfully as you go, making your writing seem more an act of obedience than a job. Is that how you see it? How it feels?

Yes, I believe the Lord directs me. Not always where I want to go. But He knows where I need to go – always somewhere in my own life that needs realignment with Him. It can be painful. I’ll see myself in some character’s bad behavior. God is amazingly merciful – even when He’s pointing out our sins and crusty attitudes. He tenderly works on transforming us one-day-at-a-time.

Writing has become a form of worship for me. I have to start in Scripture before writing each day because there is always something in His Word that clarifies where I’m going in the lives of the characters. When you ask God a question, expect answers. He will show you want He wants you to know in all kinds of ways. Writing for the Lord is more exciting than any other kind of writing I’ve ever done. I’m never quite sure where I’m going. Even when I think I know, God surprises me.

Francine, just so you know I am NOT comparing myself to you…

Well, okay, maybe a little because I like to 'fix' things by writing their stories, too.

You wrote The Atonement Child because of your personal experience with abortion and the internal guilt that festers even after we acknowledge God’s forgiveness. I tend to ‘fix’ my past that way, too. It’s good therapy for me and I know others can relate to the helplessness and guilt inspired by traumas. Has being open about things come back to haunt you at times? Has there ever been backlash?

Amazingly enough, I’ve never had any backlash from The Atonement Child – though Rick and I both expected it. It turned out to be the most healing book I have ever written – healing for me and healing for my husband. I was “Hannah” in the story. Rick was “Doug”. He wasn’t in my life when I had an abortion. Sadly, Rick had to live through the consequences and aftermath with me. I lost three of his babies, largely due (I believe) to what the abortion does to a woman’s body. It was almost eight years after I became a Christian before I admitted I needed help. God kept reminding me, and I kept shutting down.

God had forgiven me. What I didn’t understand is how we can refuse to forgive ourselves. When I finally gave in to the Lord’s prodding, I went through the post-trauma Bible study at the local pregnancy counseling center while writing the book. Later, after the book was released, Rick went through a Bible study geared for men who live with post-abortive women. Rick and I grew closer. I told him things about my past that I had never shared before, and he had the compassion of Christ.

The year of writing the book was the most difficult of my writing career, but so many blessings came out of it – not the least of which was a much stronger and more loving marriage. What is it Annie Dillard said? “You have to stand in the darkness to see the stars.” I love that. It’s so true. We don’t have to be afraid of the darkness. God is standing right beside us.

I love the rippled jelly glasses, they’re ‘shabby chic’ country elegance at its best. Umm… what kind of jelly is this, exactly?

It’s my favorite jelly -- homemade quince. Hard to find now. I order it from a catalog. Grandma used to make quince jelly every year from fruit off her own tree. I never realized what an act of love it was. Quince is one of the hardest fruits to work with – but, oh,my, the jelly that comes from that bitter fruit is sweeter than honey. (I think there’s a spiritual lesson in this jelly.)

Thank you for dropping by for a visit, Ruthy! I’ve loved chatting with you and the Seekersville ladies about writing and life. God bless each of you. Write on!! Proverbs 3:5-6!

You know, just reading your answers gives me that cozy Francine feeling I had in Denver, and when I e-mailed you that first time years back. Francine, you have a blessed gift of insight and acceptance that makes people feel welcome at your table, at your door. God has blessed you with that and blessed us with your sharing nature. And I get all ver klempt during Holy Week so I’ll say no more, just…. Thank you, dear woman.

Friends of Seekerville, come on in, try some of my homemade bread and Francine’s quince jelly. Mary’s fresh butter. Cara’s Florida berries.

My kids used to love homemade bread spread with homemade jam (although our favorite was sour cherry jam) and it’s such a simple, old-fashioned feast. Grab a mug or a glass and help yourself to whatever suits this day.

Don’t you just feel like you were tucked at Francine’s table, sharing stories, sharing life? And the purple finches???? Oh my stars, the upside of not being the neatest thing going is that if you leave your artificial Christmas wreaths up on your door, these sweet songsters will nest right in your wreath, while it's on the door. Seriously. How sweet is that????

And please leave us a comment to be entered in a drawing for Francine's newest release, Her Mother's Hope. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment, or if you'd prefer to have it unpublished, send it to me at It will go no further. Promise.

And Francine is on book tour right now, so we're not sure if she's going to be able to physically 'drop by' today. We'll leave that up to her and her schedule while she's promoting this long-awaited release.


Debra E Marvin said...

Thank you Ruthy and Francine. This was just such a blessing.

The Last Sin-Eater is an amazing, amazing book and movie. The idea of Redeeming Love as a movie is. . .wow.

Other than wow, I'm at a loss for words.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb Marvin at a loss for words...

Quick, Tina... Jot down the date and time, won't you, dear??? Maybe bronze it for posterity???


And Deb, I felt the same way when I thought about Redeeming Love as a movie, then wondered...

Can they do it? And do it justice? I have a hard time imagining the poignancy of Francine's words in that book coming alive on the screen, BUT... how wonderful would it be if it did? How many hungry hearts would that reach? Souls to nourish about love and forgiveness, redemption, promise and hope????

In God's hands. In his time.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

LOL, good morning Seekerville.

Coffee is made while Ruth is busy hostessing.

Welcome to Seekerville Francine and thank you for sharing so generously with us.

Jessica Nelson said...

Woohoo! What an awesome interview! There's so much here that I don't even know what to comment. LOL Thank you guys for an amazing, fun interview! Loved it and it's fun to learn more about one of my favorite authors. :-)

Camy Tang said...

Thanks so much for coming to Seekerville, Francine! You're always so inspiring to me when you talk about your struggles as a writer and a Christian. (Oh, and I met your daughter Shannon at ICRS one year and she was so nice!)

Great interview, Ruthy! You always ask good questions! Much better than anything I could come up with. ("Uh ... what's your favorite ice cream flavor?")


Debby Giusti said...

Such an honor to have you join us in Seekerville! Thank you, Ruthy, for inviting Francine and providing such delightful refreshments this morning.

My book club is reading REDEEMING LOVE this month at my suggestion. I was one of the few people on earth who hadn't read it...until a few weeks ago. Oh my gosh, as Ruthy would say. I've never had a work of fiction impact me spiritually with such a sense of the Divine. God inspired that work, Francine. No doubt!

I'm eager to read The Atonement Child and your latest release. In fact, I'm planning to read all of your books.

Thank you for being open to the Lord. Thank you for what has gone before, which brought you to where you are today.

Asking the Lord to bless you with long life so we can enjoy many, many more of your wonderful stories.

Audra Harders said...

Amazing interview! Thank you Ruthy and Francine for sharing insight into an author God has worked mightily through.

Denver 2004 is turning out to be a banner year all around. Not only did I meet MANY Seekers at that conference, but I also exchanged greetings with Francine in a hallway. Sweet, sweet lady gave me her undivided attention as we chatted. Wow.

When I grow up, I want to be just like Francine Rivers.

Ruthy, your skills of interviewing are legend. Or maybe it's just that you feed the masses. Either way, thanks for bringing Francine to Seekerville!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Welcome to Seekerville Francine and thanks Ruthy for bringing her.

Francine I had the privilege of sitting with you at the 2004 ACFW conference at dinner. Meeting you was the highlight of that conference. Like you, I've published BC and am thankful for your helpful advice.

I am looking forward to your new release.

Okay, okay, meeting the Seekers was a highlight too. smile

Yvonne said... meet Francine Rivers!

Francine, I am so impressed by your humble attitude. I battle with the fine line between being excited and proud of my writing accomplishments. (although I'm only starting)

May I use this quote as a reminder of where my heart should be?

" God is the one we want to please. I’m one of those people who would love to please everyone, so it’s better if I keep my audience to One. All I can do is put heart and soul into my work and leave what happens with it to Him."

I often told my students that the book is always better than the movie, but the movie of "The Last Sin Eater" was spetacularly done. It followed the story so closely, it portrayed it exactly how I imagined it. I've reccommended it to many other people. Is Michael Landon's son directing "Redeeming Love" also?

Here's my email to hopes to win "Mother's Love."

Thank you so much for doing this interview, Ruth. It has renewed my zeal to be a Christian writer.

Ruth said...

What a wonderful interview. A Voice in the Wind is one of my all-time favorite novels. I can't even begin to describe the impact that book has had on me. ruthellenanderson (at) gmail (dot) com - thanks!

Melanie Dickerson said...

WOW! This is such an awesome interview. Thank you Ruthy and Francine! I feel like I've just done my Beth Moore lesson for the day. :-)

I have to say, the story behind Her Mother's Hope hits really close to home, in a way. But I would love to read it. Redeeming Love is one of my all-time favorite books. I read it right after I realized I wanted to write Christian romance, and I was so in awe of how you made me connect with the characters and feel for them.

Thanks again for the wonderful words of wisdom, Francine!

melaniedickerson at knology dot net

Missy Tippens said...

What a wonderful interview! Thank you so much for being with us today, Frannie. You're an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

a fabulous posting...

i absolutely loved 'redeeming love'...truly a classic.

looking forward to reading your latest masterpiece.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Lisa Jordan said...

Blinking back tears here...God forgives us, but we often refuse to forgive ourselves speaks to my heart.

Thanks so much, Ruthy and Francine, for a sweet, sweet interview.

lisajordanbooks at yahoo dot com

Lindsey said...

I have been so excited about this day for weeks and is finally here!:)
As I knew I would be I am just overwhelmed wow! What a great Spiritual lesson and help!
Thank you for what a blessing and encouragement this blog post has been!
And Ruthy you brought fresh baked bread which I have always wanted to try, and I have never tried it, but the jelly sounds awesome as well:)
Please enter me in the contest to win Her Mother's Hope I read Redeeming Love the other day the first one of her's I have read and loved It!
And I would love the chance to win Her Mother's Hope:)

Julie Lessman said...

Thank you, Francine, for spending time with us today -- the anointing of God is evident, not only in your (HIS) amazing books, but in this beautiful interview.

Like Ruthy, I had the privilege and honor of meeting you at the ACFW 2004 conference (sat at your table for dinner), and your message that weekend is still impacting my life today.

I must admit, however, at being somewhat puzzled at the time because you made the comment that not only do you NOT enter contests or read reviews, but you didn't even look at your royalty statements. You said you opted to leave that to your husband because you did not want to focus on your success or the money you made. I'll say it right here and now that as an unpublished writer at the time, I did NOT understand ANY of this and simply wrote it off as you acquiring levels of humility and godliness that I could never hope to attain.

I have since become a published writer, and for the first time I finally understand your mindset. If I could delete ANYTHING from the life of being an author, it would be to lobotomize myself from the focus on contests, reviews, rankings and sales. It is by far, the most devious thing I have ever encountered in my entire Christian walk, and I struggle with it DAILY. So much so, that there are days (weeks) when I wish I had never written a book at all.

So thank you for being an incredible example of doing it right -- or as right as possible for a fallible human being. As published and soon-to-be published writers, we need THAT lesson far more than all the writing tips in the world.

Oh, to live the words of John the Baptist -- that He may become more and I become less. Thank you, Francine, for encouraging us in this path AND showing us that it IS possible, but ONLY in Him.


Keli Gwyn said...

Thank you, Ruthy and Francine, for a wonderful interview. Great questions and heartfelt, honest answers.

I hope Redeeming Love does make it to the big screen in a way that does the story justice so more people can be impacted by its truths. Since these friends aren't readers, they could still get the blessing this way.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the "real" Francine Rivers.

Nora St. Laurent said...

THANKS for the interview and a chance to get to know Francine a little better and what a great insight into her books.

I'm really looking forward to reading her new book.


Nora :D
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Pepper Basham said...

Okay, I'm crying at work. (not to mention visiting Seekerville ;-)And my makeup looked so good today. sigh...

It's worth it. Wow.
This was absolutely beautiful. Francine, Ruthy... the spirit of this focus is Christ.

Francine, you were so great at getting to the 'heart' of why we do what we do. That should change our perspective completely - about how we respond to writing and the things that happen in our lives.

I hope to someday write a book that inspires God's forever love like Redeeming love inspired me. It's one of my annual readers, and each time I close the book in awe of how much God loves me. How much he forgives.
It truly is WONDERful.

Ruthy - what a great interview and opportunity. I think I would have left after an interview like that and really done some soul searching - Spirit surgery ;-)
Wow - it makes all the disappointment from a contest seem miniscule compared to God's great plan for our lives. What HE can inspire in us in His time.
I'm humbled - and am going to eat some yummy jelly then go wipe the raccoon marks from under my eyes.

Janet Dean said...

Thank you for this chock full of wisdom interview, Francine and Ruthy!

Your fabulous books reveal your heart and love of the Lord, Francine. I'm looking forward to reading Her Mother's Hope!

I attended my first ACFW conference in 2005 so missed you as the keynote speaker by one year. A regret of mine. This interview was a huge blessing.


Debra E Marvin said...

I'm back.

no longer at a loss for words-

this interview forever changed the way I look at what I do.

Pepper Basham said...

Amen, Debra. Amen
(oops, supposed to be working)

Mary Connealy said...

Terrific interview. I really enjoyed your talk at ACFW the year you were keynote speaker, Francine.
I consider your Mark of the Lion trilogy a true achievement in fiction, one of my favorite series ever.

Casey said...

Wow, this was a great interview. I really love how you say you write for the Audience of One, that is my most important goal. Thank you for sharing this interview. What a perfect start to my writing morning. :)


Carla Gade said...

What a wonderful interview! Thank you Francine for coming to Seekerville!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Guys, what a pleasure to see everyone here so early! And I brought more bread, fresh from the cookstove (I love words like "mayhap"... "cookstove"...) and Mary just brought in another bowl of fresh-churned butter.

(Y'all realize Mary raises BEEF cattle and has probably NEVER churned butter in her life,, right??? But since she writes western historicals, I decided she SHOULD churn some, just for today.)

There's fresh coffee, too.

And Deb, Pepper, I'm with you guys. I read Francine's answers as I was blocking things in, and one of them literally slapped me upside the head, reminding me to stop being a jerk.

And it was such a vivid, perfect reminder, that I knew who was giving me the wake up call through Francine.

So I'm not a bit surprised that this is happening. Not a smidge.

Grab some more coffee... Butter Toffee today. And French Vanilla.

Oh my. So good.


Linda Glaz said...

Excellent article. Thank you Francine for sharing so much. You helped explain something my son, as a writer, and my daughter and son-in-law as actors have tried to explain to me before. They are Christians who write and act, but their message is often subtle so that they can reach the secular market with "truth" which in the end comes from Jesus anyway, but you explained it so well. Thanks much.

Rose said...

Holy week is the perfect week for us to read this wonderful interview, especially the part about forgiveness!

Thank you Francine for sharing your time. Thank you Ruthy for setting this interview up.

It's truly inspiring!

RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Wonderful interview - thank You Ruthy & Francine!

I especially like when Francine said, "If a novel or non-fiction book changes someone, encourages them, or opens their hearts to Christ, that is their best book of the year whether it sold ten copies or a million."

Reminds me of my mantra "it's not about the money, it's about the message."

Althoug I've read nearly everything Francine has written, Redeeming Love & The Atonement Child are my two FAVORITES!

May God continue to bless you Francine, and everyone here at Seekerville as you continue working for HIM.

Please enter me in the drawing:


Laura Frantz said...

Bless you, Ruthy and Francine, I can't thank you enough for your words of encouragement today. As a newly published author I struggle with many of the things you've spoken of here. So glad we have a gracious God who meets us at our point of need and walks with us all the way! Your writing has been a light for me!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I met Francine at the same conference that you did, and I came away with the same feeling about her as a woman of God. That meeting blessed me so much.

I know there are a lot of comments and I don't have much of a chance to win the book, but I'd like to.

Linda said...

Francine is one of my favorite authors. Every book is intricately woven and speaks to the heart. Please enter me for her book. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Helen Gray said...

Ruthy and Francine:

Thank you both for an inspiring interview.

May we all examine our motives and follow God's guidance.


notjustlaura said...

Have just finished And the Shofar Blew and would love to read the latest!

Myra Johnson said...

What an inspiring interview, Francine & Rurhy! It realty helped put my writing life back into perspective.

Francine, I remember first meeting you at a Mount Hermon conference about 10 years ago and being blessed by your sweet and unassuming nature. So glad I had the chance to be there when you spoke at ACFW!!

misskallie2000 said...

Ruthy and Francine,
WOW, absolutely awesome review.
Thank you for stopping by. Francine, I have not read any of your books but have added them to my to buy list. Since I've retired, I have to be careful with my book buying but I am going to the library to see if I can find some of your books.
Camy was my introduction to you. Thanks Camy.
I wish you continued good luck in your writing and you gave me some things to think about and act on.


misskallie2000 at yahoo dot cvom

Steena Holmes said...

Thanks for inviting me to join your table :) This group, this interview, these ladies - you are all such a blessing!

I remember reading the Atonement Child and being told it was a personal story, but I don't think it every sunk in until now. It's time for a re-read :)

I would love to be in for Francine's new book.

Nikki Studebaker Barcus said...

Loved this interview. I've never been disappointed with a Francine Rivers book, but I think that is because they are all really God's books. I've recommended "Redeeming Love" more times than I can say. I'd love to see it made as a movie.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Thank you for this beautiful post today, Francine. Truly inspiring.

I'm afraid I've never read one of your books before, although I've heard your name bantered about in the most revered tones. LOL!
Now my next mission is to read "Redeeming Love". I'm sure it will speak to me as it has to so many others. And your newest book sounds excellent too, as I struggle with the mother/daughter issues many of us have. You're a brave woman to tackle that 'huge' subject.

Thank you for being a shining example of what we are aspiring to (us unpubbed writers).


sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

mary bailey said...

Thank you so much for this interview, Francine!

When I first became a Christ-follower, God let me know that He was not happy with the fiction I was reading. I was not happy with it, either. It was dark and filled with violence and despair (but considered "very good" contemporary literature). I was afraid to read Christian fiction because I thought it would be boring. But then God lead me to Redeeming Love! I discovered that Christian fiction is thrilling and it has become my steady diet of reading material. Thank you, Francine, for allowing God to use your writing to advance His kingdom.

Ruthy, thanks for asking Francine these questions---great interview! Please don't enter me to win as I already have my copy of Her Mother's Hope.

Kathleen L. Maher said...

This may be a bit presumptuous, but Francine, if you read these posts, would you bless us? Would you pray the anointing that resides in you and your writing to fall on us, so that we could herald our Lord's message with the impact that you have? It is all about Him, and not us anyway. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a new generation of writers that received your mantle, like Elisha received Elijah's?
Forgive my presumption, but I believe in impartation. The world needs all of us to be the very best we can be for Him.
Thank you, and God bless you! May your work continue to do exploits for heaven.

Patty said...

Thank you for such gracious conversation and a wonderful spread! Ruthy, you did a fantastic job as usual.

And Francine, thanks for your testimony to God's amazing grace. You have always been so kind to me every time we've met, first at the ACFW conference then at a writer's conference in Grand Rapids a couple of years ago. Thank you for answering God's call in your life.


Lynette Eason said...

Ruthy and Francine, what a wonderful interview. I feel so blessed and just want to say: I wanna be like Francine when I grow up!

I have a book that released this month and have just been swamped in marketing, interviews, and meeting MORE deadlines, that my focus has been totally skewed. Thank you for setting me straight!

And for the reminder that the audience of ONE is the only audience we need to please. I think I'm going to print that quote and hang it on my computer. And my bathroom mirror. And the center of my steering wheel. And...well, you get the idea.

Again, thanks to both of you for bringing me closer to the Lord today.

God Bless!


Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Wow what an amazing story! The only book I've read by Ms. Rivers is Redeeming Love and all I could say after I finished it was yowzahs...what a book! What a story! What a talented author! I am very excited to read more of her books and I am super excited for the movie! I hope it gets released!!!!

XOXO~ Renee


Pamela Mason said...

Thank you so much for your words today. Like another Seeker, your words on God's forgiveness and how difficult it is to forgive ourselves hit right on target with me. And what a blessing of untold grace when we do take that leap of faith to accept forgiveness, forgive ourselves, and then turn that sin into a work of redemption and live our faith out loud?
I read the excerpt for Ber Mother's Hope on your website-- I have the feeling it will hit on target with me as well.
Have a blessed Easter, Francine.
And you too, Ruthy.

Julia said...

I loved reading this interview. Francine, Redeeming Love is my favorite Christian book. I am excited that it will be a movie, what a way to reach more people for the Gospel. However, so often with books I love I am reluctant to see the movie versions. Please enter me...I can't wait to read another Rivers.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

It was you guys who come to Seekerville and a veterinary receptionist that put me on Francine's trail this year.

I knew she'd been busy with lots of things. I knew (and this is on her website so it's not private) that her husband had some health problems. I had wanted to ask her last year, but kept hesitating, not wanting to intrude.

And then we asked YOU!!!! WHO DO YOU WANT US TO HAVE VISIT SEEKERVILLE???? AUTHOR/ADVISOR/AGENT/EDITOR... The overwhelming choice for author was Francine.

Still I hesitated, wondering if it was a good time. Despite my outward panache (brazen and not a little arrogant... at times...) I really try to be sensitive to peoples' time frames, their lives. And then I walked into the vet's office that week to get puppy meds. The new little gal behind the counter heard I was being published. When I told her that it was in Christian romance, she got this funny look on her face that's normally followed by something like, "Oh. That."

But, no. She turned to the other new girl and said, "I just read this most amazing book by a lady like her. (AS IF!!!) It was about this woman who'd done all kinds of things and still married this guy and it was the most beautiful story I've ever read in my life. I don't normally read things like that, but I loved this book so much!"

Well, you guessed it. When I asked her what the name was, she said, "Redeeming Love."

I figured if the Holy Spirit was bombarding me with Francine left and right, that it was time to ask and let her decide if blogging with us was a good idea. I was delighted when she said yes...

But also glad that I waited, that I put my impetuous nature on hold. Sometimes God wants us to do that, and we know that's one of my downfalls.

Hey, I brought some old time desserts for afternoon tea.... Flan.... So yummy!!!!

And creme brulee'.... Which is a fancy kind of flan....

Strawberry cheese strudel....

Cheese stuffed cannolis.

And Seeker hugs for all.

Tina Pinson said...

Thanks Francine and Ruth,

What a wonderful post, filled with alot of depth and insight.

I have been trying to make myself as you would say more than a Christian who writes but a Christian writer.

It is a progress.

Reading this brought tears to my eyes, just to my eyes... LOL. Not because of my writing, but because of life in general.

Here lately when I think of the debt (for taxes) hanging over our company, I feel like the darkness is enveloping me, sucking the breath right of me. Then I read what you quoted from Annie Dillard

“You have to stand in the darkness to see the stars.”

Francine, I love that too... and think you so much for the reminder that even when it feels the darkness, God is standing right next to us.

I appreciate your gentle spirit and willingness to share what God has taught you.


Tina Pinson said...

By the way...
I already purchased your latest book, Francine.

I'm going to put my name in and if I'm chosen we'll send it along to someone else. Or perhaps keep the line open till the next installment of the story. LOL

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Thank you Francine and Ruthy for this fantastic interview. Wonderful to get to know Francine better through Ruthy's questions and her heartfelt responses. I picked up a copy of Redeeming Love at the library when it came out not knowing it was a Christian novel. Her powerful story based on a Biblical character won me over to Christian fiction. I hope it's made into a film. I saw the film version of The Last Sin Eater and enjoyed it, too. God's blessing on your book tour, Francine.


KC Frantzen said...

Miz Francine (that's how people talk around here) - thank you for stopping by. Grace is evident in your work and your life. What a blessing.

Lovely comments from you and from those seated around the table today.

I'm a writer who is a Christian, yet I hope to point all to Christ in my work, even if subtly. Time will tell but you've given us such great reminders on how to focus. Thank you so much for your time (and the jelly). Yum.

And all the fixins everyone.

Pepper - try Cover Girl Marathon Mascara in the green tube. I know from experience. GREAT stuff. :)

And Ruthy, you are NEVER (nor could be) 'a jerk', as evidenced in this interview. Well DONE! Thanks for listening to His call. (A vet's office no less!)

Timing is something I still work on DAILY. sigh

ksf895 at citlink dot net

Have a wonderful celebration of Passover and Easter everyone!

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Great interview--thank you!


Tina F. said...

Such a wonderful interview. I love what she has to say about reviews and I really admire how she takes a stand. Love her books.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

KC, you're such a hoot...

Miz KC, should I say???

And Debbie and Tina, glad you stopped by! And yeah, I love Francine's stuff. Her gentility AND her writing.

In McDonald's terms, she's a #1 Combo Meal with a sweet drink o' water. ;)

Narelle Atkins said...

Ruthy and Francine, thanks for a wonderful and inspiring interview. We can get so distracted by worldly things and forget that we write for an audience of one - thanks for the reminder :-)

Caroline said...

I never tho't I'd meet another person so gracious and humble as Liz Curtis Higgs, but I'll have to put Francine on that list too now.

Wonderful interview w/touching parts & lots of inspiration to exceed our daily goals.

Thanks so much for sharing this interview w/us. I would LOVE to win this book.

A J Hawke said...

I appreciated the interview but one thing stood out. The difference between a Christian writer and a Christian who writes. I liked that you said neither was right or wrong, just be aware of what your purpose is. Thanks for that insight.
Thanks also for the chance to win a copy of the book.
A J Hawke

Cindy W. said...

Wow! Great interview and opportunity to get to 'know' Francine Rivers. Please enter me into the giveaway and thank you so very much for the opportunity.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Cara Lynn James said...

Fantastic interview, Francine and Ruthy!

Cara Lynn James said...

Fantastic interview, Francine and Ruthy!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I have read all of Francine's book and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Please enter me for this one. Thanks!!

Karla Akins said...

I have been a Francine Rivers fan from the very beginning of her career!

Teri Dawn Smith said...

My daughter had a friend in college who didn't know the Lord. This friend went to the library one day wanting to read a romance. She found one that looked interesting: Redeeming Love. After reading it, this friend was so touched she decided she should go to church. She and her husband are now the Lord's and attend church regularly. All from Redeeming Love!

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks for the great interview. I'd like to put my name in the draw. valerie at valeriecomer dot com.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I understand we almost crashed the Blogger server several times today. We had THAT MANY LURKERS. Go lurkers. Go Francine.

Thanks for being with us!!

Rose McCauley said...

I was moved by FRancine's humility and closeness to the Lord when I met her at the same ACFW conference. That same feeling came over me as I read this interview. Thanks to both of you for sharing so openly. I'd love to win this book! crmcc at setel do com

Diane Marie Shaw said...

What a wonderful interview. I understand your comment about being awestruck. Francine is a gifted author. Redeeming Love was the first book I read by her. I recently finished The Last Sin Eater and am presently reading A Voice in the Wind.
My daughter-in-law is reading Her Mother's Hope on her Kindle.
I'd love the opportunity to win her newest book.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

This post blessed and challenged me more than anything has in a long time.

Thanks doesn't seem like enough, but Francine, THANK YOU for coming to share your heart and wisdom with us in Seekerville.

Everything you said made me think and I love your take on reviews and contests. Thanks again.


Katie Ganshert said...

Oh my goodness, what an amazing interview! I didn't realize Francine had another book out. I must go buy it on Amazon right now. God uses her stories to touch my heart in such an amazing way!!

Michael Ehret said...

As you know, Ruthy, Francine's The Last Sin Eater, is the book that convinced me Christian fiction could be "more" -- and could be something for me. Still working on that.

Every time I read something about Francine, I am encouraged. There is something about her words ... they are embued with the Holy Spirit whether in a novel or in an interview. So glad you had her.

opusmle (at) gmail )dot) com

Stacy said...

Thanks for hanging out with Francine, Ruthy, and letting us eavesdrop! Francine is my all-time favorite author for so many reasons (I can't seem to shake her characters after reading her books). Now that I've gotten to hang out in her kitchen and see what a humble, faith-filled servant she is, I'm even more impressed.

Thanks, gals!

Kim said...

OH RUTHY!! What an absolute treat this was to read! Francine is as warm and genuine as I thought she would be!! Thank you soooo much for sharing this!!

I just got my copy of this new treasure of a book and can't wait to jump in and start reading!!

Tracy Krauss said...

What a lovely interview.Francine Rivers has always been one of my favorite Christian authors.Her work is so REAL, with a strong message, but never comes across as 'sappy'.(I don't like 'sappy'!) Her work is so inspiring and listening to her responses was just as inspiring. thank you.

Bonnie Leon said...

Love this interview! I could feel the power of the Holy Spirit through Francine's words, so like her books.

Thank you, Francine.

Grace and peace to you.

PatriciaW said...

A wonderful interview. I can see how Redeeming Love became such a masterpiece. Ms. Rivers simply is honest through her words, and by being so, inspirational to many.

Tamara said...

I would love to be entered into this contest, I love Francine Rivers :) thanks

genea10gist10ra said...

Redeeming Love was the first Christian-based book I read, fiction or non-fiction, aside from the Bible. A friend I hadn't known for long told me about the book. I can honestly say it's one of my favorite books of all time. How many times I cried while reading the book as God gave me greater understanding of His words in Hosea by way of Francine's work of obedience. Thank you to Francine and thank you to my friend who introduced me to her!