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In fact, my latest book, Like a Love Song, paints an allegorical picture of this what-was-meant-for-evil-becomes-good theme which you may recognize as borrowed from the story of Joseph in Genesis 50.
Let’s talk about Like a Love Song (Ashberry Lane, April 2015). Please tell us about it.
Susan Quinn, a social worker turned surrogate mom to foster teens, fights to save the group home she’s worked hard to build. But now, she faces a dwindling staff, foreclosure, and old heartaches that won’t stay buried. Her only hope lies with the last person she’d ever turn to — a brawny handyman with a guitar, a questionable past, and a God he keeps calling Father.
A woman with past wounds and trouble with trust, Susan Quinn is forced to accept the presence of Joe, a mountain of a man who makes Sue uneasy. She just can’t decide if it’s because of his size or the way he’s working his way into the hearts of her kids with his kindness. Or the beautiful, soul-stirring songs he sings to his “Father” when he thinks he’s alone. She doesn’t want the kids getting attached because Joe is leaving for another job soon and besides, once abandoned herself, Sue is teaching the kids to depend on no one but themselves. The trouble is, not only are the kids getting attached to Joe, but so is Sue — and this scares her.
Like a Love Song is a poignant love story about a fiercely loyal woman, some cast-off kids, and finding the courage to believe in a Love that never fails.
What led you to write this particular story?
The setting came to me first (in the mail) when my niece worked in a group foster home. What she said in a Christmas letter about kids with no hope of being adopted or placed with a regular family touched my heart. Perhaps not everyone can relate to foster life, but most people can relate to loss, heartache, wounds, or abandonment. I felt this setting would be the perfect place to tell a story full of biblical wisdom and truth that illustrates the fact that no matter the pain, no matter the fear, no matter the mistakes we’ve made, with God, there is always hope of healing and peace.
So I wrote a story about a group home director who is a product of foster care herself, a former victim of abuse and abandonment. A woman who would do anything for the kids in her care — except let herself fully love them. Love has only brought her pain and she works hard to avoid disappointment by keeping any lingering need for love buried. And yet her fear and self-preservation will end up hurting not only herself, but also those who care about her.
Sue is not the only one with a painful past. Joe Paterson is also a former foster child and has trust issues of his own. Sent away as a boy and separated from his little brother, Joe has worked hard to make a respectable name for himself and to erase the stain of shame that trailed him through life. He can’t stand to see anyone go hungry, and longs for the love and loyalty of family.
The fact that God can take something that began in tragedy and use it for good, and that no one is beyond redemption, is a beautiful, breathtaking truth. Life’s struggles are so often addressed in the Bible and I love to weave the wisdom of God’s word through an engaging love story.
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A few fun questions…
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
As a person who has long struggled to feel fully accepted, I cling to Ephesians 3. But if you want a verse that describes my faith journey, I guess I’d have to go back to Joseph’s story in Genesis. God is a God of mercy and delights in showing himself sovereign and loving by bringing great good out of things bound for tragedy. I’ve stood at the edge of Joseph’s pit many times. God not only kept me from falling in, He used those moments to show himself undeniably real to me, and from that, to encourage many others.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
The story of my life is more of a fairytale. I’m the girl covered in soot toting buckets of cinder to the trash who gets an invitation to the palace but fears she is too filthy and poor to accept. It takes a long, winding journey and getting lost in the woods a few times to realize that the Prince will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to make her understand that the palace is her home.
Thanks, Camille! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Camille, visit her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
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