Good Monday Morning, reader friends!
Today, we’re interviewing Jan Thompson about her book Know You More.
Interview with Jan Thompson about her book, Know You More:
Alexis: Know You More is Book 1 in the Savannah Sweethearts series. Briefly tell us about this series. Why is it special to you?
Jan: Savannah Sweethearts is my series of contemporary Christian romance, set in the city of Savannah, Georgia, and on the small beach town of Tybee Island by the Atlantic Ocean.
There are 11 books in all in Savannah Sweethearts, a mix of novels and novellas, including a prequel novel (that doubles up as a prelude to other spin-off and sister series). In this series, 7 of the books are multiracial romances.
I love the city of Savannah, where I have visited with my family on vacations. I decided to create a story world there, on the warm and sunny (in the summer, anyway) coast of Georgia, rich with history and vibrant with modern life. I am happy to showcase the ethnic diversity of my home state of Georgia in these books.
Alexis: What or who inspired you to write this book?
Jan: Across the board, whether contemporary Christian romance, romantic women’s fiction, or Christian romantic suspense, my inspiration to write is the same: to God be the glory. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Heidi Wei. What is she like (looks and personality)? Who does she love (people)? What is her strongest trait? What does she value in life? Explain.
Jan: A Chinese-American, Heidi Wei is working on her doctorate in history. When Know You More starts, Heidi is in a conversation with her brother about their lives as they know it. Heidi has been in graduate school for years. Her brother wants her to go out there and do something more than just perpetually earning degrees.
Sneak peek: Ming’s own story is in the next book, Tell You Soon.
Heidi’s strongest trait is her sincere care for people, which has led her to help in the Riverside Chapel ministry of visiting elderly church members who are unable to physically attend worship services.
Most of all, Heidi values God’s perfect will for her life.
Alexis: Tell us about your story’s hero Diego Flores. What is he like (looks and personality)? What are his strengths and weaknesses? What are his core values in life? Explain.
Jan: A biracial Christian pastor whose father is Latino and mother is Italian, Diego Flores is the young pastor of Riverside Chapel. He is tasked to grow the small church and feed the flock. He is so busy with church life that he doesn’t think he has time for his own personal life. Along comes Heidi…
Diego’s biggest strength is that he is committed to the calling of God for his life as the pastor of a busy church. He handles the Word of God carefully, and honors God when he preaches Sunday after Sunday. He takes after his father, a retired pastor who still counsels him and gives him advice.
However, when it comes to matters of his own heart, Diego is at a loss. He tries to keep Heidi at bay, being quite sure that he doesn’t need her. And yet…
Alexis: What draws Heidi and Diego together? What threatens to tear them apart?
Jan: Heidi and Diego have been friends for some years, so they are often in each other’s company, whether at church or doing ministry projects together. Both of them are Christians who desire to serve the Lord.
What threatens them apart? I’m trying to be careful not to give away spoilers! However, you’ll find out about the ups and downs of their lives when you read the book. At this time, the Know You More ebook happens to be free at these major online book retailers (see retailer links).
Alexis: You’ve mentioned that your book Know You More is a Multiracial Christian Romance. What does that mean?
Jan: I do believe that God created the human race, so we are all one race. By multiracial, I mean that my two main characters have multiethnic ancestries. My story world culture is still definitively Christian, since I write primarily about Christians. Thus, the books in Savannah Sweethearts are not multi-religious, as I focus on the Christian church life environment.
Alexis: What are the racial makeup of Diego and Heidi? Briefly describe their backgrounds.
Jan: A Latino-Italian-American, Diego Flores is the last unmarried son in his family, and the only one called to be a pastor of his own church. He is very close to his father, who travels a lot with his wife, now that all their sons have grown up with lives of their own.
A Chinese-American, Heidi Wei has been on her own with her brother since their parents perished in the mission field. They live on Tybee Island, minutes from the city of Savannah, where they are helping Diego Flores to build and grow their small church on the Savannah River.
Alexis: Why was writing this multiracial romance story important to you as an author of color?
Jan: For years I have been unable to find clean Christian fiction that reflects real life America, with its rich ethnic diversity—that is, my world, my community.
My own family is multiracial. I have relatives who are from various ethnic origins around the world. My all-American son has at least five ethnicities in him, from Chinese and Japanese to English and Irish to Native American.
I find it ironic that it took so long for Christian publishers to come around to publishing books showing that America is a melting pot of many ethnicities and cultural origins.
Therefore, in the words of Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” (source: Goodreads)
So there by the grace of God, go I, with not just one book, but several series of books that reflect my multiethnic world.
Alexis: What kind of impact are you hoping that this book will make on your readers? Why?
Jan: It is my hope that not only are my readers entertained by this beach romance, but that they also take away some verses that might be encouraging to them or to someone they know. Throughout Know You More, I mention Bible verses that apply to Diego’s and Heidi’s many situations. In a church life series, it’s impossible to avoid mentioning the Word of God, and I am happy to talk about God all day long.
Alexis: What role does faith in God play in this story?
Jan: In every book in the Savannah Sweethearts series, I sign off with a farewell verse from the main characters. I hope that those scriptural references would be a good reminder to my readers about the importance of faith in God.
For Know You More, the overarching verses at the end of the book are:
“And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psalm 56:3).
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Jan! God bless you.
Jan: Thank you very much for having me here. I appreciate the interview. These are amazingly insightful questions. I am delighted to be able to share a little bit about the main characters in Know You More and the setting of the Savannah Sweethearts series. Thanks again, and may God bless you too!
*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor
USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson writes clean and wholesome multiethnic contemporary Christian romance with elements of women’s fiction, Christian romantic suspense with an air of mystery, and inspirational international thrillers with threads of sweet Christian romance.
Jan’s books are for readers who love inspiring stories of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ.
About the Book:
He loves her… He loves her not…
She’s waiting for him to decide.
A young pastor of a growing church in a thriving community, Diego Flores has to come to grips with God’s will for his church and his personal life.
From USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson come 10 clean and wholesome, sweet and inspirational contemporary Christian romances set on the beaches of Tybee Island and in the city of Savannah, Georgia, two of the most romantic coastal towns in the world.
Welcome to Savannah, Georgia, in the multicultural new south! Meet a group of multiracial and multiethnic churchgoing Christians who love the Lord, work hard in their careers, and seek God’s will for their love lives. Against a backdrop of ocean, sand, and sun, these inspirational romances showcase aspects of the human need for God and for one another.
These sweet and wholesome Christian beach romances begin with KNOW YOU MORE, the story of Diego Flores and Heidi Wei living in the city of Savannah and on the sunny beaches of Tybee Island.