~ About the Author ~
An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and MA in Counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provided a rich source of information for her novels. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find the path to live godly lives.
~ About the Book ~
Neonatal specialist Dr. Michael Clark is passionate about saving the lives of premature babies. But the pediatrics department at El Camino General can’t provide the care many of his preemies require. Now he wants to build a specialty hospital where he can better offer medical treatment for his young patients.
Tammy Crawford is an accomplished geriatrics RN who wants nothing to do with her sister Joella’s religious beliefs. She’s independent and doesn’t need anyone, including God in pursuing a new job as a nurse practitioner.
When she falls in love with the intriguing Michael Clark, she must reconsider her resolve to devote herself completely to her career and not become distracted by a romantic relationship. Now the obstacles are insurmountable. She’s in love with a man from another culture and a different race.
Michael acknowledges his growing affection for the beautiful nurse yet can’t ignore his brother’s deep racial prejudices.
Can two people who are as different as night and day find a life together?
~ Interview ~
KATIE: Welcome to Diversity Between the Pages, June! Before we talk about your book, let’s take a little ‘flight of fancy’. Finish these sentences for me:
If I could visit any place in the world, I would visit…
JUNE: Israel. I’d love to visit the land where our Saviour walked on the earth. Years ago I had an opportunity to go to Israel. My husband was in Germany stationed in the US army, and I had accompanied him. Several of the teachers at the American school where I taught had signed up for a trip to Israel, and I had planned to go, but at the last minute, his tour of duty extension was denied, and we had to return to the US. But if a visit to Israel doesn’t come in this lifetime, it surely will in the next.
How unfortunate that you missed out on that trip. It would be an absolutely amazing place to visit!
If I could assign one household task to the fairies forever, it would be…
Definitely making up the bed every morning. It is the most boring, monotonous job I can think of. Bring on the fairies.
Oh, yes. And if you’re bringing in the fairies, you could get them to change the sheets every day too. How lovely to get into crisp clean sheets every night!
If I was a musical instrument, I would be a…
Piano. I tried to learn to play the piano as a girl, and couldn’t overcome the fear of performing at recitals. But I love the moving sounds of concertos, worship tunes, and even pop songs on the piano and admire anyone who’s mastered the instrument.
I can totally relate to that! I learned piano for many years, even went on to study a Bachelor of Music, but playing at recitals… *shudders*
When I was a child, I wanted to be a…
Teacher, like my mother and my aunt. But the crazy thing is, as an adult, I discovered several other professions I would’ve liked better. A physiologist, a linguist, or perhaps becoming an author at an early age instead of waiting to write novels in my sixties……
We really do have a limited view of the world by the time we’re expected to choose an occupation, don’t we. There are so many jobs I know about now as an adult that fascinate me, and I had no idea they even existed when I was finishing school and deciding what to do.
My ideal place to read would be…
Oh, it’s gotta be on a beach in Hawaii with saltwater breeze and pounding waves. I’m ready to go now.
Aloha! Just let me pack my suitcase! 😃
I suppose we had better get down to business now. 🙂 What inspired you to write a story featuring an interracial relationship?
Racial tension, so prevalent in the US, has impacted me through the years but more so now since I know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. In the past, discrimination against black people had always appalled me. I believe God created man in His image and is no respecter of persons. No one human is more valuable in His sight than another. Today, racial tension has cooled a bit, but I observe underlying tones of unrest, especially among young black men. God’s love for one another is sadly absent in much of our society.
Since I am a contemporary romance writer, I not only write a love story, but use the platform to speak out on issues of our day. When I first thought about writing What God Knew, the Ferguson racial riots were going strong and in the news daily. This forced me to examine what I believe according to what I find in the Bible, and what God would say about this explosive matter. Hopefully, I was able to communicate it in my novel.
Those riots definitely prove that there is still unrest and deep-seated hurt; that it only takes a spark to fan everything back to flame. It’s such an important issue to be discussing.
Tell us a little bit about the main characters, Dr. Michael Clark and Nurse Tammy Crawford.
Dr. Michael Clark is an African-American pediatrician who saves lives of premature babies in the neonatal ward of El Camino General. His father, a retired army general, has always provided well for Michael, his bitter, prejudiced brother, his older sister, and his mother. Michael’s mom raised him to love the Lord, and he relies on prayer and the Word of God. His goal is to build a specialty children’s hospital where babies can receive better care than at El Camino General.
Nurse Tammy Crawford, a white geriatrics nurse, wants to better herself in the medical profession and become a nurse practitioner. After her mother died and father abandoned her, she must prove her self-worth. She doesn’t believe the fairytales her older sister holds dear—the stories about Jesus Tammy learned as a child.
Wow. They sound like very contrasting characters.
What are some of the obstacles these characters face as a result of their racial differences?
In the story, spiritual truth is actually the primary obstacle Tammy and Michael face. Though they fall in love, Michael remembers the Word of God warns against unequally yoked relationships. When he discovers Tammy’s not a believer, a red flag glares.
But racial differences play a large part in the story as well. Michael’s brother, Darnell, is embittered against white people because of experiences in college. Too, he attended a liberal college that taught him blacks have always been oppressed by white people and need to rise up to the challenge. Darnell tries everything he can think of to break Tammy and Michael up, including lying to her about how his parents would never want their son to marry a white woman.
When Michael regretfully goes against his Christian beliefs and spends one night with Tammy, she finds herself pregnant. After Darnell’s warning, Tammy believes Michael’s parents would never accept a child who’s only half black so she considers a deadly alternative.
Sounds like a compelling storyline!
When most people think of racism, they think of it as being directed towards black people rather than the other way around, but in this story, it is Michael’s brother who has deeply rooted racial prejudice. Why did you choose to take the less obvious approach with this story?
Writers are continually asking “what if?” I asked the question ‘What if an affluent black person was prejudiced against a white person?’ I figured it would make the story a bit more thought-provoking and place a twist on the novel, yet it would still convey the message in my heart. The principle is the same. Prejudice against anyone because of the skin color is wrong, white or black.
It’s a great ‘what if’ to ask. I think in any case where there is a legitimate grievance, our most basic instinct is to return in kind, but it really just perpetuates the problem, doesn’t it. It will require people on both sides of the racial divide to choose love if we are to overcome racial tensions.
Did you need to do a lot of research in order to write about the tensions in an interracial relationship, or is this something you have observed from real life?
Both. I grew up in El Paso, Texas where racial tension among whites and blacks didn’t exist. Though my husband and I moved to the South, I lived in a small, Christian-oriented community where racial tension wasn’t evident. But what I learned from history books and observed on the national news sparked a flame in me.
I also did research, especially how racial issues have evolved through the years and how liberal colleges today seem to perpetuate this problem.
I had opportunity to interview a couple of amazing people. One was a single, black professor from Birmingham, Alabama who also loved the Lord. He said he felt that socio-economical factors would play a greater part in a bi-racial romance than the differences in race. A thought-provoking answer, in my opinion.
Another was a dear black woman I talked to for several hours at the VA hospital while we both waited for our husbands to have procedures. This woman was a devout Christian and said she felt poor, young black men are taught to hate and believe that whites have oppressed them. They tend to blame all their problems in life on race instead of trying to overcome their difficulties.
They’re both thought-provoking answers, aren’t they. It was great that you were able to incorporate those first-hand perspectives.
Overall, what would you like readers to take away from this story?
When a person accepts Jesus Christ into his/her life, he has opportunity to learn what God says. A person, white or black, born-again by God’s spirit is dearly loved and accepted into His eternal kingdom. Nowhere in the Word does it say God looks at skin color. As a matter of fact, He sees our hearts, not our outward appearance. There are many examples of biracial marriages in the Bible—Moses for one. When a person learns to love others the way the Lord first loved him/her, he finds meaning and direction in life, overcoming whatever the world throws in his path. God has a plan for every person on this planet, and we only need to ask Him for direction. I believe any conflict among humans is rooted in hate and the influence by the enemy of God.
The enemy loves to stir up hatred and conflict. Anything to take our eyes off God! I pray that your book will make it into the hands of readers who need to hear its message.
Thank you for chatting with me today, June.
Interview by Katie Donovan.