Michelle Massaro ~ Grace in the Flames

Michelle MassaroMichelle Massaro has dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science and Junior High Bible studies, and leading worship. She has a wide range of literary tastes, from C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia to Francine Rivers’ The Mark of the Lion series. She describes her own stories as ‘contemporary fiction soaked in grace.’

Michelle makes her home in Southern California with her husband of more than two decades and their four children.

 

What started you on your writing journey?

Like so many people, I always thought, “Hey, I bet I could write a book,” but never moved beyond that. The concept for Grace in the Flames (originally titled Beauty for Ashes) came to me years ago and I’d make halfhearted attempts to write it. But what really started me on the path was inspiration from Stephanie Meyers’ bio. I read Twilight before the movie came out and, say what you will, I enjoyed it.

And I especially enjoyed reading about Stephanie’s publication journey. She wrote during her kids’ swim lessons and at the time, I had three active elementary school kids and I thought, hey, if she can do that, then so can I. I stumbled upon Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method, and a couple writing boards (NaNoWriMo), and took my first teetering steps toward learning the craft.

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Just as most good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?

Sure! Plenty of times! Even when it comes to publishing, there were many divine detours. The first time I entered a contest and lost, the first time I pitched to an editor and botched it, when I finally felt certain that I was ready and that the pub houses I was submitting to were going to clamor for my book. LOL… But I think all of that made the story stronger, as I improved and honed and finally ended up with a book that readers seem to really be moved by. That blesses me greatly and I’m glad my journey was rerouted by the Lord.

Grace in the FlamesLet’s talk about Grace in the Flames (Orange Grove Press, March 2016). Please tell us about it.

A deadly fire, a dangerous temptation, a desperate heart. When three lives intersect, God asks them to do the impossible. To love Him even if…

Grace in the Flames follows the journey of three very different people: a prodigal who is angry at God for the tragedy in his life, a believer struggling to let God be enough during the hardest trial of her life, and a desperate and hurting woman who’s never known love from anyone, let alone the Almighty. The choices each character makes in response to what life throws at them lead their paths to cross and tangle in a messy, beautiful way. They’ll be asked to trust, to surrender to whatever God has for them, even if it means losing everything precious to them.

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What led you to write this particular story?

The story premise came to me as I was just pondering my faith one day, asking myself how deep does it go, would it survive if truly challenged? Could my faith endure situations as horrific as what my characters face in Grace in the Flames? This story begged to explore tough questions. What happens to faith when life knocks you down? What if Christianity doesn’t produce white picket fence lives? When repenting doesn’t erase consequence? When obedience costs you everything?

At its core, Grace in the Flames is a story of surrender, which is something I’m still growing in because I don’t like to give up control! Gives me heart palpitations. But am I under God’s wing to give myself a pretty life for a few decades, or am I really His to do with as He wills? If I truly understand who He is, and how Good He is, submission becomes easier. I hope others are challenged in their faith through this story as well. My prayer is that readers come away from this book with a renewed sense that God is real, that He loves them, even when life gets ugly, and that He is worth surrendering to.

[ctt title=”If I truly understand who (God) is, and how Good He is, submission becomes easier. ~ Michelle Massaro” tweet=”If I truly understand who (God) is, and how Good He is, submission becomes easier. ~ @MLMassaro @DivineDetour http://ctt.ec/ZqH44+” coverup=”ZqH44″]

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I have more than one but it’s usually candy. So bad! I like Hot Tamales and recently it was Raisinettes. Yum.

What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?

I don’t know if there is a single verse that could describe my journey of faith, but in my toughest times, as I struggled with clinical depression, I know that Psalm 143—the entire Psalm—was a daily prayer. Key phrases for me were: “Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.” (verse 9) and “Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.” (verse 11). To me, enemies are not always external, and oftentimes I’m taking shelter from the storms inside, and from an adversary attacking in secret. With that perspective, this Psalm took on different meaning for me and has become a favorite.

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?

I was going to answer “the girl next door” until I reached your last one “little girl trying to walk in high heels.” These are actually kind of deep questions, Kathy! I think I can put on different hats depending on the circumstance and would even say I’ve been the strong female lead or the heroine from time to time… But I’m going to say that the person I look at in the mirror is probably the little girl, trying to fit in with the grownups. : )

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child. 

We have two dogs (cocker spaniels) and one cat. Milo is orange and fluffy and the perfect indoor/outdoor cat. The cockers are friendly, like cockers always are. Chloe loves to chew on rocks she digs up in our yard and at nearly twelve years old, that habit has left her with nubs for teeth, but she won’t give up the habit! Reese, our male cocker, is nine years old and has the best personality. He’s so sweet, but don’t trust him around food. He’s also absolutely terrified of thunder and fireworks (we have to give him doggie xanax on the 4th of July!). In the past we’ve also had rats, and we’ve had a tank of guppies for many years now. Live breeders can be fun. : )

Thanks, Michelle! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

Thank you so much, Kathy!! It’s a new and exciting feeling to be one of the ‘published’ now. I’ve enjoyed these questions and visiting with you today.

~ ~ ~

For more information about Michelle, visit her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter Or subscribe to her newsletter here.

To purchase Grace in the Flames, log on to:

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2017-10-03T18:59:00+00:00 March 15th, 2016|Literary|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Michelle March 15, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Kathy! =)

    • Kathy Harris March 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      My pleasure, Michelle. Your book sounds great!

  2. Elaine Stock March 17, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Michelle–just followed you over to Kathy’s from Twitter. Nice learning more about your writing. Grace In The Flames sounds intriguing!

    Enjoyed the interview, Kathy!

    • Kathy Harris March 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Elaine!

  3. Michelle March 18, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Hi, Elaine! Glad you found your way over. =) It’s a bit strange to be the “interviewee” LOL I’m happy you enjoyed it. It’s good to meet you!

    ~ Michelle

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