I love writing inspirational romantic suspense featuring heroic women. Today, I want you to meet someone. She’s impulsive, she’s wild, she’s crazy…and she’s back! Welcome, Carol Scape. With a newfound faith in Christ, she tackles the bad guy with a style all her own.
The main character in Restored Grace is a favorite of mine. In fact, I brought her back from Book One because my Foothill Writer’s Critique Group loved her in Shattered Guilt, Book One of the Bay Town Series, where she played a minor role. The head Branch Manager Librarian of our group laughed when I first read about her and she quipped, “I know women just like her, and you nailed her perfectly!”
Perhaps in some ways I secretly (I guess it’s not a secret now) wish I was her. Impulsive, the life of the party, indifferent to what people think about her, and confident in her skin. Carol is 50ish, pleasantly curvy, a boho-chic hippie with long wavy graying red hair that always tangles in her arms, and others because she moves so quickly. She wears lots of loud, jingly jewelry, and always puts on her prettiest face (with light makeup but tempted to use a heavy hand). And I love her style! We’ll devote an entire week to her fashion statement later, but suffice it to say colorful swirling, tiered skirts, cowboy boots, peasant tops, and fringed shawls. If I was taller, I’d love to carry that off, so I let my alter ego, Carol Scape do it for me.
Yet, in some ways, women like her drive me crazy. Call it envy, expectations, or too much energy, but people like her exist, don’t they? Are you a Carol, or do you know a Carol? Either way, we’re called to love. And the most important thing is caring about all people enough to be concerned for their faith. I don’t mean judging, but sharing, encouraging, and inspiring them, whoever they may be and wherever they are in their walk.
What’s so special about Carol?
Three special things that I hope you’ll identify in the new Carol are her struggle with God’s grace, her selfless desire to help others, and her discovered confidence in Christ. The beauty of writing inspirational romantic suspense is bringing to life how real people, with real problems, struggle with their faith just like us, as we trust that the victory belongs to the Lord.
Live in the Inspiration of God’s Grace
First, Carol is a new believer, and the women in her Bay Town Church Bible Study have been a model example in welcoming her without reservation. In my experiences, that’s often been the case. Even from the first Women’s Study, I attended with Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, forty years ago. There were only six of us, so as a new believer I almost had her as a private teacher. I soaked up her teachings like a sponge. She and Pastor Rick gave me a thirst and hunger to know Jesus that has been insatiable to this day. And the women in other studies I attended and later taught were the same —welcoming. I hope you’ve had the same experience, or extend that welcome to strangers around you. It’s what helped to shape Carol’s new creation in Christ as she faced seriously, crazy trials.
Still impulsive, still acting on her own, and still learning to trust Christ, Carol finally experiences the fullness of God’s grace, as she chooses to die to self, but it doesn’t come easy. Formerly, she lived footloose and fancy-free, but she left a host of hurting loved ones behind. Although it’s not inspirational romantic suspense, I love what Richard Gear writes about Julie Roberts in the romantic comedy, Runaway Bride. He wrote, “The USS Maggie Carpenter leaves quite a wake.” That’s Carol. No spoilers, but eventually, her past catches up.
Although she’s enjoying the freedom of God’s forgiveness, her actions don’t always manifest themselves as receiving His grace. That’s me. Drudging up past mistakes. Oh, I know he forgives me, but it’s hard not to dwell on and wish that life away. I’m not sure that men experience it to the same degree that we women do. It must be our forgiving, motherly nature, right? Accepting God’s forgiveness is one thing … living in His grace is another. My best friend is the character inspiration for Rence in my 2021 Christmas Book, Mistletoe Village. She says when she allows her past to haunt her, there’s a silent voice that shouts, “Quit digging in the garbage heap!” I love that.
Be Inspired to put Others First
Secondly, Carol’s old self-centeredness makes way for God’s die-to-self lifestyle. We’ve all heard it in different phrases, right? Get over yourself? It’s not all about you? At least that’s what I tell myself when I’ve been offended or used. And yes, there are boundaries, but for me, boundaries don’t supersede my trying to put the other person first. Maybe it doesn’t result in me doing anything physically for them, but a sympathetic mindset definitely moves me to pray, and become genuinely concerned for others, especially in the case of being offended, used, or someone taking advantage of us.
I’ve always told my kids that mean people, hurt. They are hurting, and they in turn hurt others. Again, there are exceptions, but putting myself in the offending person’s shoes helps. I never know how their situation or life has influenced their behavior or personality. Some might think that Carol takes this a little too far with another sad character, Eleanor Perrin. But you’ll have to read the book and judge for yourself!
And then there’s just keeping too much focus on ourselves. I’m embarrassed to admit that as a teen, that was me. Because I was so shy, I never realized this as self-centeredness, but everything revolved around me. How something or someone affected me. Whether it was a party, a family event, or just a situation. I always looked at things through the “me” lens. I didn’t even realize this until I became a Christian. Then the lens of scripture and Christ cleared my vision. Hallelujah!
Third and last, Carol is confident. She embraces herself, warts and all. Maybe you’ve always been able to do that. Not me, but finally in my old age, I have. Oh, I still struggle with the extra pounds and age spots, but I’m purposing to live with grace, flaws, and all. Carol loves her flamboyant style of dress, she’s a bit loud and overbearing and doesn’t try to tame it. Not too much anyway. But God uses all these quirks to draw people to her. Persons who are quite the opposite of Carol’s sanguineness, or similar in personality, like the developmentally-challenged young Virginia, who becomes a kindred spirit. God does that with you and me. Whether it be your family members, neighbors, or acquaintances, be confident in who God created you to be, so you can be used for His purpose and His glory.
If you read inspirational romantic suspense, I hope you’ll read Restored Grace. And I hope you’ve enjoyed the insight on Carol Scape. if you read the book, I pray you’ll be encouraged to live even more fully for Christ, wherever He has you right now. But know this, you can trust Him for anything!
Here are a couple of links where you can get to know Carol a smidge more if you’d like.
Get an e-copy of the inspirational romantic suspense novel, Restored Grace at a pre-order discount along with a free short story where I introduce the delightful characters of Bay Town. Art and Victoria will return this Christmas in my book “Let Them Eat Fruitcake.” A delightfully sweet, slightly suspenseful, faith-filled Christmas romance. The pre-order pricing and gift ends upon the release of Restored Grace.
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Giveaway! $25 Amazon Gift Card and Signed Paperback
If you’d like a free signed paperback of Restored Grace, please enter for a chance to win one, along with a $25 Amazon Gift Card. You can enter once each day, so check back daily. Click the link below. The giveaway ends on June 20th.
Click the link above for a chance to win. If you’ve already pre-ordered the ecopy, thank you so much, and please enter the giveaway too. If you win, you can gift the book to encourage a friend! God Bless and come back tomorrow as I introduce you to the handsome, and godly Pastor Desmond Brooks.