Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Interview with Sharon Hinck

I read Sharon Hinck's latest novel, Renovating Becky Miller, the week we were moving, and I needed the humor and encouragement as we trudged through house complications, a broken-down car, and multiple airplane flights with exhausted kids. I laughed alongside Sharon’s wonderful, quirky characters, and my heart empathized with every moment of Becky Miller’s chaos.

Sharon's graciously stopped by today on her international blog tour to answer a few questions about her wonderful novel:

Like most women, I was tracking with Becky Miller's insanity as she tried to balance her work, home, family, and ministry. Do you have some suggestions on how to steal away a few quiet moments each day without neglecting the never ending "must do" list?

Good question. I write about these issues because I struggle with them – so I’m always seeking God’s help in this area. However, I’ve seen that the pressures of the “to do” list come more from my heart than my actual schedule. When I’m living in fear – trying to make sure I “get it right” or taking on responsibility to “fix everyone” because deep down I’m not trusting God to have it all under control – then even simple responsibilities become heavy. When I’m desperate for people’s approval, (or doubting God’s love and approval) I take on more than I should. I’ve noticed that it’s a badge of honor for Christian women to lament how busy they are. When I take time to remember God loves ME (not what I accomplish) and that nothing will ruin that love (even my failures) I can face the towering “to do” list with a bit more peace – and ask Him to guide me to the best among all the good choices.

We don’t manage this every day, but often my husband and I will use a Psalm to start our day. He’ll read a verse or a paragraph, then I’ll pray, using that scripture to steer the prayer. Then he’ll pray, applying it further. Then I’ll read the next section and he’ll pray. (Just don’t try this with Psalm 119 when you both have to get to work that day!) :-)

I also try to “sneak” prayer time in throughout the day. Folding laundry, I pray for the person whose socks I’m matching up. Peeling potatoes, I pray for each person who will eat the meal. Driving, I sing (off-key and at the top of my lungs) in praise (until there are kids in the car...then they insist I stop). When I get an email from a friend with a concern, I write an email prayer to send her.

Most of all, I’m trying to become more alert to “interruptions” to my agenda...because that’s often where God’s grace wants to pour out.

One of the themes in your latest book is the guilt weighing down Becky's heart as she tries to solve everyone else's problems and ultimately save the world. What does Becky realize about this heavy burden that she carries?

She acknowledges that her shoulders aren’t big enough to carry it. Her problems are God-sized problems. That’s scary for her, because it means giving up control. For example, she thinks she KNOWS the best solution for her mother-in-law. Accepting that there might be other answers is a difficult step of trust for her.

You begin each chapter with a clip from a classic movie . Did you watch each movie to get inside the main character's heads? If not, how did you capture the tone of each film so perfectly?

Hee hee! Should I really admit how many movies I’ve watched? That sounds deeply unspiritual.

Thanks for noticing that I tried to capture tone and flavor with those vignettes. It’s tricky, because it’s Becky’s subconscious mind at work, so it needs to carry her voice – yet I also wanted to convey the unique feel of diverse styles of films.

What are Sharon Hinck's top tips for home and heart renovation?

Only God is able to do a make-over of our hearts.
I’m a “fixer-upper” - not a sleek gorgeous model home in move-in condition. Yet God has chosen to live in me – shabby, sagging foundation, peeling paint, and all. Little by little His love transforms us into the beautiful dwelling place we wish to be. He knew what He was getting when He purchased me (unlike many of us who buy old homes and don’t see the hidden problems). Yet He chose me anyway, at great cost, and moved right in. Some days the sheet-rock dust is flying all over my soul because He’s hard at work with some serious renovations. I grouse about that. But I’m also grateful.

If you'd like to check out more of Sharon's work, her website is

Thanks for stopping by, Sharon!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Favorite New Novels

It’s not often that I read a novel that captivates me, but this fall and winter, I’ve read three provocative, well-written, and inspirational novels that have sent me on a remarkable journey far removed from boxes, potty training, and deadlines. If you’re looking for a great book to read this spring, I highly recommend:

Coldwater Revival (Nancy Jo Jenkins)
Every beautifully written sentence in this book painted a picture. Every scene transported me back in time to the tragedy and triumph in the soft heart of the main character, Emma Grace. The author's passion for this story is palpable, and I savored every word.

Finding Faith (Denise Hunter)
If you read this novel, prepare yourself for an incredible ride. The story is about adoption, abortion, love, and grace with a twist that stunned me. Thankfully I started it on a Sunday afternoon because I literally couldn’t put it down.

Freefall (Kristen Heitzmann)
This romantic suspense grabbed me on the first page. A woman emerging from the base of a waterfall. Stunned. With amnesia. She hikes through a dense forest on Kauai and stumbles into the yard of a woman who changes her life.

And then, of course, there’s a terrific novel called Together for Good…but I can’t remember that author’s name.

Happy reading!