Juanita: Hello, Rosemary, It’s so nice to be able to visit with you today. I know we’re going to have a great time as we get to know you.
Rosemary: Thanks, Juanita! I’m looking forward to our time together and the privilege of being a guest on your blog.
Juanita: I found your books on an e-Reader list and am so glad I downloaded and read them. Your three-book series was wonderful—up-to-date and so relevant to today. The setting was modern America, present-day, and dealt with problems everyone has heard about. Please tell us about them.
Rosemary: I’m glad you enjoyed them. Since you’ve read all three, you know that they are realistic, contemporary Christian fiction. My goal was to create a seamless story line that spanned all three books. I’ve been told they are page-turners, with many readers reporting they stayed up late to finish reading. That’s music to an author’s ears! J
Juanita: Did you always aspire to be an author? Will you tell us why you wanted to write these books and what you want people to take away from them?
Rosemary: Becoming a writer was never on my radar growing up. Although I’ve always been an avid reader and found that words flowed easily for me, my career goal was focused on teaching.
I didn’t become a Christian until I was 30 years old, choosing New Age beliefs instead. One day I was praying and expressing my regret to God about how I had wasted those first 30 years trying to live without Him. I’d even mocked Christians as out-dated and narrow-minded.
As I expressed my regrets in prayer, God impressed on my heart that He was going to redeem the years the locusts had eaten away. As a new believer, I had no idea that was actually a Bible verse from the Old Testament book of Joel. Then He gave me an inspiration to use the gift of writing and my life experiences from those first thirty years to help others understand His grace, mercy, and love.
Initially, I hesitated, not seeing myself as an author. But bit-by-bit God dismantled my excuses and fed me the stories that became the Sandy Cove series.
My hope and prayer is that He uses these books to make a spiritual impact on believers and non-believers alike. For believers, I hope Michelle’s journey through New Age deception will help them understand this false religion and be better equipped to share Jesus with family members and friends who have been seduced by its tantalizing lies. For non-believers, I hope it will open their eyes to who God really is and the only truth that can truly set them free.
Juanita: How much of your own life did you write into this series? How true to your life was the heroine of Out of a Dream, Michelle Baron?
Rosemary: First let me say I believe that fiction authors are most effective in their storytelling when they write about struggles and conflicts they have faced in their own lives. That said, each of Michelle’s trials are trials I have experienced, but her story is definitely her own, and she has her own unique responses to these circumstances and struggles.
Juanita: How easy is it for people to become taken in by the New Age Movement?
Rosemary: For those who have never experienced a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ, the New Age system of beliefs is very enticing. It gives followers the flexibility to basically design their own religion and create their own personal god, suited to their lifestyles and desires. In our contemporary culture, that kind of self-power is very appealing. Plus, New Age beliefs espouse “tolerance” for all beliefs, a mindset that is advocated in our public life in America, including in our public schools.
Juanita: Tell us a little about your writing journey. How hard was it to get started on this road and where has it taken you?
Rosemary: Writing these novels was a seventeen-year journey. I wrote as God inspired me along the way, while I worked full time and raised a family. In addition to the writing process, I had to make decisions about publication, which required research and attending writers’ conferences. Once the books were published, I began the process of learning how to get the word out to potential readers through social media, advertising, and lots of prayer.
Juanita: Please tell us a little about yourself. Besides writing and reading, what do you like to do? I understand you were once a schoolteacher, as I was. I think your teaching experiences led to the writing of your third book, Into Magnolia.
Rosemary: My childhood dreams always revolved around being a wife, mother, and teacher. God has graciously given me the opportunity to fulfill all of those dreams. My husband and I have been married for 37 years, we have two wonderful children — a daughter and a son — who are both married and live near us. Recently we became grandparents to two beautiful granddaughters now ages one and two.
My dream of teaching did not unfold easily. It was nearly derailed before it began by an anxiety disorder that crippled me for the first year after I obtained my credential. This was back in my New Age days, and I basically abandoned any hopes or plans for teaching.
After I became a Christian and began asking God to make me one of His servants, He answered, “Teach my children.” That was a very frightening thought for me. I resisted for awhile, but He patiently and gently led me one baby step at a time back into the classroom, beginning with a handful of preschoolers in a parent co-op on the beach, to an elementary position, and finally into my 15 years of teaching junior high English.
Those years as a junior high teacher gave me an opportunity to work some intensive interventions in the lives of kids who were struggling. Through my experiences, I saw the effects of broken homes, a limping foster care system, and the lack of character education and values on some very fragile kids. All of this contributed to the third novel in the series, Into Magnolia.
Juanita: Your second book, Through the Tears, dealt with the prevalent problem of infertility. I went through this with my daughter and thought you presented the problem very realistically. Why did you choose to write a novel with this topic?
Rosemary: When my husband and I first tried to start a family, we were hit with an unexpected diagnosis of infertility. Although the characters in Through the Tears were dealing with male infertility, ours was a case of sporadic ovulation coupled with endometriosis on my part. Eventually, surgery and fertility drugs succeeded, and we were able to have our daughter. Since endometriosis goes into remission during pregnancy and nursing, our son was a special surprise baby who was born 17 months after our daughter.
I wrote about this topic because there are so many people who struggle with it silently. I wanted to portray how this issue wrenches the hearts of those involved and becomes a consuming factor for them.
My prayer is that family members and friends, who are looking in from the outside, will have a deeper understanding and compassion for those in the midst of this struggle. I wish I had a dollar for every person who suggested I should just “relax” and then I would get pregnant! For those in the throes of medical issues, that is the very last thing they need to hear. I also hope and pray that those who are immersed in the heartache of infertility will find courage and hope from Michelle’s journey.
Juanita: And you certainly attained your goal, in my opinion. Having watched my infertile daughter suffer for many years, I can attest to that. Are you a member of a Writers’ group? How important do you think this is for people who desire to write?
Rosemary: I have been involved in several writers’ groups. It is a wonderful way to learn and grow as a writer, and I highly recommend trying it! If you don’t click with one group, don’t give up. Try another. Or start one yourself!
Juanita: I read these books in e-format. Are they also available in print? How can people get these books to read them?
Rosemary: My books are all available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats. They sell on most online vendors such as Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo, Apple Books, etc. For more information, your readers can visit the book page of my website, which provides some links for purchasing them. www.rosemaryhines.com/books
Juanita: Do you have any more books in the works? What are your plans for the future?
Rosemary: I have been praying about a fourth book in the Sandy Cove series and have an idea for a devotional/prayer book. My sister and I may co-write a stand-alone novel as well.
Juanita: Rosemary, thank you so much for being our guest today. We’ve enjoyed reading about you and your work. We’ll look forward to hearing from you in the coming years.
-----OK, Readers, Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment and your name will be entered in a drawing for one of Rosemary’s books. (If the "comments" don't work, please send me an email and I will enter your name.) The winner will receive a copy of Rosemary’s first book, Out of a Dream, in print or e-format (Winner's Choice). The winner will receive a link from Rosemary with instructions on how to download the book if you choose an e-book. Print book can only be mailed to U.S. addresses. Don’t forget to leave your email address so you can be notified if you are the winner.My email is mjnobles