Jennifer Faulk - A Love Story Full of Sunshine and Rain
Jenn Faulk is a native Texan who enjoys reading and writing chick lit. She’s a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and a marathon enthusiast who loves talking about Jesus and what a difference He’s made in her life. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and a MA in Missiology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Meant to Be.
Please give us a short introduction to what Meant to Be is about.
Meant to Be is, first and foremost, a love story about old friends who are reunited and rediscover one another. It’s a story about coming back to faith, finding God’s purpose for your life, and trusting Him with the future. It’s a story about the love that comes from weathering the storms of life together and sacrificially caring about another person. There’s a lot more to the story than just Jude and Lucy and their relationship… but I don’t want to spoil it!
Why did you have your characters meet in Namibia?
A lot of my books are set in Namibia – particularly Swakopmund, Namibia, a town where I lived for two years as a missionary. Jude was part of a family from some of those past books, so when I had Lucy’s parents accept a missionary appointment there, it just made sense for Jude and Lucy to meet there as well. It made for an interesting introduction with Lucy discovering a whole new part of the world and Jude acting as a friend and tour guide of sorts. I love that Meant to Be turned that dynamic on its head, with them in the US, with Lucy being a reminder of home to Jude.
Tell us more about Lucy Anderson. What makes her tick?
Lucy Anderson is a nineteen-year-old college student who knows just exactly what the rest of her life is going to look like. She starts the book with a perfectly constructed plan for the summer, a plan that fits with her aspirations and future career goals, and even goes so far as to reassure her mother over the phone that she has it all together. Then, of course, those plans get upended, and we get to see what Lucy’s really made of, what/who her faith is really in, and how she’ll make the best out of a bad situation. As the book progresses, circumstances out of Lucy’s control make for some dramatic changes in her life, and she has a crisis of faith, asking herself what she really believes about God and answering some hard questions about His sufficiency when the worst happens. I think she’s a typical young adult, finding herself as she’s coming of age, and when life takes a very unexpected turn, it’s interesting to see how that contributes to who she’s becoming.
Jude offers Lucy a spot as a roadie on his band’s tour. Why did you pick this experience as a way to get them to connect?
Lucy is a Christian, a very “good girl” who has been living a sheltered life. I loved the idea of putting her in a place and a position that would challenge her faith and expose her to a very different world, and being a roadie for a rock band was just perfect. Not only did we see Lucy wrestling with her faith in a real-world context, but there were plenty of opportunities for conflict and humor with the other band members, with the fans, and with the lifestyle that went with it all. I loved that all of these experiences made for growth in Lucy and that we saw these moments bring Jude back to his faith.
What is so special about Jude Botha?
When the book opens, we see that he’s been running from God for the past several years as he’s been chasing fame and fortune. It becomes clear within the first few pages that he’s disillusioned with where he is, with what his life has become, and it’s entirely providential that he’s reintroduced to Lucy when he is. As the book goes on, we see that he’s at war with who he’s become – a womanizing, selfish, opportunist – and who he once was – a kind, tender, selfless believer. The fact that he’s open to changing, that he finds himself again as he comes back to the faith of his childhood, to a faith that has now matured and weathered some storms, is remarkable. And then, when Lucy needs him in ways we couldn’t have predicted at the beginning of the story, he’s completely and totally swoon-worthy, a hero in every sense of the word with the way he sacrificially cares for her and loves her.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a big Disney fan and love planning vacations to Walt Disney World. I’m not sure if that translates into a “secret skill” or not, but I have tons of useless trivia facts about the parks stored away in my memory, along with ride descriptions, resort information, and – yes – lists of best and worst food choices when it comes to Disney dining. I’m a little obsessed, honestly, lol!
Why romance, what drew you to the genre?
I love reading romance, and I love stories about redemption in Christ. Putting the two together creates entertaining love stories with eternal significance. I love writing stories that both deliver all the feels on the romance side, while also challenging and encouraging readers to know God better.
You are a pastor’s wife. How does your faith influence your writing?
My faith influences every part of my life, and that definitely includes my writing. I’m thankful for the medium of romance novels, of being able to use stories about real-life to communicate timeless truths from scripture. There’s something powerful about seeing real application, even on a fictional level, to the promises that God makes in His word, and it’s always a joy when I hear from readers that something they’ve read in one of my books has made their faith richer.
Readers say this book took them on an emotional roller coaster. Was this intentional?
I had certainly hoped that readers would feel a wide range of emotions with this book. There’s the love story, which is sweet and tender, and the humor, which comes at unexpected times. And then, there’s the second half of the book and the big issue there, which I knew would be emotional. I’m very pleased to know that the delicate subject was handled in a way that resonated with readers and came across as authentic.
What is your favorite line from the book?
“That accent in his low, throaty voice, that same voice that she remembered, transporting her back to another time and place. Was this why her heart raced like it did, as she felt as though she was back in Namibia, underneath the African sun?”
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I write the ending! I want to know where it’s going, make sure that whatever conflicts I’m thinking up can be happily resolved with a satisfying ending. I generally write the ending first, then the very beginning.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write five days a week and write at least two thousand words a day. This helps to keep me going, even if I’m in a slump, and it guarantees that I always have something on paper (or on my laptop, in my case) to revise and edit. Even if what I write one day is all garbage, it’s garbage that I can work through, determining what needs to be changed, how it can be improved, and what I need to do to push the story further. I was once hesitant to write anything unless it was perfect, but that gets you nowhere quickly. If I force myself to write even the most uninspired words, I have something to work with at the end of the day.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’m on Facebook at Jenn Faulk Books, on Instagram @jennfaulk, on Twitter @jennfaulk, and have a website – www.jennfaulk.com and a newsletter, which readers can subscribe to by going to this link - http://www.subscribepage.com/m3b1m1
All of my books are on Amazon and available both for purchase and on Kindle Unlimited. One of my books – Happily Ever After – is always free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.