The author of more than ten contemporary romance books, Courtney Walsh is a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and an American Christian Fiction Authors Carol Award finalist. She has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals.
But she didn’t always want to be an author. For many years, she wanted to be an actor. She studied theatre in college and spent one summer at Circle in the Square in New York City. She also secured a degree in journalism to appease her parents, who ‘wondered what on earth she would do with a degree in theatre.’
Courtney and her husband, who is a children’s minister, have three children. They own a performing and visual arts studio in Rockford, Illinois, where they teach private lessons in voice, piano, guitar and have classes in various aspects of musical theatre. Courtney is also an artist, theatre director and playwright.
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If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?
Ooh, just one word!? I would like to say “transparent.” I decided a long time ago that I was just going to be open and honest about my struggles, my challenges, what God is teaching me, etc. and I think transparency is so hard to find. So, I hope that’s how people would see me. That or “real.”
Let’s talk about your new book, Is It Any Wonder (Tyndale, April 2021). Please tell us about it.
Twelve years ago, Cody Boggs and Louisa Chambers made a pact that no matter where their lives took them, they’d return to Nantucket Island’s Brant Point Lighthouse on July 30, their shared golden birthday, and continue their tradition of exchanging birthday wishes. But that was before a tragic accident upended both of their lives, irrevocably pulling them apart.
Their worlds collide just months before that particular day when Louisa’s fledgling event planning company is hired by the local Coast Guard station, where she discovers Cody has recently returned to the island as the second in command. As they plan a regatta fundraiser, hoping to promote positive PR in the community, neither can deny the fireworks each encounter ignites. But working together also brings up memories of the day Cody’s father died, revealing secrets that have Cody and Louisa questioning everything they thought they knew and felt about their families and each other.
What role does faith play in this story?
I think faith comes into play in every story I write, whether it’s overt or more subtle. I tend to really lean into the theme of forgiveness because I’ve had to learn over and over how crucial it is—to forgive others, to forgive ourselves, to not grow bitter when someone hurts or wrongs us, or even to not foster anger with God when life doesn’t go as planned. These are all things both Cody and Louisa are learning and wrestling with. I feel like these are the kinds of universal things we can all relate to because for whatever reason, no matter how much we know we need to forgive, it’s never easy to do.
Writing is hard work. What has kept you going on your writing journey?
My love of story. I mean, honestly, that’s it. It IS hard work, and it’s sometimes lonely (though I have GREAT writing friends) but when you have a story that wakes you up in the middle of the night, there’s no way it’s going to leave you alone until you write it down! Plus, I feel like this is a calling for me. I feel called to write. It’s how I process things and how I share a piece of myself with the world.
What do you hope readers will be inspired by in this novel?
I always want my books to feel like an escape, especially from the realities of life these days. I want readers to feel uplifted and hopeful and whisked away to a stunning location where they can get lost in a love story. But deeper than that, I hope that readers are challenged to forgive. Not only anyone who might have wronged them, but themselves. I think oftentimes forgiving ourselves is much, much harder than forgiving someone else.
Your stories are an inspiration to others, but what inspires you?
Aw, thanks for that. I am inspired by everything. People I meet. Snippets of news stories I read. Other authors. Movies. Books. A change of scenery or routine. My husband and kids. Inspiration is everywhere — we just have to pay attention!
Thanks, Courtney! It’s great to have you back at Divine Detour.
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