Please extend a warm welcome to a familiar face here on our blog!
Journalist Stacy Hawkins Adams returns to answer my questions about book number two in her Jubilant Soul Series, Worth a Thousand Words.
About the book:
Life has always gone Indigo Burns’s way. She’s smart, pretty, and talented, and she knows exactly what she wants. A photography internship at her hometown’s local newspaper is the next step in her well-laid plans for her future. But her long-term goals are put to the test when her boyfriend Brian proposes–two years before he’s supposed to and in front of all the guests at her college graduation party. Too concerned about his feelings to say no, she heartily agrees, but inside she’s cringing.
Indigo knows in her heart that she’s not prepared to sacrifice her dreams to become Brian’s wife–not before she has achieved any of them. Will she find the answers among family and friends in Jubilant, Texas? Or will the picture-perfect life she dreams of be left behind?
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 about her book, Worth a Thousand Words:
Alexis: What was the inspiration behind the title of this book?
Stacy: Worth a Thousand Words is a metaphor for how the truth is worth a thousand words. The main characters in this novel had to choose between living their lives to please others or finding the courage to stand in their own truths.
Alexis: Indigo is a very artsy, unique name for a heroine. How did you imagine her name? What is she like? Describe her personality, passion, career goals and dreams of her heart.
Stacy: I’m always on the hunt for intriguing character names – whether I find them in articles or overhear them in conversations. I don’t quite recall how I discovered this particular name, but when I heard it, I fell in love, and when it was time to create a young character who was vibrant and arts-oriented (via her photography), this name seemed perfect.
Indigo is a recent college grad beloved by her family, including her favorite older cousin Rachelle, who is the main character in The Someday List, the first novel in my Jubilant Soul series. She is eager to launch a career as a photographer and see the world, so she is caught off guard when her handsome boyfriend – who her parents consider to be “a good catch” – proposes at her graduation party before she even has a chance to experience independence. While she says yes to the proposal to save face, her heart is screaming something else, and she must decide which path to take.
Alexis: Why would her boyfriend Brian’s proposal interfere with her carefully constructed life plans?
Stacy: In part because she is so young that her plans simply include being excited about the possibilities life could offer. By choosing to follow Brian in following his dream, she might always wonder if she had compromised her own. And truthfully, Indigo has to decide whether the love she feels for Brian is truly deep enough to spend the rest of her life with him, or just convenient and pleasing to her parents.
Alexis: Does Indigo love Brian? It looks like her heart didn’t want to say “yes”.
Stacy: As I mentioned above, she does, but even she is not sure if it’s an enduring, God-ordained love. They make a picture-perfect couple, but beyond the surface, are they really compatible, and meant to help each other flourish in their purpose and dreams? The fact that Indigo seems less than thrilled by the proposal and the impending wedding plans makes her wonder.
Alexis: Why does Indigo fear marriage and settling down with Brian?
Stacy: Because she’s so young. There’s so much to learn about herself and life and her purpose. She doesn’t know how to articulate this, but what she’s feeling is the question of “Is there something more?” And the fact that she’s asking herself this in various ways is her clue that there probably is something more, or at least something different, for her.
Alexis: What were the challenges unique to writing this story?
Stacy: This was a fun book to write because it allowed me to explore the inner thoughts, hopes, and fears of two young adult characters (in their early 20s), at a pivotal time in their lives. The only challenge was trying to tell the story without giving away Brian’s struggles too early and also those of a few other characters. I also sought to write about the issues they were facing in a balanced way so that readers could decide for themselves whose side to take.
Alexis: What were the most rewarding parts of writing this novel?
Stacy: Showing the humanity of all of the characters, even when they made choices that I knew readers might question or find frustrating. My goal was to show their motivation for their choices so that when readers put down the book and considered the choices of people around them, they might begin to extend a little more grace.
Alexis: As a real-life journalist, was it easy for you to write the scenes where Indigo takes pictures with her professional camera? Why or why not?
Stacy: Yes – having worked in newsrooms with great professional photographers was a bonus. I was able to pull from those experiences to make Indigo’s summer job realistic.
Alexis: As an author of color, do you feel like you need to write about characters that look like you and share your experiences? Or do you write stories about characters that are not of color too? Explain.
Stacy: I write about the humanity of all characters because, at the end of the day, we all care about the same things and about people we love. We all want to be safe, happy, loved and fulfilled, and we all can grow from a personal relationship with God. With that in mind, it’s a pleasure to write about characters of color who reflect this, because this is who I am, and many people I know. At the same time, I’ve heard from readers of all backgrounds that they’ve found my stories relatable, and that they were surprised once they started reading how they sometimes forgot that the characters “happened” to be African American.
I don’t take those comments to mean that there’s anything wrong with having characters who are people of color; instead, I believe what they’re saying is that the stories were relevant to them, no matter what the characters looked like. And yes – I often include characters in my books who are not African American, because we live in a multi-cultural world, and this helps the book feel more true-to-life.
I also try to show that true friendship, grace, love, and caring can be more powerful than any surface or cultural differences; we just have to open our hearts and eyes to this and truly see the other person.
Alexis: What do you want your readers to remember most about this story?
Stacy: I want readers to remember that trusting the truths in your heart is the best path to take, in every aspect of your life.
Each of the primary characters in this novel experienced a peace beyond understanding when they embraced this reality and stood tall in who they felt called to be and in what they felt led to do. This doesn’t mean it was always easy or that the path was always clear; but because they were honoring what they felt was right, they knew they would be okay. They trusted that God’s hand on their lives was the best roadmap to follow to their joy.
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Stacy! Would you like to share closing thoughts?
Stacy: Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers about my novel Worth a Thousand Words. I loved writing this book and I hope they will find it inspiring, eye-opening and thought-provoking. I’d love to receive feedback on my social media pages. In the meantime, I wish everyone reading this all my best.
Connect with Stacy:
Website – www.StacyHawkinsAdams.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/shadams
Facebook – www.facebook.com/stacyinspires