Happy Monday, reader friends!
Let’s welcome Stacy Hawkins Adams to the blog again!
Today, she’s here to talk about her story Finding Home.
About the Book:
What happens when you’re so desperate for things to go your way, that anything goes? Jessica Wilson Arnold is a superstar professional speaker whose husband and friends fret about the strain of her ambitions, while she hungers for more.
When a medical crisis and some poor decisions bring her fast-track success to a screeching halt, Jessica is forced to admit that her life isn’t as perfectly packaged as advertised. Her quest to restore her health and prioritize what matters most leads her to a crossroad.
Will she revive her faith and learn to love herself and others more deeply, or cling to a path that threatens disaster? Jessica’s desperate choices and gripping fear will take readers on a literary ride that’s both shocking and familiar, mostly leaving them rooting for her to win big – with family, faith and finding her way.
Author bio: Stacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author, journalist and writing mentor whose fiction and nonfiction enlightens readers while helping them find confidence in their own stories.
She has penned nine faith-based novels and one devotional book. She also serves as a parenting columnist for a Virginia-based newspaper and blogs for the Huffington Post on social justice issues.
Stacy lives in Virginia with her family. Learn more about her at www.StacyHawkinsAdams.com.
Interview with Stacy Hawkins Adams, author of Finding Home:
Alexis: Why did you call this book “Finding Home” and what is its involvement with “Winds of Change”?
Stacy: Finding Home is the third book in the Winds of Change series, and since the first two books contained the word “home” (to convey each main character’s search to better understand herself) I wanted to continue that theme with this final book in the series. It also characterizes the reconnection between the main character (Jessica Wilson Arnold) and her two estranged sisters, who are featured in Book 1 and Book 2 in the series. Each book in the series is written as a stand-alone title, meaning it does not need to be read in any particular order. Even so, it was important to show how the main character in Finding Home (Jessica) grew from one level of maturity and self-confidence to another by book’s end.
Alexis: Tell me about your story’s heroine Jessica Wilson Arnold. What drives her? What are her dreams for both her career and personal life? What is her worst weakness? Explain.
Stacy: I don’t want to give away too much and spoil it for readers, because these questions are at the very heart of the book’s plot. Jessica has portrayed herself a certain way to the world. However, as she begins to make decisions that aren’t the wisest or the most loving, her ploy for fame and success by any means necessary surface in stunning ways.
Alexis: How did Jessica become a “superstar professional speaker”? Give insight into her journey.
Stacy: Jessica attended one of the top universities in the nation and used that as leverage to craft a career that would bring her attention, accolades and success like her family had never before experienced. She is the baby of the family, but she is also its rockstar. As her story unfolds, however, readers will learn that her drive is actually borne from a source of deep pain. Everything is not always as it seems.
Alexis: Why do Jessica’s husband and friends “fret about the strain of her ambitions”?
Stacy: They see how driven she is and how hard she works, and they worry that it may cost her what matters most – a loving, meaningful life offstage, when the speaker spotlights are dim. Her husband, who is eager to start a family, feels especially concerned about this.
Alexis: Who is Jessica’s husband? What is his name and how does he help her? Is there anything that he does to deter her from her heart’s desire? Why does he adore his wife?
Stacy: Jessica’s husband Keith is patient and loving and does his best to support her career ambitions even as he seeks to excel in his own pursuits. He’s even patient with her when he wants to start a family, giving her time to accomplish her goals even though it means what he longs for must wait. However, he is also realistic about her need to balance work and life, and he sees that she struggles in this area. Jessica knows her husband loves her unconditionally and would do anything to support her; but when she faces a personal challenge that she can’t control, she’s certain this issue will cause him to demand that she slow down – a step she’s just not ready to take.
Alexis: Is Jessica a workaholic? Why or why not?
Stacy: Jessica is not necessarily a workaholic; she takes time off work and enjoys hanging out with her friends and husband. But she is definitely driven to succeed at all costs. So while she is not working around the clock, per se, she makes strategic decisions (right and wrong) to propel herself to another level of success.
Alexis: Describe the crisis that brings Jessica’s fast-paced lifestyle to a halt. What impact does that have on her career-oriented mind and dream-filled heart?
Stacy: Without giving away too much to readers, I’ll share that she is diagnosed with a chronic health condition that affects her energy and mobility. She is crushed, yet determined to push through. She believes she is too close to seeing her dreams come true to change course for any reason.
Alexis: Would you like to see more characters of color like Jessica in Christian fiction? Why or why not?
Stacy: I hope readers are lured to this book because of the compelling storyline and its twists and turns, without getting hung up on Jessica’s ethnicity and race. She just “happens” to be a successful African American woman with close friends from other backgrounds. Since this is not a social justice story, but instead a novel about one woman’s journey to recognizing and accepting her flaws so that she can self-correct and become a better person, this is a story that any woman can relate to, even if the choices Jessica makes feel foreign to some women readers at the beginning. By book’s end, readers from all backgrounds will appreciate the emotional journey Jessica takes.
Alexis: What steps does Jessica take to restore her health and reconnect with the people that matter most?
Stacy: I don’t want to give away a significant part of her journey before readers have a chance to discover it in the pages of the book. However, I’ll share that by the middle of the novel, she receives a wake-up call that helps her snap out of her selfishness long enough to realize that she needs to do things differently if she wants to enjoy lasting love and develop self-respect.
Alexis: Why does Jessica’s faith need a revival?
Stacy: Like many Christians, she has found herself going through the motions rather than making intentional efforts to connect with God. Additionally, her history as a PK (preacher’s kid) impacted her view of the church and of God, and she has to overcome some childhood experiences to give God another chance to fill her heart and soul.
Alexis: When you first created Jessica’s character and started the rough draft of writing your story, was she someone you could root for or not? Explain.
Stacy: When I wrote the first half of the book I did not like Jessica. Her thought process and her decisions seemed foolish and farfetched to me, even as I crafted them. However, several young women who are millennials that I spoke with about the plot I was crafting encouraged me to keep going because due to the thriving industry of reality TV, many women would view Jessica’s actions as plausible, they insisted. Based on their advice, I moved forward with the plot and with describing Jessica’s schemes, yet I did not care for her! By the time I wrote the second half of the book and explained a little more of her background to readers, I felt compassion for her.
Alexis: Would you say that Jessica is a “strong Black woman”? Why or why not?
Stacy: I seek to avoid stereotypes with my writing and with the characters I create. I write about women who are dealing with issues to which all women can relate, and about women who have unique personalities based on their particular backgrounds; so no- I would not give her this label.
Alexis: Who is Jessica’s closest friend and what role do they play in this story?
Stacy: Jessica has several close women friends and they serve as her “armor bearers” in a sense when she is at her lowest point. Even when she doesn’t respond, they continue to offer her their love and support, as only true friends can.
Alexis: As the author, what was your greatest challenge in writing this story?
Stacy: My greatest challenge in writing this story was to write a plot that seemed so farfetched from women I know and interact with; however, as I indicated in my previous response, my twenty-something readers encouraged me to push forward, because they said Jessica’s choices reflect what some women would actually do in moments of desperation. I hope this story will change their minds!
Alexis: What message do you want your readers to remember most about Finding Home?
Stacy: I would like readers to put down this book with a greater understanding of the importance of truth, integrity, faith, and hope. I hope they’ll be able to relate the struggles Jessica faces to their own Goliaths and know that instead of trying to figure everything out on their own, they, too, can trust God to grant grace and make their paths straight, if they will just stand still and give Him the space and opportunity to work things out for their good.
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Stacy! Would you like to share closing thoughts?
Stacy: Thank you so much for featuring me and my novel Finding Home, Alexis! I’d simply like to thank your readers (in advance) for taking time to read this novel and for sharing their thoughts in online reviews if they are inclined. I hope that even if Jessica’s choices don’t resonate with them, they’ll keep reading to see how she grows over the course of the book and winds up a better, stronger, more faithful version of herself. In case they’re interested, here’s a link to an excerpt from the book: http://www.stacyhawkinsadams.com/finding-home—excerpt.html
Thanks again, and blessings!
*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor
Connect with Stacy:
Website – www.StacyHawkinsAdams.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/shadams
Facebook – www.facebook.com/stacyinspires
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/stacyinspires/
YouTube – https://bit.ly/2H1A7Kv