Author Jerusha Agen joins us today. Jerusha is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her fiction includes the Sisters Redeemed Series, A Ruby Christmas, and A Dozen Apologies.
Let’s welcome Jerusha!
Jerusha, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I enjoy a wonderful life in the beautiful Midwest, where I live with my family, which includes three furry dogs and two furry cats.
I was born and raised in the Midwest and have never seen a reason to leave. Most people who do leave the area I live in do so because of the long, cold winters. But, God gave me a tremendous love for snow and cold, so the winters here are just perfect for me!
My winter hobbies include cross-country skiing, building snow “bears” (much cuter than snowmen), and tossing snowballs to my dogs. All year round, I enjoy baking, reading the classics of literature, and watching old movies.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
When I was about thirteen or so, I wrote a short story that came to me all at once in one night (when I was supposed to be sleeping, actually). I wrote it down as quickly as I could, and the next morning, I showed it to my mom.
The story was a sad one about dealing with death of a loved one, and I was astonished when it actually moved my mom to tears! I had never realized until then the power of story, and that I, even at such a young age, could actually impact and move people by what I wrote. I declared then that I wanted to be a writer.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
My aim with all of my writing is to glorify God with the stories I tell and every word I write. The ideas and creativity He’s given me come from Him anyway, so what better use of those gifts than to tell His stories! So I write Christian fiction to fulfill the purpose to which He has called me—to glorify Him through stories that proclaim the good news of the Gospel, His hope, mercy, and love.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
I have to admit that I’m actually still working on this. My greatest obstacle in writing is fear. Sometimes I fear that I’m doing the wrong thing in pursuing writing, I fear that I don’t have what it takes to be a successful writer, that the story ideas will stop coming, that I won’t be published again or soon enough—I fear that I will fail. But you notice there are a lot of “I’s” in that list. Really, the biggest obstacle to my writing is the reality that lies beneath my fear—I only fear when I focus on myself and stop trusting the Lord.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that God has called me to write for Him, but the daily application of that belief can be difficult. I think this is true not just for writers, but most people as we tend to focus on ourselves and our own ideas of what our lives should look like, how things should unfold, and then we panic or worry when life doesn’t go according to our plan.
That doesn’t mean that we were wrong in our belief of God’s calling in our lives. It simply means that we are not the ones in charge. And if we truly believe what we say we believe, there is no cause for fear. God is in charge of the story of our lives, including my writing and my career. And I am so thankful that the Creator of all things who knows the future and holds it in His hands is the one in control of my life. I would mess it up quite royally if I were in charge!
But the truth that God is in control and His plans are perfect is something that I need to remind myself of daily when I sit down to write and the fears try to gain the upper hand. Prayer helps me get through this—just praying that the Lord will use me to write the story that He wants told and that my words will be His, not my own.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
Oh, yes, in countless ways. One of those changes relates to what I was just saying about my greatest obstacle. My writing journey has really been a spiritual journey, as I learn more about myself and my weaknesses and how much I therefore need God’s strength, wisdom, and providence.
This writing business stretches me in so many ways, but most especially in the daily exercise of letting go of my fears to trust in the Lord, knowing that He will use my efforts to His glory, no matter how inadequate or even unpublishable they may be.
If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
The past, for sure. There would be so many interesting people and events of history to witness, but, aside from being able to witness biblical events, I think my choice would be to meet some of my ancestors. I’ve recently learned more about them and am fascinated by what motivated them to immigrate, become pioneers, fight in the Civil War as immigrants, etc. I believe I could learn more about myself and my family by being able to meet my ancestors, learn who they truly were, and see what their lives were like.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
I’d say my three dogs, but then I’d have to worry about their safety and health. So discounting that option, I guess I’d have to make do with a tooth brush, tooth paste, and chocolate.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
The Apostle Paul. It would be incredible and life-changing to be in the presence of a Christian so human and yet so in tune with the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. Paul’s writings also show that God gifted him with a brilliant mind and special ability to teach and inspire others in their Christian walk. What an amazing mentor the Apostle Paul must have been!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
To be reminded or understand for the first time that even in the darkest places, there is hope, and His name is Jesus.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m excited about the current and future stories that God is giving me to write! The Lord has led me in the direction of romantic suspense, a bit of a change from the Sisters Redeemed Series, which is women’s fiction. But writing suspense comes naturally to me, and I enjoy the genre. I’ve recently finished a romantic suspense novel that I hope will find a publishing home soon.
In the meantime, I’m working on another romantic suspense novel that will be the first in a series of stories based on historical heists. The settings of these stories will all be contemporary, but each of the main characters will try to solve the mysteries of history’s unsolved heists. While the stories go deep with vital Christian themes, the series is also fun and full of action, with a dash of romance.
Please tell us about the featured book.
This Dance is Book One in the Sisters Redeemed Series and tells the story of Nye Sanders. A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.
Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?
Where can readers find you on the Internet?
You can sign up for my newsletter and check out my books at my website, www.SDGwords.com. I hope to meet you there!