Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.
Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association’s top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.
Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.
Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.
Can you tell us something about your Christian testimony?
I was reared in a Christian home. My parents were active in church, my father an elder, my mother a deaconess. I attended Christian summer camps, youth group and said grace at every meal. I thought being born into a Christian family and raised in the faith made me a Christian. It didn’t. Each person makes their own choice, and it took me years to surrender to Jesus – not until after I’d gone through college, married, had children and started a writing career. Rick and I went to church, but came away dissatisfied and knowing there must be something more. We both had personal issues that brought us close to divorce several times. We wanted our own way and to have control over our own lives. Having control is an illusion. As a child, I’d asked Jesus to be my Savior. What I didn’t understand is I needed to surrender my life to Him and allow Him to be LORD of my life as well.
Where do you get your ideas for your plots?
Almost every story I have written since becoming a Christian has come from a question that regards a struggle in my own faith walk. The plot centers around the different ways that question can be answered by “the world” – but the quest is to find God’s answer. Here is a list of my novels with the questions that started each story:
A Voice in the Wind: How do I share my faith with unsaved family members and friends who have no desire to read the Bible or hear me talk about my faith?
An Echo in the Darkness: How many times are we called upon to forgive people who hurt us deliberately — and (in many countries) would like to see us dead?
As Sure As the Dawn: How do you deal with anger – especially when there is “good” cause? What is “righteous anger” and how does it look?
The Scarlet Thread: What does “sovereignty” mean in man’s relationship with God? If He is in control of everything, what does that say about the bad things that happen to people?
The Atonement Child: Is there complete forgiveness and restoration for a woman who has aborted her child? Does abortion have any effect on the woman and the man involved in the crisis pregnancy? Does it impact people around them? (This was my most painful and personal book because I needed to face and deal with my own abortion experience. The character of Hannah is based on my story; Evie is based on my mother’s.)
Leota’s Garden: Are abortion and euthanasia connected? Is euthanasia merciful or an act of murder? This novel also came out of my work on The Atonement Child. While studying the abortion issue from all sides, I realized the arguments for abortion are exactly the same as those for euthanasia. While going through a post-abortion class with other women (one a nurse), I learned that the elderly are already at risk. One scene in the book continues to shock people. I wrote it for that purpose. I want people to understand life is precious. The movement toward legalizing euthanasia continues to gain momentum (and has less to do with “mercy” than saving money for care).
And the Shofar Blew: What is a church? How do you build it? During my travels around the country and speaking at various churches, I saw many struggling through building projects and massive programs to draw more parishioners. Size of building and number of people in the pews seemed to define success or failure. Like a government out of control, the “church” (in many cases) has forgotten its foundation and purpose. Christ is the cornerstone. Believers meet together to study the Word of God, worship Him and encourage one another – and keep their doors and hearts open to those seeking God. Unfortunately, too many congregations have left their first love (Jesus Christ) and turned to idolatry (placing a building/drawing a crowd/being “politically correct” above a relationship with the Lord).
Her Mother’s Hope / Her Daughter’s Dream: What caused the rift between my grandmother and mother? When my grandmother had a stroke, my mother raced from Oregon to the Central Valley of California to be with her. Grandma died before she arrived. My mother was heart-broken and said, “I think she willed herself to die just so we wouldn’t have to talk things out.” I have wondered since: What causes people (even Christians) to hold grudges? What might have brought resolution and restoration to these two women? Could my grandmother have loved my mother without my mother understanding it? The two books have many personal, family details woven in and I will be sharing this information in my blog.
Which book was the hardest to write and why?
What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?
Tell us about your God box and how it inspired you to write this story.
I also put into the God Box things like the Angel Tree Project ornaments, or the ornaments from the Salvation Army tree. I’d never know those children or what happened to them, but putting the ornaments into the box was a way to give them to the Lord and trusting them to his care.
When I was asked to write a short story for the Angel Tree Foundation, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I had never written a children’s story before. One afternoon the story came to me, based on the practice of the God Box. I wrote The Shoe Box in one afternoon—it just flowed out, and I knew exactly what I needed to say. That’s the only time a story came so easily!
Tell us about your current work.
I have just completed the second in a set of two books about mother-daughter relationship over four generations. This was intended to be one long novel dealing with the different ways generations have lived out their faith – but became so long it needed to be divided. Her Mother’s Hope was released on March 16, 2010. Her Daughter’s Dream will follow in September. There are numerous family and personal details woven into both books and I plan to share those things on my blog. You may find out more about my new book and more by visiting my web site at www.FrancineRivers.com.
About the Book:
From the beloved, best-selling author of Redeeming Love comes a powerful epic that spans continents and generations in an unforgettable story about family and faith, dreams and disappointments, and ultimately the resilience and tenacity of love.
Best-selling author Francine Rivers pens a sweeping and lyrical two-book saga that explores the depths of grace and forgiveness in one of life’s fiercest bonds—the love between mother and daughter.
Do you ever have that feeling that no matter what you do, your dreams and hopes will never come true? That you will always be a disappointment to the people who should be cherishing you the most no matter what? Well, that is exactly what happened to Marta, the young girl in this novel. My heart was immediately captured from the beginning, when she, just a girl of 12 years old, went through so much struggle, pain and heartache. I was hooked through the whole book, seeing Marta become a woman and then, later, a mother. It was truly powerful. The Swiss dialect was an added bonus!
Though this book is written to be a fictional one, there is fact woven through the story, based on Francine’s history. I think that just adds the soul-capturing realness of the book. It was as if I was flown back in time to Marta’s life and feeling the things that she felt. All because of the amazing work of Francine Rivers. I was not fortunate enough to have read any of Francine’s other books, like Redeeming Love, but, oh how I wish I had read her other works too! If they are as amazing and heart-felt as this captivating story then I want to go back and read ALL of her works!
The story has history,family, love, fight, forgiveness, broken trust, new trust and most importantly, the work of God. A wonderful, powerful, riveting combination. I am struggling right now with the fact that the book actually ended, and now I have to WAIT for book, Her Daughter’s Dream. I know that book 2 will be as fascinating as book 1.
If you are looking for a book that will capture you heart and soul and mind, then I HIGHLY suggest you read this amazing book. I am rating it with the highest of 5 stars possible (though I truly wish at a time like this that it could be the highest of 500 stars!) and wonderful praises to the author for such a soul capturing story! Well done!
To see what other blog hosts have to say about Francine’s novel, please click here.
Read the first chapter here.
See the book trailer here.
Purchase a copy here.
*PLEASE NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to the me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.*