Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A View From Susanne Lakin's Window - Someone To Blame

Tragedy. Grief. These are things that are part of our lives, and often tools that God uses to mold us into His image. I am thrilled to host Susanne Lakin here in my Window today, and also thrilled to share more about her stunning novel, Someone To Blame. I hope you are blessed, as I was, to learn more about Susanne and the way God is working in her life through her writing!

Welcome, Susanne!

Where was the idea for this story conceived? How were you able to capture the pain of the Moore family so realistically painful?

I had started with the idea of taking Agatha Christie's book "Murder on the Orient Express" and setting it in a small town rather than on a train. I had written a previous mystery based on another of get books, so wanted to explore this one. My books are heavily thematic so it morphed into a study of the way we blame ourselves, God, and others for our pain and suffering in life. I've never experienced losing a child but we all know how loss feels. I wanted a high concept, universal story and thought of the worst thing a person could go through ( losing a child-- as well as feeling to blame for it) to set the hardest challenge.

What character in the story do most closely identify with? Why?

That’s unclear, since I rarely put myself in my books. I'm fascinated with the fallen human condition, and all my mysteries are about "normal" people pushed over the edge. I suppose I might day Sheriff Huff, since he us the Greek chorus in this book, the one trying to see from all viewpoints and make sense of the mess.

Billy Thurber is a really tragic character. Don't you think everyone has a Billy Thurber in their life? How can Christians avoid falling into the trap of blaming the Billy's in their life and fall rather into the arms of grace as Irene did?

That's a big message in the book. Billy is not a believer, but God used Irene to help him uncover hidden truths in his life. And the reverse is true-- God used Billy to help Irene and her family to heal and find grace. God pursues us, thankfully. We all resort to blame at times but I believe God uses every situation to teach us something about both ourselves and him. I don't see Billy so much a tragic character as a tragic hero-- another motif in the novel. For the choices he makes are molded by his past and only with God's divine manipulations in our life can we break free and be healed.

How do we learn to trust God with all of the circumstances in our lives - especially the painful ones we don't understand?

I'm still working on that!

Someone To Blame is one among many novels you have written. Can you tell us about your favorite story? Why it is dear to your heart?

My favorite and best novel, hands down, is The Map across Time, releasing in March as the second installment in my fairy tale collection The Gates of Heaven series with AMG/Living Ink. I could go on forever about why that book breaks and mends my heart but you'll just have to read it. My fantasy novels are just as deep and intense as Someone to Blame, although you'll come across talking pigs and the like. Map is about the love between twins, who go back in time to save their kingdom and their father from an ancient curse. The theme comes from Song of Songs: Love us as strong as death. I feel God gave me this awesome book as the gift of my heart, for it's all about how heaven uses the weak and insignificant to accomplish great things.

You also enjoy mentoring other writers and helping them edit their work. How long have you been writing and helping others to hone their skills?

Personally I've been writing all my life. Ive been trying to sell my completed novels for 24 years although I finally got my first contract a year ago. I can certainly teach others what it takes to persevere and succeed. I've always helped others with their writing but have now worked professionally making a living as an editor and writing coach for a few years and love it! I never knew how much I could love working with and encouraging other writers. I've made so many eternal friends the world over through this profession God dumped in my lap-- a gift for which I am truly grateful and hope to continue forever.

Can you share with your readers some exciting things that God is doing in your life right now?

Wow, getting published, getting rave reviews, a Christy nomination for Someone to Blame, a terrific agent out there trying to sell my many novels, and just so grateful to God for not letting my hopes be dashed or my talents get buried in the ground. I'm believing 2011 will open more amazing doors for my writing career all to God's glory, that's my prayer. If I can reconcile someone back to God through my writing, that's my hope.

Any closing words of encouragement you'd like to share?

God is in control-- all the time. Once we accept and believe that, we can have true peace. It's all about him and not us. Always.

Thanks so much Suzanne! I look forward to getting more familiar with your work!

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