Thursday, November 02, 2006

FIRST BLOG TOUR, NOVEMBER:
Nancy Jo Jenkins' COLDWATER REVIVAL

Due to the CSFF Blog Tour, I'm late posting this, with M.C.'s kind permission.

Nancy Jo Jenkins is the author of the well-received novel titled COLDWATER REVIVAL. She described the story in an interview over at Novel Journey:

My women's/historical fiction - Coldwater Revival - set in Texas in the 1920s was released this month, May, 2006. It is a tale of shattering loss, desperate grief, and the Falin family's amazing journey to restoration. It is lyrically written from the viewpoint of Emma Grace Falin, a young lady who lives through the devastation of guilt and shame, yet gains victory in her long, painful struggle for forgiveness. My book has a very satisfying conclusion.

In a brief interview at Christianbook.com, she offers this as her motivation for the novel:

Again - family was one of the motivators behind Coldwater Revival. That and having experienced God's forgiveness for myself. Through my story I wanted to share the sometimes arduous process of finding forgiveness after one goes through a time of grief and guilt. And I wanted those who have lost a loved one to see the Light at the end of the way, and, hopefully, to not feel so alone in their grief.


You can read a longer excerpt of the novel at the above link.

In an interview with FICTION IN RATHER SHORT TAKES, Nancy Jo offered some personally revealing, honest responses to questions about her protagonist in COLDWATER REVIVAL. As someone who's battled depression since childhood, I'd like to share this part of the interview here:

Q. The agony and healing Emma Grace went through are so real. What personal experiences did you draw from to portray Emma Grace's feelings so well?

A. There was a time in my life when I suffered with depression, though it was not due to a death in the family, as Emma Grace's was. At the time, it seemed that I was in a daily knock-down, drag-out fistfight with sadness. I was truly blessed in that I was never prescribed any kind of medication to treat my depression, which proved to be relatively short-lived. But I did receive counseling, which was just what I needed to win the battle with this debilitating condition. During that time of depression I endured many of the symptoms that Emma Grace suffered through. Excessive sleeping was about the only symptom we did not share. There were times when I couldn't swallow my food, and times when I could almost touch the face of that same blackness that almost overwhelmed Emma Grace. Her sorrow and guilt were difficult scenes for me to write, and I found myself crying each time I wrote about Emma Grace's sadness and the continual ache in her heart.

Q. Emma Grace loses all desire for life when her brother dies - not eating or talking, just living in the blissful cocoon of sleep. Do you have any advice for folks who are in that dark place right now?

A. Communication was the key that unlocked the door of depression for me. Communicate with God, even if the only words you can utter are the words, "Help me." But I also benefited greatly from talking to a certified counselor; one who was trained in helping people express their pain, their needs, their fears. I hope that anyone who feels sad and lonely for an extended length of time, will contact their pastor, or someone who can direct them to a Christian counselor.


Now, the first chapter of COLDWATER REVIVAL:


Coldwater, Texas

Three weeks before I was to marry Gavin O’Donnell, I set my feet upon the beaten path leading to Two-Toe Creek. What I had to offer Gavin in marriage—my whole heart, or just a part—depended on the
decision I would make today.

As my feet tracked the dusty pathway they stirred loose soil to the air. My heart stirred as well, for the guilt I had buried in its depths smoldered as though my brother had just died, and not five years earlier. In the shadowed days following the tragedy, my disgrace had glared like a packet of shiny new buttons. I’d not thought to hide it at the time. In truth, I’d thought of little, other than how to survive. But at some point during that time of sorrowful existence, when my days and nights strung together like endless telegraph wires, I dug a trench around my heart and buried my shame.

From that day until this, I deeded myself the actor’s role, closing the curtain on my stain of bitter memories, hiding my sorrow behind a veil of pretense. But that old deceiver, Time, had neither softened my guilt nor put it to rest; only allowed it ample pause to fester like deadly gangrene. Now, as the day of my wedding drew near, my heart cried out for healing. It was, you see, far wiser than my head. My heart understood its need for restoration—before I exchanged wedding vows with Gavin. For this reason, I now walked the trail to Two-Toe Creek. To revisit my failures of yesteryear and reclaim the peace that had slipped past the portals of my childhood. Perhaps then I could give Gavin the entirety of my heart
~ ~ ~

1 comment:

M. C. Pearson said...

Hey Mir! Thanks for the post for FIRST. I just love your blog...so pretty. I've a good dial-up connection for once! So, I'm out visiting. Living in the country has so many perks...dial-up is NOT one of them. ;-)