Monday, September 30, 2013

"An Open Window" Sneak Peak!

It’s a busy time in my life!

The other day in my Child Welfare Class we talked about how stress can negatively affect a client’s life. My professor handed out a test for us to take, called the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. On this test it says, “Holmes and Rahe found that a score of 150 gives you a 50-50 chance to developing an illness. A score of 300+ gives you a 90% chance of developing an illness, having an accident or “blowing up.””

I scored a 478.

But don’t worry. I had my meltdown a week before my wedding, when I got really sick, was severely dehydrated, and endured a panic attack—which landed me in the E.R. Fun stuff. I’ve lost my grandmother, gotten married, gained new family members (through the birth of my gorgeous niece and my new married family), started a new business (my book business), changed jobs, gotten promoted and given lots of new (and stressful!) responsibilities, had two books published, moved out of my parent’s house, and a few other minor things—all in the last two years. I think I understand now why I had that panic attack!

But, regardless of how stressful all of this has been, I wouldn’t want my life any other way. God has given me this crazy life to live, and I don’t want to hold back or miss any second of my big adventure. And the big adventure got a little more exciting last week when Tate Publishing mailed me my author copy of “An Open Window,” the sequel to my book “Another Ending.” I have 30 days to read through the book for what feels like the millionth time to catch any last minute errors. Once I approve the final draft, we will order books for pre-sale! I’m hosting a book signing event in Crossroads Book and Music in Sioux Falls on October 26th and will be selling books at Monta’s Custom Framing in Yankton in November, and I am hoping to have both copies of my book to sell to you all! Rest assured that I will keep you all posted as to when I have copies to get to you.

Here’s a little sneak peek into what to expect with this book. If you go on and look at the reviews for my first book, you will read this: “The book has a great story line, which deviates from the "normal". This girl has a miserable life because of violence inflicted on her through no fault of her own. The normal route a novel takes is that the girl then meets a nice man who helps her get through the problem and she falls madly in love with him. (I hate novels that imply that a woman can't recover without the "help" of a man.) Whitley instead takes the girl to the feet of Jesus, where real redemption and healing can take place. Hooray for you, Sara Whitley for writing a book that leads to truth, not fantasy. Good job!” 

I love this review. I love that people were able to see that I didn’t want Molly to be rescued by some guy. She was rescued by Christ. But does this mean she can never find love? I don’t think so! I hope those of you who so appreciated the fact that I didn’t end my story with Molly finding love will see that even though I do bring a man into Molly’s life in this second book, I do so in a much different way than many contemporary novels. I don’t bring this man into her life to further save her. I bring him into her life to illustrate to young girls what a Godly relationship looks like, and to emphasize how important it is to hold out for that Godly man. In our culture, we worship love. We want that perfect boyfriend or girlfriend! But we are imperfect creatures who love imperfectly. There is no perfect man or woman out there. But God still works in our lives, and through HIM we are able to love. I hope the teenagers and young adults who read about Molly’s relationships will begin to crave a Godly way of dating. And that is why I feel it was okay to bring a little more romance into this book than the first one. I hope you we be okay with it too J

I really do think you will enjoy seeing Molly take her first steps into a new life. Because really, at the end of “Another Ending,” I could have just walked away from her. The ending was satisfying. We see her come to terms with what has happened to her, we see her forgive herself and accept God’s forgiveness, and we see her return to her friends and family to ask for their forgiveness as well. She’s learning how to survive in her “new normal,” and I could have left you to fill in the blanks yourselves.

But of course I would never really do that, you silly gooses!

I can’t get enough of Molly. I’ve said this many times before, but I don’t think you guys understand. She is real. To me, she is as real as anything. I find myself wanting to call her up for coffee just to spend an afternoon learning from her. One of my favorite attributes about Molly is her willingness to see the sin in her life and to combat it. That’s a hard thing to do! I wish I was more like that—I try to be. I think when I write about Molly, I put part of myself into her. I write about characteristics I want to see grow in myself. One thing you will see in Molly is something that hits very close to home with me, although to a much higher degree. You see, although Molly has forgiven herself and accepted Christ’s forgiveness, she still struggles with regret and feels a great deal of pain over her abortion. God has forgotten, but she never can. And I know all of us can relate to this. Maybe we all haven’t had abortions, but we’ve all done things we hate. We have regrets and pains we wish would just go away. We pray, give our burdens to the Lord, and yet still, in the deepest parts of our souls, we can’t ever really forget.

That stinks.

So even though this is a story of “moving forward,” I bring Molly backwards quite a bit. She thinks about and grieves for her lost child in this story. She always will. I want people to understand that this is normal. It’s part of being human! But the absolutely wonderful thing is this: Christ overcame all of our sin by dying on the cross and rising again. The resurrection defeated sin and death once and for all, and if we, like Molly, choose to accept this totally undeserved gift we can LIVE! I can’t wait for you all to experience one of the most powerful moments in my writing career. And I don’t just say this to toot my own horn. I can say with full honesty that during this particular story, I didn’t write parts of it. The words felt like they came from God himself. One scene brings tears to my eyes and raises goosebumps on my arms every single time I read it. I hope you experience the same. Tell me about it if you do!

Here’s a bit more: You will see Molly continue to struggle with the after effects of being sexually assaulted, along with her regrets of aborting her child. You will feel her pain as she mourns over the loss of Tanner. You’ll see her fight and question God, and you’ll cry with her as she experiences deep pain and loss. While this story is not quite as dark as the first one, it is still very deep. I bring my characters through some pretty intense trials. But the reoccurring theme through this book is that when we lean on God and look to him to lead us, he will bring us exactly where he wants us to be. 

Here’s the “blurb” you’ll read on the back cover:

“A traumatic attack.

An unexpected twist in her perfectly manicured plans.

One fatal mistake that flips her entire world upside down.

Three permanent events that Molly Taylor simply cannot run away from—although for three and a half years she’s tried to. But when Christ reclaims her heart she decides to face the very things she’s tried so desperately to bury deep inside herself, and now she’s on an exhausting journey to find the answer to an age old question: What is God’s plan for my life? Once upon a time Molly thought she knew exactly where God was leading her. She had dreams, passions, and hopes to fall in love. Her former dreams now gone, old passions faded, and the love of her life snatched up, Molly struggles to see God’s plan for her. Much like before, he leads her down a winding road, and Molly’s never quite sure where she will land. But she is sure of one thing: this time, she’s trusting in his plan. With the help of new friends and the reentrance of two people she never thought she’d have relationships with again, Molly is able to take her first steps into a new life.

But will Molly keep the window of her heart open to God’s plans? Or, like before, will she try and seize control and slam the window shut?”

Thank you for partnering with me on this exciting journey! I cherish each and every one of you, and am so glad to have your love and support carrying me through this busy season of my life.