How did you come up with the concept for Embrace Me? It’s a very unusual story line. Do you have some affiliation with the circus or was there an event in your past where you experienced one of these circus shows?
I just find myself interested in various topics. For several years I was reading about sideshow performers—human oddities. People like Johnny Eck the Half Man (a fascinating person he was) and poor Mary Ann Bevans who billed herself as The World’s Ugliest Woman. The lives of these performers, how they got to the sideshow, the community they experienced, what happened to them after they stopped performing is fascinating. It was only natural my curiosity ended up on the pages of one of my novels.
How closely is Embrace Me based on your personal experience?
Other than knowing people like Augustine who really would turn an old Laundromat into a mission, not at all! While we’ve moved to the city to try and live the life God has called us to, we still have an everyday life. Work, church, homework, school. Now, however, God lets us meet interesting people of a new variety. So, in short, I’m surrounded by a lot of characters, but I don’t know any mega-church pastors or side-show performers.
How long did Embrace Me take you to complete?
I honestly don’t remember. I always tell people that I take as long as I have. I’ve written books in four months and I’ve taken a year.
What is the symbolism for the title Embrace Me?
It pertains to our longing to be loved for who we really are. At the end of the day, the only one who can possibly do that, because He knows every little bit of us, is God. I’m so thankful He knows us and loves us completely.
Do you have a favorite character in Embrace Me? Why?
My favorite character is Lella, the Human Cocoon. She’s the show’s legless/armless woman. Lella is the type of person who sees the good in everyone and each situation. I t’s not that she’s oblivious to what really goes on in the world, but she sees through the eyes of hope and goodwill. She represents what I pray I’ll be like someday.
How much research did the Embrace Me take?
That’s a hard question to answer. I’d been reading about sideshow performers for several years on my own, so I have no way of knowing the hours I put in. They were enjoyable hours to be sure. That always makes it seem like less! I can tell you it probably wasn’t as much as some of my friends who write historical novels! (Liz Higgs can tell you more about Scotland than anyone I know personally!)
Do you prefer to write contemporary fiction?
Yes. I like writing about issues that face us. Of course, the same issues keep popping up every so often in history so maybe it’s simply a matter of doing what comes naturally.