COUNT IT ALL JOY
Hello, there, folks! I'm excited to interview a very special lady today...April McGowan. In addition to the interview, April is hosting a fabulous giveaway of Hold the Light so check out the details at the end of the post. Right now, let's get started!
Renee: Hi April, welcome to the Diamond Mine! I'm so happy you're here. For those new to the Christian Fiction world, how about a quick introduction?
April: My name is April McGowan, and I am a contemporary women’s fiction author with a heart to write about the wounds we carry and God’s great healing providence.
Renee: And quite the gifted author you are! I'd love to talk about how you do that...write about our wounds and God's healing. What makes your latest book, Hold the Light special, possibly in that regard?
April: My book centers on a young artist and her dealing with losing her sight, finding her place again in the world, and reestablishing her footing with God. She feels like He’s taken the gift He gave her away—I think it speaks to anyone who had plans for their lives and were forced to change them due to circumstances outside their control. I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions—and I am secure knowing God has all the answers.
Renee: Yes, He does have all of them, doesn't He? If we are brave enough to accept them, no matter what they may be. Your artist sounds like an interesting character, a deep one. How do you make and keep your characters "three-dimensional," if you understand my meaning?
April: I make sure to really know my characters inside and out before I begin writing. They have flaws and wounds. They suffer from brokenness—but they also harbor hope. I usually draw on real experiences around me to embed them in, and write from my own pain and hopes and joys.
Renee: That's a great place to start any story...the characters. I've tried other places as well as techniques but they just fall short. What would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?
April: My biggest challenge comes from living with chronic illness. I have Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disease—a genetic condition that keeps my body from producing antibodies, so I can’t fight colds or infections. Because of sickness and fatigue, I can’t write every day, and that makes is difficult to finish….anything! But, by God’s grace, He lifts me up and strengthens me for the tasks He puts before me. Even if I don’t get to do what I want to do, I know He is with me.
Renee: Wow, April, that's called "walking through fire." I admire you for remembering who gives you the strength to face the day and to write your stories. God is so good. What would you do if you couldn't write anymore?
April: I’ve thought about that often—which is embedded in my story about Amber and losing her sight. What would it be like if I got so sick I couldn’t do what I loved anymore? I’ve had to give up many things I’ve loved due to illness. So far, though, writing has stayed. And I’m going to keep going, even if it’s only a chapter a month, until I’m done.
Renee: And enjoy every minute of it! Do you have any hobbies?
April: I love reading and I enjoy drawing and playing board games. I’m also a novice drummer—with high aspirations, but little energy. Still. I love it.
Renee: I remember the time we bought our son a drum set. His aspirations for being the best neighborhood drummer didn't last long. Maybe two months? Thankfully! (Did I say that?) Anyway, the drum set was sold the next summer in a garage sale, and I was the happiest mom on the block. LOL I love my guitar although I wouldn't say I'm the best, but, yes, I love it especially high in the mountains...next to a crystal clear lake. Do you have a favorite spot like that?
April: I LOVE the ocean. It’s so peaceful and yet wild and untamed. You can’t stand against it, and you have to respect it. It is a place where I feel the closest to God because every aspect reminds me of Him—the expanse, power, beauty, and life.
Renee: Kind of like my mountains, huh? I love the water, too. So does my dog. In fact, he's a little obsessed about it. He went ballistic this last week when it rained. In and out, in and out of the house...all day long! The cat watched him as if he was a complete idiot. He finally collapsed on the living room floor around five o'clock and didn't move the rest of the evening. Animals. Do you have any pets?
April: Ha! After a near two-year hiatus from having cats, we were ready again (our last two passed on from illness and old age). In July, I went to a shelter to adopt two male littermates, but they were ill—and we’d had enough of that for a while. I made a cursory walk around the shelter and this little black leg with a white paw kept reaching out through the bars to me. Before I knew it, I walked out with a feisty tuxedo female, Saorise (seer-sha). Then a month later, I went to find her a friend, a younger male (so she could keep her princess standing) and found Xander, an all-black, 5-month-old kitty. But, Xander had a cage mate who he’d been with for most of his little life—Liam (4 months). So, I came home with them both (you can’t break up besties!) So, we went from no cats to three kittens in the space of three weeks!
Renee: Three cats! My husband would kill me. He only tolerates my Shasta. At least, that's what he says. But I can't say much, the man has suffered a lot due to her. I've lost count of the surgeries...April, you are a true inspiration to me. Is there a special quote or saying that comes to your mind in times of need or adversity?
April: “Count it all joy.” The phrase is taken from James 1: 2-4. I’ve learned to submit my ways to the Lord and face each challenge with Him. My suffering has absolutely produced perseverance and a joy that surpasses all understanding. Through each trial, each new diagnosis, each sickness or loss, I grow more reliant on the Lord. I get to see His power worked out in my weakness—my illness has become a blessing.
Renee: As I said, an inspiration. Thank you for that. If you could say one thing about your books, what would it be?
April: My books deal with the brokenness we all face, and point us to the Healer and holder of true Hope, Jesus.
Renee: Thank you so much for being with us today, April. And if anyone is having a rough day, remember...Count it all joy!
HOLD THE LIGHT
Rules: Entrants must comment on this post and include at least their first name and email address to validate their entry. Prizes include one signed copy and one e-copy of Hold the Light by April McGowan. Two winners will be selected from eligible entries approximately seven days following post date by random draw with signed copy winner selected first followed by e-copy winner. Winners will be notified via email. If winner does not respond with 72 hours, another winner will be selected. Contest only valid within the United States.
About the Book:
To an artist, the light is everything. So, what is Amber supposed to do when facing blindness?
Amber spent her life adapting first to being abandoned by her birth mother as a toddler, and then to the death of her adoptive father in her teen years. Now she's moved past all that, loving life as an independent woman: she has a job as an art instructor and the perfect apartment.
But when a routine eye appointment reveals she's losing her sight, life comes to a halt. Pressures come at her from all sides. Her mother, her boss, her boyfriend and her closest friend, Shannon, all have ideas about what’s best for her.
Even after her blindness counselor, Ethan, befriends her and opens her eyes to new opportunities and the possibility of a deeper relationship, one haunting question remains: How could the God she loved all her life turn everything upside down again?
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hold-the-light-april-mcgowan/1126823172?ean=9781939023865
About the Author:
April McGowan loves to write stories of hope, courage, and inspiration. She, her husband, and two teens live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is an award-winning author, member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's also the publicity coordinator for Oregon Christian Writers. When she's not writing, reading down her book list, homeschooling her son, chasing her kittens, Saoirse, Xander, and Liam, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she's on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.
Visit my website http://aprilmcgowan.com
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