The inspiration for the story of Abra, Zeke and Joshua came from Ezekiel 16. It is an allegory about the nation of Israel, and how God found “her” as a baby abandoned by the roadside. He chose her, tended her as a loving Father and later as a Bridegroom, but she turned away and went after other “lovers.”
Scripture is full of stories about God’s faithfulness, love and long-patience, despite His beloved’s fickle behavior. When He removes His protection, she suffers. Suffering is meant to turn us back.
Abra is like so many of us. She longs for love and fails to recognize the real thing when it’s right in front of her. Dylan understands her neediness and uses it against her. Seduced by sweet-sounding lies, Abra rejects the advice of family and friends and runs away with him. Her journey to find love takes her through deep valleys of disappointment and disillusionment. When her life falls apart, she finally sees the truth. And God surprises her.
In some ways, this story is about each of us and how we long for love and connection, a place of safety. We think it’s out there somewhere, but forget God is as close as the breath of a single prayer. He hears our cries and longs for us to turn to Him. When we do, He runs to us and embraces us. His is the consuming fire of love we yearn to experience. He is the only one who can satisfy the longing of the human heart.
Tell us about three books that you love.
This is a very difficult question for me because every book tends to be my favorite while I’m reading it. The only book that I can truly say I love is the Bible. I read through it every year, and it’s always new and fresh and speaks to the moment.
Other books that have impacted me are John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, and Lloyd Douglas’ The Robe. I love Steinbeck’s writing style and this particular novel (though perhaps not intentional) seemed a retelling of the first chapters of Genesis. Hunt made me aware that fiction can change our social landscape for the better. Douglas’ stories are filled with conflict and faith.
Zephaniah tells us that “God rejoices over us with singing.” How has music played a role in your spiritual life?
Music plays an important role in my writing life. I have a CD player in my office and several large binders full of discs. Each book has called for a different kind of music. I have everything from frogs croaking in the Great Smokies to Indian drums in the Grand Canyon. I have symphonies and Gregorian chants, hymns, World War II songs and ’60s rock. I love movie soundtracks, especially those by Hans Zimmer and James Horner. Music and lyrics often inspire me.