What better book to read in the summer than something with 'beach' in the title? This title takes me right back to the beach we left just a couple of weeks ago -- I could sit and stare at the water forever. The hugeness of the ocean, the crash of the waves, and the children intent on building their sandcastles cause me to think about my life: what I've done, what I should have done, and where I am at the moment. A few hours at the beach always leave me at peace with God and enthusiastic about where he might want me to go in this life.
Beach Dreams examines how God uses mistakes to bring about his divine purposes. Trish is hosting a contest on her blog so we can share our own mistakes (and she shares one of hers in the interview, below).
Write your response to the writing prompt: How has God used a mistake you made - big or small - for his purposes?The example may be serious or funny, complex or simple, and you may or may not have realized he was even using it at the time it occurred. Post your answer on your own blog, or go to the blog tour site.
I have made more than my share of mistakes, and God has somehow used almost all of them for good, although often I didn't realize it for many years. Many of them related to jobs that I took or choices I made while in college.
One of my biggest mistakes, as a Christian on a prodigal journey, was to make fun of and relentlessly challenge Christians. But in most cases, four that I can remember in great detail, the people were amazingly patient with me by explaining the reasons for their choices and by not pushing me or making me feel stupid for my choices. I can't even remember the names of those people (or I would apologize profusely), but each planted seeds that later resulted in my returning to the love of Christ and provided examples for how I can patiently deal with the questions and irreverence of others.
Be sure to write your story! All those who tell of God's wisdom in using our mistakes and who link back to the blog tour spot will be entered into a contest for a cute little beach tote, a signed copy of Beach Dreams, a beautiful necklace (read the book to understand why!), and a few other fun beachy surprises.
About the Book:
Following up on Sally John’s bestselling Beach House series (The Beach House and Castles in the Sand—nearly 45,000 in combined sales) is a brand-new Beach House book from veteran Harvest House novelist Trish Perry.
Tiffany LeBoeuf recently lost her mother to cancer. Still grieving, Tiffany seeks rest for her body and soul at a cozy beach house in San Diego. A scheduling mix-up causes a double booking, and Tiffany ends up sharing the house with a woman named Eve. When Eve’s boyfriend, Jeremy, arrives to surprise Eve, Tiffany is surprised as well. He settles in at the beach house next door, and what happens after that surprises them all.
A fun, contemporary romance about how God uses even our mistakes to bring about His divine purposes. Beach Dreams is the perfect get-away read.
About the Author:
Trish Perry is an award-winning writer of The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. She served for seven years as the editor of Ink and the Spirit, a quarterly newsletter of the Capital Christian Writers organization in the Washington DC area. She has published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry in Christian and general market media, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Trish lives in Northern Virginia with her son, and has a gorgeous adult daughter and an amazing grandson. You can learn more about Trish at her website, http://www.trishperrybooks.com.
Beach Dreams:Release: July 1, 2008Soft cover, 325 pp., $12.99, 5 ½” x 8 ½ ”Fiction–Contemporary, ChristianISBN: 978-0-7369-2446-7
An Interview With Trish:
Where did you get the idea for the book? I wanted very much to write a book about Jeremy and Tiffany, who were secondary characters in my first two books (The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True). I started to write the third book with the same setting as my first two, but then Harvest House asked if I would move the setting to fit The Beach House Series, the first two books of which were written by Sally John. So I started over and made my east coast protagonists travel across country to sunny San Diego. It was fun to create that facet of their story—it added quite a few layers to the plot. In fact, the circumstances of their getting together was completely different than what I originally planned.
What are the major themes of the book? The importance of seeking God’s guidance constantly surfaces in my stories—the different circumstances that drive my themes usually fit under that umbrella.
Situations aren’t always as they appear, for example, and we can be fooled or we can misjudge others if we don’t constantly seek God’s wisdom and guidance. And sometimes we can miss out on His blessings if we fail to see situations as He means us to.
Another theme that emerged was how difficult it can be when a believer is drawn romantically to a nonbeliever. I’ve touched on the subject before, but in Beach Dreams, the nonbeliever is someone who feels almost real to me (and many readers) at this point. I feel a renewed empathy for Christians in these circumstances. Again, God’s guidance and strength are so important.With which character do you identify the most and why?Certainly Tiff. I’ve never deliberately been mean, as Tiff was in my first two books, but I identified with her in Beach Dreams. She struggles continually to shrug off her less-than-Christian thoughts and desires, and that’s a constant in my life. Christ gave us a beautiful, one-line prayer in Gethsemane: “Yet not as I will but as You will.” Wow, that’s my daily battle—trying to surrender to His will. And I saw that in Tiffany.
What kind of research did you have to do for the book? I relied on Sally’s first two books for the specific setting (since all of The Beach House Series books are set at the same beach house, with different characters). And, since I’ve never been to San Diego, I spent a great deal of time researching the various places available to tourists and residents of the area.
I also researched Bristol, England and Kings College, London, because both sites figure in Jeremy’s background, and his father visits from Bristol.
Certainly the research tasks were simple compared to those required for historical writing, and for that I’m grateful!
Was it difficult to write a book in a series, following someone else? It was a new challenge, but Harvest House was clear with me that I had significant leeway in my approach. We didn’t want the book to disappoint Sally John’s readers by being wildly different from her style, but we also wanted to maintain a style my readers had come to expect. I think we accomplished a happy medium.
Why did you decide to bring back characters from your previous books? There was such an unfinished feel for me with regard to Jeremy by the time I finished my first draft of Too Good to Be True. He had become so lovable, but he was still alone and spiritually lost. Both my editor and I hoped there would be an opportunity to do a third novel, with Jeremy and someone falling in love and Jeremy getting a clue about Christ. Because Tiffany had been such a pain in The Guy I’m Not Dating and for much of Too Good to Be True, it was fun showing how God could reach even her. So her development became intriguing to me, too. Surprisingly, I received requests from many readers to throw these two characters together. I’m not such a unique thinker after all!
What is a mistake - big or small - that you’ve made that you could later see God used for a specific purpose and how did he use it? I was deeply into adulthood when I went back to school to earn a degree. Rather than fretting over having waited so long, I focused on the fact that now I knew what I really wanted to be. A psychological therapist. You couldn’t have found a more attentive, diligent student, and I did well. So, when I neared graduation and realized I had developed an overwhelming desire to write fiction, I freaked out just a little. How could I switch gears yet again? Had I just wasted years earning a degree I wasn’t going to actually use? That felt like a huge mistake.
But God knew what He was doing. If you want to do an in-depth study of character goals, motivation, and conflict, you go on out there and earn a degree in Psychology. I may not be too quick in the plotting and scene-setting departments, but my psychological training comes in handy when creating characters and walking with them through life. I think that’s why God led me to get that degree, and now I know I didn’t waste a moment learning what I did.
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