Today's review is extra special to me because this debut novel is written by my friend and fellow local author, Heather Norman Smith. I am thrilled and honored to be sharing in the excitement of the release of her first novel, Grace and Lavender.
Thank you for being here to share a little of your journey with us.
So many people dream about writing and publishing a book. Your dream is becoming a reality, right now, with your first book released on March 1. I’m so excited for you.
I’ve read Grace and Lavender, and I’m intrigued by both your characters and the themes you’ve woven into this story. Your characters tackle some tough, true-to-life issues and the ending still managed to leave me feeling like this…
Let’s talk about your main characters for a minute. Colleen, Grace and Melody, three women from three different generations. I loved that each woman was unique, totally believable for her generation, and yet they connected to each other beautifully and providentially.
Amy- This question may be a bit like asking a mom to choose a favorite child, but which character was the hardest to let go when you had to write, ‘The End’?
Heather- I love them all, but the story started in my head with Colleen, so she’s probably the one I missed the most at the end. I connected with her the most.
Amy- Is it possible we will meet any of these ladies again in a future book?
Heather- I’ve heard a few people say they’d like to know what comes next for those characters. I might write a sequel one day, but for now, I’m working on another short novel that is set in their town. Colleen has a cameo in this story, and Melody and Grace are both referenced, but it doesn’t really carry on with their story. This book might become part of a “Springville Series” that focuses on different members of their church.
No spoilers, here. So, I’m going to try not to give away any of your surprises or plot twists. Grace is so much more than a name in this story, but the young woman, Grace, is key. Grace is a teen orphan who lives in a children’s home. She’s a kid with potential who has gotten herself into trouble.
Amy- Foster care and adoption are important issues to you. I can’t help but think this book may inspire some readers into action for the sake of the Graces out there. Do you have any suggestions of where they can get more information or find volunteer opportunities?
Heather- I love this question, because the desire to encourage others to consider foster care and adoption, or to help orphans in some way, is one of the reasons I wrote the book. I think a good place to start is an internet search for the department or division of Social Services in your county. Then call and ask for more information. Aside from county agencies, there are other local non-profits that provide foster care licensure and other resources. I encourage people to pray about it, just make a phone call, and see how the Lord would have them serve.
Amy- The theme of grace is also part of this novel. Did you experience a growing understanding of God’s grace through the process of writing?
Heather- I did! Not to give too much away, but there’s a scene in the book that is special to me, where Colleen defines grace as a special favor that isn’t deserved. And I think it’s so true. God lavishes His love on me. It’s completely unmerited, yet He does it anyway. That’s grace.
Thank you so much for your willingness to answer these questions and give us an inside view of Grace and Lavender from your perspective. Reading your book was a pleasure. I look forward to many more!
Grace and Lavender is a heartwarming story of hope and home for a teen girl who begins this journey without either one. I will admit that I had to push through the beginning of this story as it was a little slow at the start. The reward was a beautiful story with relatable characters who left me satisfied at the end.
The book takes us into the world of a young teen who lives in a children’s home. Three generations of women tell us this story. I found myself cheering for all three women along their intertwined journey toward healing for the young protagonist.
While the story has a happy ending, it does not gloss over the emotional difficulties and painful experiences along the way. The theme of Grace is woven throughout by a new author with an exceptional gift of story-telling.