A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Tanya was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Genesis contest. Her debut novel, Unconditional, released this month.
What sparked your writing journey?
My spark started three years ago when my husband left for Israel. It was the first time he’d gone overseas since our three children were born and, honestly, I didn’t know what to do with myself. During that time I felt the Lord leading me to write. I wrote a book entitled Live by Faith, Not by Sight. Though it may never see an editor’s desk, that story is dear to my heart, more than any others because of what it represents. The interesting thing is those characters are the same ones in my debut novel Unconditional.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Yes, too many to name. =) Shortly after my first child was born I found out I had cancerous cells. My doctor was wonderful, but everything happened so fast after that, I was in a blur from more testing to the next week, surgery. I had little time to think or how I might not have children again. It was after the surgery I had time to think, but I couldn’t pray. I was numb.
This was my detour, but God had used that time to tell me He had plans for me.
Today God has richly blessed me with three children and health. I truly believe God allows detours in our lives so we may see His glory and for us to know He is faithful.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I remember saying with ready fingers pressed on the keyboard, “Are you sure, God? I never wanted to write. Never cared to write.” But there I was, typing away at the keys with a burden to share a story I had no idea where it was heading. Through the last three years, God has shown me a faith like I’ve never known. A desire to blindly walk out onto the water like Peter, and every time I’ve wanted to look down, God’s hand has been there directing me, molding me, showing me this is His will. I’m finding I like walking on water.
Let’s talk about your debut novel, Unconditional (Astraea Press January 2013). Please tell us about it.
Unconditional is dear to me because I believe God has placed it on my heart. Many families, churched or un-churched, find themselves struggling in their marriages for one reason or another, but God wants them to fight to save their marriages and families.
He will fight for her at any cost…
Elizabeth Roberts can’t remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter’s death, her husband’s affair.
When his wife’s coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can’t erase his betrayal, but with God’s help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.
She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
I grew up in a family were divorce is common, like most people today, with the idea once you “fall” out of love, and you can’t get along anymore, it’s time to get a divorce. It was almost engraved in me witnessing everyone in my family get divorced one time or many times. I, too, almost went down that route with divorce papers in hand. I told myself many things at the time, but the truth. I was focused on our failures, not the hope that with God, all things are possible. The question was, were we willing to save our marriage at all costs? Would we fight for each other, whether we felt like it or not?
The story opens in a situation some married couples might find themselves in, losing a child, being in a loveless marriage, hurt by feelings of abandonment, adultery. To fight for the marriage at any cost or give up. In my story, as in real life, there is a choice.
It is my hope that no matter the circumstances the reader is facing, they will know that all things are possible through Christ.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I mentioned faith above, but everything I’ve learned about writing, myself, and my relationship with Christ is hemmed in by faith. Here is the verse God has taught me through this writing experience and I’m learning to live out daily. We walk by faith, not by sight ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7.
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?
Ice cream—Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip. Why? It’s my weakness!
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Oh, no. When my husband and I sing in church, we both make a joyful noise. The only time I sound good is when I’m singing in the car alone and the music is way too loud.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I had to think on this one. I’d be a love song for Christ and how my heart yearns for Him.
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’m both a strong, female lead when I need to be, but the girl next door all the other times. You’ll see my characters are a mix too when they need to be.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
My husband and I were dog owners once upon a time. When our first child was about two years old, we bought a German Shepard with the purpose of breeding. It had been pretty cold outside so we had to keep the pup in the house. The dog was too rambunctious and every time our daughter got down from the couch, the pup chased after her and she’d cry. Needless to say, we sold the dog.
Twelve years later, we are proud owners of two cats. One was given to us as a party favor when we were leaving a birthday party seven years ago. The other cat followed my husband through the church parking lot to the car and climbed in. You should have seen my surprise when he got home from work with a kitten in his hands.
As a family of five and with two cats, dogs will have to wait until the kids get older.
Thanks, Tanya. It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Tanya, visit her website at http://www.tanyaeavenson.com.
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