Wings of GlassWings of Glass
Gina Holmes
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Barely an adult, Penny Carson believes she's met Prince Charming---but as soon as they are married Trent hits her for the first time. After suffering a work injury, he's forced to allow Penny to take a job. Will two women help her live and laugh again? A powerful exploration of abuse and the question of divorce.

Gina Holmes


     

Gina HolmesGina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in southern Virginia. To learn more about her, visit www.ginaholmes.com or www.noveljourney.blogspot.com.

Favorite Verse: 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.


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Gina Holmes


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Let’s see. My friends describe me as a quirky salt-of-the-earth type, which I take as a compliment. I’m madly in love with my Savior, my husband, my two sons and three stepdaughters. I have two dogs (one food-and-belly-scratch-obsessed hound and a three-pawed Yorkie that is the cutest dog in the world) and a betta fish named Les Paul. I grew up in New Jersey but left about sixteen years ago to move to southern Virginia and a slower pace of life. I’ve spent most of my adult life healing from a confusing and difficult childhood, and I love to teach other women what I’ve learned. I worked for many years as a registered nurse, and while I think I was pretty good at it, my real passion has always been teaching and writing. I have zero sense of direction, a pretty green thumb, and a weird talent for making soup from leftovers, and there’s nothing in the world I’d rather do than spend time with my husband and children.
 
What is your favorite Bible verse?

The verse that I clung to (and continue to cling to) during the most difficult times in my life is 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.’”

How did you get started writing Christian fiction?

I love this question and don’t get asked it nearly enough. It’s funny, but I didn’t even realize that Christian fiction was a genre for a long time. When I learned about it, I assumed it would be too squeaky-clean to be relevant to someone like me. I didn’t grow up in the church and had a hard time relating to what I thought most churchgoers’ lives were like. Everyone seemed so perfect and pious to me. Then I read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and I bawled like a baby. I realized then that maybe I did have something worth saying to the world and that the issues I cared about could be addressed with a Christian publisher.
 
What inspired your interest in writing Wings of Glass?

It’s the book I was meant to write. As a little girl, I watched my mother be brutally beaten by her then-husband. I’ve seen what two of my sisters suffered at the hands of abusive men, and I myself have been in abusive relationships. In Wings of Glass, I wanted to give a peek into the mind-set of a woman who doesn’t know any better than to tolerate abuse, as well as raise questions to women who might be in that type of relationship. My heart aches for them, particularly the ones who don’t realize that there is hope for a better life.

How much of Wings of Glass is factual?

One of the things early readers are saying is that the book reads like a memoir. At first that made me cringe, but that’s my worldly self who tries to present as someone having it all together and having always had it all together. As a writer and a believer, I’m most effective when I admit my faults and weaknesses. I’ve been abused. More than once. There—I said it. I haven’t suffered exactly the type of relationship Penny has, and I know from experience that I wouldn’t tolerate it as long as she does in the book, but I have, in the past, tolerated it too long.

A lot of that was low self-esteem and pure ignorance. I hope I shine a light on what an abusive relationship looks like and that the light goes on for readers who may recognize some red flags in their own relationships or those of loved ones or friends. I think it’s my most ministering book. It definitely ministered to me in writing it.
 
How closely is Wings of Glass based on your life experiences?
 
None of it—or little—is exactly biographical. I have, however, had good friends who have brought abusive behavior to the attention of my blind eyes, like Penny’s friends do for her. Like Penny, I married a man whom a healthy woman would have avoided like the plague. And just like her, I, in my codependent state, justified his bad behavior, thus enabling it. But also like her, through the guidance of God through his people, I found my way out of the darkness and into the light. (On a personal note, after I got healthy, I met a man who would rather cut his own arm off than lay a finger on me or our children. I know for the first time in my life what a healthy, whole, and loving romantic relationship can be. My husband, Adam, is one of God’s greatest gifts to me.)

How long did Wings of Glass take you to complete?
 
I’ve got a horrible memory, and it shows itself in me trying to recall timelines. I don’t remember exactly, but it generally takes me about a year to write a book, so that’s probably at least about right.

Do you have a favorite character in Wings of Glass? Why?

I absolutely love Penny’s Sudanese friend, Fatimah. Not only was she a challenge to write because of her vastly different culture; she’s funny, wise, and a strong, godly woman. She made me laugh so much during the writing of this novel. It’s crazy, but I really miss her!

How much research did Wings of Glass take?

A lot of the research I had done due to life experience, unfortunately, but I did read a lot of books on codependency, boundaries, and recognizing safe people. Ironically, these books didn’t just help my story—they helped me.
 
One of my favorite parts of this book is the recommended reading page my publisher allowed me to include. I was able to suggest the books that helped heal me and change the course of my life. I’m so excited to know that because of Wings of Glass, those wonderful, amazing resources might get read by some folks who will also be changed by them. (I think Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend, should be mandatory reading for everyone. Particularly for those who don’t think they have boundary issues.)

What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Wings of Glass?

For Fatimah’s character, I watched a wonderful documentary called God Grew Tired of Us. I loosely based Fatimah’s husband on a man from the documentary. His bare-bones Christian faith and character touched and challenged me in so many ways. It’s a great movie I can’t recommend enough.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
The biggest challenge, I think, is not leading anyone astray. The Bible says it’s better to have a millstone around my neck. My hope is always that my stories will be like Jesus’ parables, bringing others closer to God and helping them consider his truths in new ways. The fear of misrepresenting him is what keeps me up at night and on my knees constantly.

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

I love the flexibility of my schedule. If I have a cold, I don’t have to force myself to go to work. I love that I’m here when my children get home from school and that I can go grocery shopping when most people are at the office. I’m an introvert, so the long periods of alone time suit me fine, though it does get lonely sometimes.

What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by the seat of your pants”? Or somewhere in between?)

I’m mostly a seat-of-the-pants writer, which is pretty much how I live my life. I start out with an idea for a character and a situation. I usually know how I want it to end (although it often doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would). I will usually write about ten chapters before I know the characters, story, and theme well enough to loosely outline the rest. The completed stories that I present to my publisher generally bear little resemblance to the ones I proposed to them.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Absolutely. I’ll intend two characters to end up together, and in the writing of the book, they absolutely refuse. It sounds funny to a nonwriter, but I follow the natural progression of each word they say, each action they take, and most often they lead me on a far different journey than I envisioned.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?  

I’m currently writing a novel that should come out sometime in 2014. I’d like to say it’s lighter than my previous books, but that’s wishful thinking. Again I’m dealing with the subject of family drama, the desire to be loved, and all of that. It has a heftier dose of humor than my previous books, I think. I don’t want to say too much because it tends to stifle my creativity. How about we leave it as a “stay tuned”?

What message would you like your readers to take from Wings of Glass?

To those who have never understood the mind-set of an abused woman, I hope they leave with compassion and understanding and a little less judgment. For those who are in an abusive relationship, I hope they see that this is not the plan God has for their lives and can draw strength from Penny’s fight and the wisdom of her friends. To those not yet in a relationship, or at least not married, I hope they get a clear picture of the progression abuse takes. There were so many warning signs I, and most abused women, ignored. If I can open the eyes of one woman, it will be worth it.

What is your greatest achievement?

That one’s easy—my children. I can’t take credit for the successes of my wonderful stepdaughters, as proud as I am of them. But raising two God-fearing sons has been the hardest, most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. They’re not grown yet, so they can still get off track, but watching them succeed in kindness, truth, and love makes me feel that maybe I’ve done something right in this world. May God continue to guide me and them.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

It’s very simple, really—to tell the truth. It sounds like an oxymoron when you’re a fiction writer, but it isn’t. Good books make writers tear off their masks and show themselves—and the world—as it really is, not just how we want it to be. And in telling the truth, I can’t help but point to the God who is the author of life.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I love to camp, go to the lake to swim, and hike. I love a nice meal out with my family. On a daily basis, I’ll take breaks and watch documentaries, Christian teachers like Joyce Meyer, or read a good book.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think the subject of domestic abuse might make some not want to give Wings of Glass a chance, but I think they might be pleasantly surprised. There’s plenty of humor and light moments, and I hope a beautifully redeeming ending. I’d love this book to go into the hands of every young woman before she even starts dating.


 


 

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