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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Spotlight on Sharon Hinck and Renovating Becky Miller

RENOVATING BECKY MILLER
By Sharon Hinck
Bethany House Publishing (2/2007)
# ISBN-10: 0764201301
# ISBN-13: 978-0764201301
320 pages including movie list and discussion guide

Becky Miller believes in fixing things: children, friends, mother-in-law, sister, church . . . and her husband. So renovating a run-down farmhouse is right up her alley--the perfect antidote for the pressures of modern life.

But Becky's pursuit of the simple life is soon threatened. Her mother-in-law moves in, her son finds trouble at school, her sister arrives for a visit, her best friend is acting weird, all while work stresses mount. Worst of all, her marriage is in need of some major remodeling of its own.

Cinematic daydreams provide Becky with heroic drama. Maybe that's why she escapes into the scenes so often. In real life, everything is a muddled mess.

Who knew one old house could lead them to the brink of bankruptcy? Or that Becky's physical handicap could threaten to steal their dream?

Can Becky stop fixing everyone else and let God renovate her heart so she can find her own happy ending?

1. Book #2 in your Becky Miller series. The first captured the funny bone of your readers while hitting the mark on balancing being a supermom with everything else life throws at you. Now, Becky's back with some changes. What gave you the inspiration for this one?

Hi, Amber! Thanks for inviting me to visit today!

My husband and I are idealistic do-it-your-selfers who get in over our heads all the time. With Becky's tendencies to dream big, I thought it would be fun seeing her take on the optimistic challenge of renovating an old house. And it was a good symbol for the ongoing heart-renovation that God was working in her life.

2. What is your favorite experience that influenced the character of Becky? What aspects became traits that were hers and hers alone?

I'm a wife, mom of four, have done church work (many many years ago), and have survived several major home remodeling projects. I'm also part of a small group women's Bible study. Those life experiences helped me understand some of what drives Becky. But she's her own woman. And even though she cares deeply for others and tries to fix problems that aren't hers to fix (which I can relate to) she is better at saying, "no" than I am. She's also braver at taking on new challenges—especially spontaneously opening her home.

3. What themes exist in Renovating Becky Miller that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I used to be a choreographer, and was always struck by how audience members brought themselves into a work and interpreted it through their unique perspective. I think novels function in the same way. Readers of the first novel have written me to say that they read a section to their husband to help explain the insecurities they felt as a woman, while others were encouraged by the example of someone battling a physical disability, while others told me they re-examined their parenting after reading the book. I hope God will use this second book in similar diverse ways. It's a fun, fast-paced, whacky story—but the challenges Becky faces ring true. I don't write with an intention of showing the best way to be a mom, wife, friend, or servant of Christ. I write about the struggles my friends and I face daily. Yet as the fictional characters explore those problems and questions, watching their choices and experiences can bring inspiration, courage, and insights.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Scenes with my favorite characters suffering are the most difficult to write. I end up caring about them like friends, and I feel cruel writing all the tough things that are part of the story arc. I love writing the scenes where God shows up in surprising ways...through the words of an unexpected person, a small act of kindness, or a whispered answer during a prayer time.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The Restorer releases in May from NavPress, and is about a soccer-mom pulled through a portal into another universe where she is called upon to fill a role like the biblical Deborah for a nation that is threatened on every side and struggling to follow the One. Susan is a heroine I think we can all identify with—and even though the storyline is more of an adventure/fantasy than the mom-lit style of the Becky Miller books, it contains many similar elements of a woman who is a wife and mom, and seeking to serve God on some difficult paths—and a profound journey of faith.

* * * * *

Thank you, Sharon, for joining us here at A Fiction-Filled Life. Readers, don't forget to enter a comment for your chance at a FREE autographed copy of Sharon's latest release. Sharon will be here to respond and chat with you.

I also encourage you to visit the other blogs as part of this tour. Travel with other blog readers and posters and enter for more chances to win a free copy of this book. :) Here's the rest of the schedule:

February 8, 2007 Camy Tang
February 9, 2007 Meredith Efken
February 10, 2007 Cara Putnam
February 11, 2007 Tricia Goyer
February 12, 2007 Robin Miller
February 13, 2007 Cheryl Wyatt
February 14, 2007 Novel Journey
February 15, 2007 Mary DeMuth
February 16, 2007 Jennifer Tiszai
February 17, 2007 Margaret Daley
February 18, 2007 Pamela James
February 19, 2007 Alison Strobel
February 20, 2007 Tasra Dawson
February 21, 2007 Danica Favorite
February 22, 2007 Deborah Khuanghlawn
February 23, 2007 Niki Nowell
February 24, 2007 Dan Case
February 25, 2007 Katrina
February 26, 2007 Melanie Dobson
February 27, 2007 Valerie Comer
February 28, 2007 Narelle Mollet
March 5, 2007 Julie Carobini

19 comments:

Cherie said...

Welcome Sharon! Great Interview! The Restorer sounds great! I love the time travel into biblical times aspect. Will you be doing more of those type of books?

Cherie Japp

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Cherie!
I LOVE speculative fiction, but we'll have to see how the books do.
It's not actually time-travel. The heroine enters an alternate universe, where she fills a role SIMILAR to Deborah - but it's a completely unique world/history/setting.

However, for a GREAT Biblical time-travel, have you read Randy Ingermanson's books Transgression, Premonition, and Retribution? AWESOME time travel into first century Christianity.

Jennifer Y. said...

Welcome! Great interview...your books sound wonderful!

The Restorer sounds especially fascinating.

Thanks for the recommendations as well. I will have to try and check out those books.

Jill Elizabeth Nelson said...

Whoo-hoo! Congrats on the new release, Sharon.

I love your Becky Miller books, but you've outdone yourself with Restorer.

People should run, not walk, to their nearest bookstore (or click up Amazon or CBD hyperquick) when the book becomes available.

Deena said...

I look forward to The Restorer...since i just LOVE Becky...and Sharon!!

Sharon Hinck said...

Even though Minnesota is bitter cold today, you guys have totally warmed my heart. Thanks!

Katie Hart said...

Finally got to read The Secret Life of Becky Miller . . . after hearing about it for months! Of course, I have books piling up in my room like zucchini in summer - I just began packing up my 8th box of books I don't have room for but can't bear to sell - and that's with 50 feet of shelf space available!

Renovating . . . sounds like a great read. My family redid much of a Victorian-era home several years back - and being the oldest of nine I can imagine how hard that is with little ones running around!

Cherie said...

Thanks for explaining it to me Sharon. Sounds great!

Cherie Japp

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi,Katie!
My husband would DROOL to fix up an old Victorian home.

Cherie, you're very welcome!

anicz said...

Hi Sharon,

I didn't really read The Secret Life of Becky Miller because I didn't find it very interesting at first but our bookclub leader (Rachelle) read it to us and discussed it with the group and I eventually liked it. The struggles are so real and they make me think about how my mom is able to cope with her own challenges (having 5 kids, 3 of which have incurable diseases). It's very inspirational and just want to let you know that it has touched a lot of lives, including mine. I wish to win this new book, Renovating Becky Miller so this time around, I'd be the one to share to my group. God bless you Sharon.

Anicz
malechronlcie [at] yahoo.com

sheina said...

Thanks for the great interview. I would love to win a copy of this book! It sounds really good!

sheina (xypher27 At yahoo.com)

franz said...

Another entertaining interview! I have the Secret Life of Becky Miller and it was fun reading it.. peering through a woman's mind. Is it what they call women's fiction? My sis lent it to me.


franciz678 @ yahoo.com

Sharon Hinck said...

Anicz - thank you so much for your comment! I was so excited when Rachelle asked me to send a copy to the Philippines. And it's okay if it didn't seem interesting at first. Some people like stories that are pure escape, and this one deals with some real-life kinds of problems...more of a peek into one woman's challenges in day-to-day life. There are days that I like that kind of story, but other days that I don't. :-)

I'm so delighted you found inspiration in it.

Franz - the genre is often called "mom-lit" (literature from the point of view of a mom with some humor as well as realism) but I think ALL people wrestle with wondering if they are making a difference with their life, or feeling inadequate - so it's not just for moms. I'm glad you enjoyed the peek into a woman's view of life. :-)

franz said...

Ahh, I see! Thanks for the clarification Sharon. If I may ask, do you write in other genre?

Sharon Hinck said...

Yep - I have a fantasy series coming out beginning in May. The first book is called The Restorer.

Kimberlee said...

Wow, how exciting! A fantasy series? Is it still Christian fiction?


Kim (",)

Myrh said...

I haven't read any of your books yet but would love to read if I get a chance. Great interview by the way!

Myrh

Rachelle said...

Hi Sharon,

I'd just like to thank you for the free copy of The Secret Life of Becky Miller. Everyone in the group loved it and we're looking forward to your coming releases. They're saying "hi" to you.
(waving)

Rachelle and the LLS Bookclub

Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Sorry for the delay in posting the winner. Wanted to wait until a bit more of the blog tour was underway. Just 3 more days left with chances on every stop on the tour.

If you don't win here, I hope you'll post at the other stops for a chance. I've listed the schedule at the bottom of the spotlight.

And without further ado....the winner is....

Sheina!

Congratulations! Send me your mailing address and contact information so Sharon can get her book out to you.

Thanks for all the great comments and particiation folks. Come back and visit again soon!