Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin
For this month’s post, I asked author Janet Ferguson to share her experience with Finishing Strong. Welcome, Janet!
How do you choose your next writing project?
My first writing project, Leaving Oxford, developed from my own struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. I felt a nudging for years, then finally, a hard push, that the story just had to be written! I personally believe it was God’s nudge, and I try to pay attention to that. Eventually. (I can be dense at times.) My next story ideas tended to be secondary characters that had shown up in that novel and demanded their own book. Again I hope the ideas were honoring Him. After four Southern Hearts novels, the series felt complete. (Although, I’ve had readers ask for Bryan, Emma, and Grant’s story, and someday I may write it.)
The stories after that, the Coastal Hearts novels, actually sprouted on various beach trips. I love to walk along the beach and think and pray. God’s beautiful creation stirs my creativity and imagination. These novels and novellas are less tightly connected to each other, and I like that. Less to remember for me, ha! Each grapples with a tough issue, like unanswered prayers, death of a child, and addiction, but in a way that I pray leads to hope.
As ideas float through, one usually lands on top. The Art of Rivers was a difficult novel to write, and at one point, I took a break from it to write a novella, Falling for Grace, for group project. The break turned out to be a good thing, because I learned a lot more about addiction from various sources in the meantime. I’m so glad I waited to finish it. There’s usually a lesson to be learned when I can’t get to the end when I want to. I have to wait for His timing.
For Christian authors, my advice would be to listen to those nudges God places on your heart. Write for Him and with Him. Don’t fall apart if you get stuck. There’s probably something more He wants to teach you, and it will make for a better novel.
Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible
scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the
loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an
art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes
together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage
and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon
recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own
After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.
Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.
Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.
Her first novel Leaving Oxford is free when you sign up for her newsletter here.
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