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Enter Ross Morgan, a handsome landscaper who just happens to have an empty barn and fenced pasture which is perfect for an old horse to live out his days as the pet of three wounded kids. Ross develops a soft spot for eldest child Braden...and he just might have one for Braden's mother. But what he doesn't have is time for distractions; he's got a landscaping business to run and nursery plants to tend.
But there's just one problem. Sierra's terrified of horses and thanks to her past, wary of attractive men. Yet seeing the way her angry son idolizes Ross and adores that old horse forces Sierra to confront her fears. Will she remain distrustful and self-reliant, or will she seek help from God and those who love her?
|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: David C Cook
Publication Date: 2010
Single mom of three, Sierra Montgomery is desperate to find a new job to keep from having to move back home and be smothered to death by her mother's good intentions and overbearing love. So when Sierra inherits Chance, a quirky old gelding she doesn't have a clue what to do with, she thinks her best bet may be to sell the horse to cover another month's rent-a decision that devastates her children.
Enter Ross Morgan, a handsome landscaper who just happens to have an empty barn and fenced pasture, perfect for an old horse to live out his days as the pet of three wounded kids. Ross develops a soft spot for eldest child Braden and he just might have one for Braden's mother. But what he doesn't have is time for distractions-he's got a landscaping business to run and nursery plants to tend.
But Sierra has a secret. She's terrified of horses andthanks to her pastwary of attractive men. Yet seeing the way her angry son idolizes Ross and adores that old horse forces Sierra to confront her fears. Will she remain distrustful and self-reliant, or will she seek help from God and those who love her?
How did you come up with the characters in your book?
They came to me. When I saw Sierra, I knew she was a mom who deeply loved her kids and wanted the best for them. Elise was so fun to write with her over-the-top ways. When she drove up to Sierras and pushed her ooga horn, I knew I was going to love her. And Sid is such a dear and reminds me so much of my father-in-law, Art. And Ross, how could you not love him?
Do you have a horse?
No, but I love horses and desperately wanted one as a child. I did end up with a little Shetland pony named Sundance that I would gallop through the mint fields around our house. I spent countless hours sprawled across him backwards reading books. One time hed apparently had enough of the dead weight on his back and he lay down. It was a shocking end to my reading time.
What do you do when youre not writing?
I love spending time with my family. We go camping as many weekends as we can in the summer. I also love to run. My husband recently got into running and we were asked to be on a team that participates in a race from Mt. Hood to the coast of Oregon. It generally takes about twenty-two hours, so our idea of fun may be a little warped.
What would you suggest to someone who wants to become an author?
Start attending writers conferences. And if the cost is an issue, order tapes or CDs of the various workshops. Also join a critique group and really listen to the feedback. When I get input from my critiquing partners, I make a point to set aside any defensiveness and adopt a thicker skin. Its not fun to find out that every word you write isnt brilliant, but if you take the comments constructively youll become a stronger writer.
How do you find time to write? Any tips for someone who is working full time?
Set a word count goal. I try to write 1,000 words a day, five days a week. If finding the extra time is difficult, start with 300 words a day. At that pace, youd complete a full length novel (80,000 words) in one year. But the most important factor in writing is to turn the editor in your head off. Writers block comes from trying to create and edit at the same time. Dont wait for the perfect idea to come floating along. Start writing now. Write anything. You want to create the habit so the ideas will come. The fear of failure keeps us from giving feet to our dreamstrue failure comes from not trying at all.
Did the theme of forgiveness / unforgiveness that Sierra deals with come from your own life?
In a way it did, though I didnt consciously implement it into the novel. Like most of us living in this fallen world, there were a couple significant events in my life that I had difficulty forgiving. I finally realized that if I waited until I felt like forgiving, it would never happen. And I desperately needed to forgive. The bitterness was choking the life out of me. So with Gods help and through His grace I made the choice to forgive and forgive and forgive. I wish I could say that there was instant peace and joy. Though I think that can happen for people when they forgive, Id lived in unforgiveness for so long that I had to continually make a choice to forgive until the freedom came. And when that freedom came, it was a wow moment for me!
In the story, Sierra has three young kids, you have four children. How successful are you at trusting God with their lives?
Its been an ongoing process for me. Maybe because Im a writer and have such a vivid imagination, I can always come up with the most gut-wrenching conclusions to the most innocuous circumstances involving my kids. That makes it hard to let go and trust. But how much control do we actually have over everyday life? I had to learn that before we can trust God with ourselves or our children, we have to truly know Him. Its only in knowing God and His character that trust can develop. And when we truly know the God of the universe, we can trust him with everything.
Ross worked hard in his landscaping business in an attempt to prove his value. Do you struggle with that?
Its difficult not to get caught up in that. Our world is performance driven. How often do we praise others without attributing value to something theyve done? Even with our children, we praise how well they unload the dishwasher or draw a picture or mind us. Its difficult to find the words to value people for who they are, apart from anything they do. For most of my life, performance colored my relationship with God. I could not wrap my mind around the concept that He loved me despite less than perfect behaviors. Recently I glimpsed His grace from a new angle. Sin does create anger, but Gods anger was satisfied at the cross. So rather than His anger at our sinfulness, we have His pleasure in us. That has done wonders with my ability to be myself with Him, to honestly let His light shine on all parts of methe good and the unsightly. When you bring your faults to God and discover He isnt angry, you can fully experience His compassion and love.
While this story focuses on the unfortunate reality of divorce in a Christian home, many aspects of Leave It to Chance seemed somewhat unrealistic. The dialogue, especially between Sierra and her best friend Elise, seems a little forced and unnatural. Also, I thought the children were a little too cliche: the angry older son, the emotional and vulnerable younger daughter, and the silent middle child. Granted, this is not to say that children would not respond in these ways, but they are portrayed as two-dimensional characters who rarely deviate from their allotted traits.
However, this might be a good book for someone who is interested in a story about a young mothers struggle to rear three children on her own. The biblical message is also very strong and offers an obvious application of handing over our pain to God. -- Heather Schultz, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com