The Story Behind the Story…

Please join me in welcoming Lisa Jordan.

I featured the first novel in her Lakeside collection here last fall–a novel that is a finalist for ACFW’s prestigious Carol Award in the romance category. Congratulations, Lisa!!!
By day, Lisa is an early childhood educator. In her free time (ha!), Lisa enjoys good books, chick flicks, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. 
Welcome back, Lisa. Please tell us how the characters of Lakeside Family came to life.

I didn’t expect to write Lakeside Family. When I planned the books in my Lakeside Collection, I wanted to write at least three books, and Lakeside Family wasn’t one of them.

When I wrote Lakeside Reunion, I wanted a fun name for a coffee shop. So I played around with names, coffee puns and Cuppa Josie’s was created. I introduced Josie as the owner of Cuppa Josie’s and Max’s daughter who was a single mother.

A friend mentioned she liked Josie’s character and I should write her story. I pondered it and had to figure out how Josie had become a single mother? Why wasn’t Hannah’s dad in the picture? I decided not to have Josie divorced or widowed because let’s face it—single mothers are a reality.

Josie needed a strong enough reason to find Nick after nearly a decade, so it needed to be something life threatening. The mothers I know would do anything it took to keep their kids safe and healthy. I remember walking through my kitchen and coming to a sudden stop as I realized—that’s it…Hannah had leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Josie needed to see if Nick would get tested to see if he was a match.

God provided connections in ways only He could—one of my writing support friends just landed a job with the National Marrow Donor Program in Minnesota. Through Vacation Bible School at our church, I met a local pastor’s wife who had just returned home after donating bone marrow for an unknown patient dying from leukemia. Total God moments.

I interviewed Amy and Kym, did more of my own research and the premise of Lakeside Family was created—He was the one man she never wanted to see again but the only one who could save her daughter’s life.

Nick had his own challenges to face. He vowed never to abandon his family the way his father did. When tragedy struck his family, Nick shouldered a lot of guilt and felt like nobody’s hero. Then he learned he had a daughter. He stepped up and promised to always be there for his daughter.

Josie struggled to include Nick into their lives—she wanted what was best for her daughter, but her own fears of abandonment built a wall around her heart. She needed to forgive and trust in order for them to be a family.

After choosing this illness for Hannah, Josie’s daughter, my heart ached for those dying of leukemia or other blood-borne diseases. I registered with Be The Match to become a bone marrow donor. I wanted to do my part in being someone’s hope for a new lease on life. I don’t know if I’ll ever be called, but I wanted to be ready in case I was.

Your Turn: What about you? Have you considered being a bone marrow donor? Registration is free. Imagine the joy and hope you could give another person simply by saying yes. For more information, visit Be The Match.

Giveaway: Lisa is celebrating the release of Lakeside Family with a month-long party of giveaways, including Coffee Lovers and Tea Lovers baskets. For more details and to enter the gift basket giveaways, leave a comment here.

Read Excerpt

When Stories Save Lives…

This past week I read a special Love Inspired novel, one I hope will both help transform lives and save them. I love stories that give me insight into the struggles that people around me are facing and how I might encourage or help them.

Lakeside Family by Lisa Jordan is such a book. It’s a fabulous romance, too, which is why I chose it to launch our new season of conversations about characters. So many great questions are raised by this book that I had a difficult time settling on just one. So…

I’ve invited Lisa Jordan to stop by on Wednesday to share with us the inspiration and research that went into creating her characters.

Now… on to our discussion.

Well, first, some background on the story:

The one man she never wanted to see again is the only one who can save her daughter’s life.

In the space of a minute, Nick Brennan learns he has a nine-year-old daughter— and that she desperately needs his help. All this time, his high school sweetheart, single mother Josie Peretti, thought he knew about their child. And that he just didn’t care about the ill little girl—or Josie, the woman he’s never forgotten. But Nick made a long-ago promise never to forsake his family the way his father did. A promise he vows to make good on now… if only Josie will bless him with a second chance.

Josie’s daughter has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Nick is no stranger to tragedy, either. His brother suffers from a brain injury–a condition Nick blames himself for.

I feel overwhelmed just thinking about coping with such situations, yet many face much worse on a daily basis. So here’s my 3-part question: 

When you feel your circumstances overshadowing your hope, how do you respond? What strengthens your faith? What are some practical ways we can help those who are caught in such deep waters? 

P.S. Are you facing difficult circumstances or know someone who is? I also highly recommend the non-fiction book Finding Glory in the Thorns and the ministry of Walk Right In.

They recently started a Facebook page where people can share their Glory Stories–how you are seeing God’s presence and power in your life. These stories serve to encourage and reassure all of us that God is working among us.  They are inspirational.  Most of all, Glory Stories bring our attentions and affections on HIM.