The Mother RoadThe Mother Road
Jennifer AlLee
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Within the course of a week, Natalie is dumped by her husband, receives an urgent call home from her father, and discovers her estranged sister is pregnant. A road trip on Route 66 may not help, but it sure couldn't hurt. Or so Natalie thinks, until Lindsay's boyfriend starts stalking them. Will their trip down the Mother Road bring the two sisters closer together or turn out to be the biggest wrong turn yet?
     

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As a child, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary in the heart of Hollywood, California, which may explain her unique outlook on life. Her publishing credits include a contemporary romance novel, The Love of His Brother (November 2007) as well as skits, activity pages, and over one hundred contributions to the popular My Devotions series. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and serves as the Nevada Area Coordinator. Jennifer resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son. 

Favorite Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.


 

 Our Interview with Jennifer AlLee


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Greetings, CBD readers! I was born in Hollywood, California and spent the first ten years of my life living above a mortuary one block away from the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Now, I live about ten miles from the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip.

Obviously, God never intended me to lead a boring life. To prove that point, here are a few miscellaneous personal tidbits: I was miraculously healed of Lupus when I was in fifth grade; Back in the ‘80s I was on Richard Simmons’s exercise show. Twice; I played a man as an unpaid extra in the movie Seabiscuit; Last but far from least, I once went on a first date with a man who told me he’d been praying for a wife and I was it. It was a year before I’d go out with him again. Three months after that, I married him. Now we have an 18-year-old son and are about to celebrate our 20th anniversary. See what I mean? Nothing boring there.

What is your favorite Bible verse (translation too, please)? Why?

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)

I love this verse because there was a time in my life when I so badly needed to be a new creation! God reached down to me in my lowest, ugliest place and reminded me that I had always been his. I’m still a work in progress, being daily reshaped and reformed into what he wants me to be.

What was your inspiration to develop The Mother Road?

My early inspiration came from a wild thought that flew into my head: What would a marriage expert do if her husband wanted a divorce? I built on that question, creating my main character, Natalie, and imagining what she would do, how she would react. Then I imagined her family, and wild-child Lindsay was born. At that point, I knew I wanted to stick them together in a car for long periods of time, so a road trip was the next logical step. And since they were starting in California, what better way to get up to Illinois then on the Mother Road?

How much research did The Mother Road take?

Quite a bit. Although I never had the chance to drive the whole road (see the next question) I wanted to be as accurate as possible. I checked books out of the library and then bought the ones I knew I’d need to refer to over and over. I also purchased a DVD set about the Mother Road. And of course, I burned up the Internet looking for facts and interesting tidbits. It’s the most enjoyable research I’ve ever done.

The other research I had to do was in the area of Alzheimer’s Disease. That was more sobering. It’s a terrible disease and takes such a toll on families. At the end of The Mother Road there’s a note to readers, sharing all the research I did, as well as different books and websites they might find helpful.

Did you take a research trip on Route 66?

Oh, how I wish I could answer YES to this question! I intended to go on my own road trip, but life-issues got in the way. Still, I do have hands-on experience with a section of Route 66. For many years, I lived on Huntington Drive in Duarte, California, which is part of The Mother Road. So I’m extremely familiar with all the Southern California stops that Natalie and Lindsay make.

 

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing The Mother Road

There’s such fascinating history to be found on the Mother Road. Like why all those dollar bills are tacked on the walls and ceilings of some of the bars and restaurants. And how the donkeys came to roam the streets of Oatman. It’s all in the book.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author? 

Time management is a big issue. I don’t work outside the home, so people expect I have all the time in the world to get my work done. But besides writing books, I’m also marketing them, writing blogs, editing work for other writers, and taking care of any miscellaneous business things that come up. It’s a lot to juggle, but I’m not complaining. It’s the best job in the world!

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love the community. I love when a reader sends me an email to let me know my book spoke to her. I love interacting with folks on blogs and through social networking. And I love all the authors and publishing professionals I’ve had the honor of getting to know. The community of Christian writers is a tight-knit, supportive one. We all know we can’t do any of this on our own.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, and Christian Author Network. These are all great organizations that help me connect with other writers. But the organization that has meant the most to me over the years is American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). When I joined the group back in 2007, I was green as green could be, even though I’d already sold one novel. There was so much for me to learn, and the annual ACFW conference was (and continues to be) the best place to do that. But on a personal note, the relationships I’ve built through ACFW are the strongest of my life. That’s how I met fellow author Lisa Richardson, who to this day is my critique partner, best friend, and soul sister.

What new projects are on the horizon?

Abingdon is launching a new series called Quilts of Love. Each book will tell the story of one quilt, one family, and one unforgettable love. I’m super excited to be a part of this new adventure. My book, currently titled A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (but that could change) is scheduled for November 2012.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading The Mother Road?
 
In The Mother Road, Natalie finds that she is defined not by whose wife she is, or by what her job is. Rather, she’s defined by whose daughter she is: God’s daughter. No matter what detours life’s journey might take, God is always watching us, always loving us. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) That’s truly the heart of The Mother Road.

 

What were your favorite books as a child?

Some of the books I loved the most were series: Little House on the Prairie, The Black Stallion, Nancy Drew, The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved Marguerite Henry’s horse books, and E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. And One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. I read that one so many times it just about fell apart.

What is your greatest achievement?

That’s easy. My greatest achievement is raising my son. Oh, I don’t take all the credit for how amazing he turned out (my husband gets a nod, too) but of all the titles I’ve had, “Mom” is the one I’m most proud of.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I’m a pretty simple gal. My idea of getting away from it all involves hanging out at home in my most comfy pair of sweats, watching movies. And if I’m feeling really wild, I might get together with friends to play board games. Watch out, Las Vegas!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I just had some new business cards made, and they have my motto: Finding joy in the journey, and all the stops along the way. Here’s the way I see it… We’re all on a trip, and we all have the same final destination: Eternity. The two biggest questions in life are, where will you spend eternity, and what are you going to do until you get there? That’s what finding the joy is all about. Touching people, being God’s ambassador here on earth, and knowing even in the midst of turmoil, God is waiting to welcome us home.

I’m glad we’re on this journey together! If you’d like to sign up for my infrequent e-newsletter (infrequent because I only send it out when there’s breaking news) please visit my website at www.jenniferallee.com
Thanks for letting me visit with all the readers, CBD. It’s been a blast!

 


 

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