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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blog Spotlight - Gina Holmes and Crossing Oceans

Don't forget the new rules of the spotlights here. Random questions will be inserted in each spotlight for you to find and answer in the comments in order to be entered. So, be on the lookout!


GINA HOLMES began her career penning articles and short stories in 1998. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans released April/May 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers. To learn more about her, visit: or

by Gina Holmes
Published by Tyndale House


Sometimes love demands the impossible

Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain . . . or makes it harder to cross. Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love to change everything—to heal old hurts, to bring new beginnings . . . even to overcome the impossible.



"Beautiful and heartfelt."
Charles Martin, NYT bestselling author of Where the River Ends

"Poignant and unforgettable, CROSSING OCEANS will break your heart — and then put the pieces back together again. This is an uplifting and inspiring tale that reminds us to live every day as if it’s our last."
Tess Gerritsen, NYT Best-selling author

"Moving, heart-rending and poignant, a stunning debut. Holmes returns us to what matters in a too-short life—what it really is to come home."
Tosca Lee, author of Havah & Demon: A Memoir

"Gina Holmes explores the beauty, tenderness and tenacity of mother-love in Crossing Oceans with marvelous skill and insight. An outstanding debut from a gifted storyteller. Bravo!"
Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy

Readers, buy your copy of Crossing Oceans today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I was writing suspense novels at the time I started, but no longer wanted to read suspense. I had discovered classics like Jane Eyre and Watership Down, and then had been reading Charles Martin, Lisa Samson, Tosca Lee, Claudia Burney, Francine Rivers, Memoirs of a Geisha, Kite Runner, and I fell in love with words all over again. I wanted to try something different.

The idea about a dying woman who never told her boyfriend she was pregnant just popped in my head. I was going through a divorce at the time. It was something I had prayed so long and hard for a miracle for, and that miracle never came. Instead my husband asked me for the divorce. I felt like I was dying. I think subconsciously I was working that out through my story.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Good question that only a writer would think to ask. Ha. My parents divorced when I was a baby and I was very much a mediator type like Isabella. I saw the good in everyone when I was that little, and in everything. So, she is somewhat based on me at that age, and pieces of my own children. She's a lot more sanguine than I am though. I have more melancholy, like Jenny.

Speaking of Jenny, she always tries to do the right thing, but that's not always her first reaction. She's sort of a knee-jerk reaction type at first, just the way I am. But, like me, give her a few minutes to think about it and she's able to make the right choices and see things through other's eyes. Though, I hope I'm a little more empathetic than she is. She's tougher than me that way.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Jenny would be ... okay, I have no clue. She's a dying woman, it's hard to assign a flavor to that.

4. Are there any themes in Crossing Oceans that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The theme that as Christians, we don't need to fear death, is I guess the most obvious. In the Bible, God promises to those who have called on Jesus' name, streets of gold, no more tears, mansions, and His presence. The end of this human life is only a wonderful beginning.

A theme that took on a life of its self was the one of sacrifice. The twist near the end of the story where Jenny is asked to give even more than I'd planned when I started writing the book completely caught me off guard. I sat there with the idea of what she was going to be asked to do and my heart ached for her. It's too much, I told myself and yet I knew I had to write it.

In this life where everyone, including people in our churches, are using the platitude as though it's gospel of "you deserve to be happy," I wanted to show that personal happiness isn't always the right choice. Jesus deserved happiness more than you or I and what did he choose? And thank goodness He did. You and I don't deserve happiness. We're sinners, we deserve Hell. But because of Jesus giving up what He deserved, we ultimately will have happiness, if not in this life, than in Heaven.

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

The twist at the end where I ask Jenny to give more than I thought she would have to. I truly asked her to give something that seemed an impossible sacrifice. That killed me to write. It also was so difficult to write the scene at the ocean, where Jenny explains death to her daughter, using the ocean as a metaphor (thus the title of the book.) I cried every single time I read or edited it. I want to cry just thinking about it. As a mother, that's hard.

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

Dry as Rain is being written as we speak, well, after we speak. It's the story of a couple who let's assumptions cause an avalanche in their marriage that leads to infidelity and ultimately the choice of whether or not to divorce. It's supposed to release this time next year. I'm only two weeks away from that deadline. I'd appreciate prayers of those who would be willing. I need a small miracle to pull it together and finish it with a bang.

* * * * *

Thank you, Gina, for being in the spotlight with us.

NEW!! Readers, answer the question below in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Crossing Oceans. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Question: What one aspect of your life do you feel would be a good starting point for a story?

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


runner10 said...

I think the day I had my first child changed my life. A great starting point to many adventures.

Anonymous said...

I would say my wedding story; we were married on the TV show Bride & Groom (53 yrs.ago) in NYC. Please enter me! Thanks!!!

Kameko said...

That is a difficult question - there could be so many events to choose from. But, I'm going with the day I fell down the stairs in our house, ended up with amnesia for almost a year. I knew my immediate family, but couldn't remember much about myself, my work, what I did, or even my likes or dislikes. It was a difficult time for our family, but we came through, with God's help.
Please enter my for the book, it sounds like a "must read" book.

Blessings to you both,

Merry said...

For several years we traveled the US living in an RV. Many of our crazy adventures could certainly be fodder for a book!

I'd love to win Gina's book, it sounds awesome. Thanks for a chance.

Anonymous said...

The unraveling of repressed memories and learning to feel.

bfa73 at hotmail dot com

A J Hawke said...

Living in Switzerland for several years generated lots of ideas.

A J Hawke

karenk said...

starting a new job in a new city....great question...

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

windycindy said...

Ten years ago, I lost my only and older brother and then 4 months later, my mom. How I dealt with the losses and how I have grown is my answer. Thanks, Cindi

Carole said...

Starting point for a story - learning that our son had serious learning disabilities and where that diagnosis led us over the years.

I would love to read Crossing Oceans and appreciate the chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Cackleberry Homestead said...

I think when I first started having health problems 2 1/2 years ago and the battle to get a correct diagnosis, finally leading to brain surgery 1 1/2 years later (after suspected cancer) and my recovery and hopefully ability to get back to a "normal-for-me" life over the past year. :) It's been a crazy ride with my husband, parents and children right there beside me supporting me.

MaureenT said...

I think of aspect of my life that would be a good starting point for a story would be that I'm the caretaker for my Husband who has had Parkinson's for the past 28 years! He is now in late stage, but did manage to stay well and active for many years!


Esther Miriam Lopez said...

For me , it would definately be the time I got saved, and put in some of my past and then how the walking with the Lord has brought me to where I am now :)))


p/s I have an award for you at my blog

Susan Skitt said...

The day two state troopers stood on my doorstep to deliver news that would change my life forever. While my nine-month old son slept in his crib, they told me my husband died in a car accident...

I've noticed this book on a shelf at Borders. It looks interesting. Please enter me in the contest. Thank you.

susanskitt @ verizon dot net

Casey said...

Hopefully this is still open, if not, oh well. :)

I think a good starting point for a story would be.... Hmmm. Gotta think about this. :)

Let's go with the day I was born. :P Great backstory there. :)

I would love to read Gina's book, thanks for the chance. :)


Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this spotlight, and that is:

susanskitt: Susan S.

Congratulations! I have emailed you for your information so Gina can mail out your book.

Thank you to everyone for your support.