Welcome to the online home of Audra Jennings, a book publicist and crafter. Here I share about both. I hope you'll find books you'll want to read and crafts you will want to order. I live a rather boring, single life. At times I would like to think I am humorous. The kids I teach in Bible class tend to think so. I also blog about current seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I don't know why, I just do.
Ace Collins talks about Darkness Before Dawn
An interview with Ace Collins,
of Darkness Before Dawn
You categorize Darkness Before Dawn in the genre of moral
issues suspense. How would you define that category?
A novel has to be entertaining, so authors have to use some kind of genre, be it adventure, romance, drama, suspense and intrigue, in order to pull the reader in, then we can focus on moral issues. But the lesson has to be a part of the plot. This book uses drama, heartache and suspense in a way that might mirror Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, but its goal is to leave the reader thinking about choices. My next book, The Cutting Edge (due out this
fall), really employs suspense to make its moral point. The suspense is the vehicle that carries the reader to the
moral point we are making. Those values or issues in Darkness Before Dawn include abortion, suicide, DUI and a judicial system that can be swayed by influence, power and money. Those are pretty heavy topics, and they are wrapped in a plot that centers of cost or price of revenge and retribution. In other words, Darkness Before Dawn is a wild ride going into areas a lot of Christian books really don’t want to touch. That includes showing the bad side of a really good woman and flipping our
feelings for the villain from hate to actually empathizing with him.
My goal is first and foremost to
create books you can’t put down. In other words I want these novels to be page
turners, to keep you reading by being so interesting that they cost readers
some sleep and examine life decisions. It will explore them not just in a
black-and-white fashion, but in these pages I want to get readers to consider
the middle ground as well. Moral issues are not easy, and when faced with
doubt, grief and pain, many Christians often make choices that others don’t
understand. So I want to leave readers with a lesson that there is great wisdom
in leaving the judging to God and for readers to realize that there is great
power in embracing those in need even if we don’t agree with their choices.
After all, a doctor can’t heal anyone until he or she lays their hands on that
What message do you hope readers walk away with after reading Darkness
I am hoping folks see the real pain
and suffering in a life fueled by hate and vengeance. I hope in the end
they also see the greatest power on earth is forgiveness and love.
Q: Meg is very angry at God after her husband is killed by a drunk driver. Do you think there anything wrong with asking, “If there is a God, why did He let this happen?” when something bad
takes place in our lives?
I think it is a natural question. I
think we all ask it when tragedies happen. When a hurricane or tornado hits and
so many die, we wonder “Where was God in this?” I think the same thing is true
when we see a child who has a terminal disease. Thus I think Meg’s reaction is
one most of us would have, but I’m not sure how many would admit having it.
That is why we have Nancy in the story. The dying woman who really knows about
life not being fair gives Meg and us a perspective to consider.
dealing with her grief, Meg becomes very set on seeking justice for the drunk
driver involved in her husband’s accident. How does her anger and bitterness
make her situation even worse?
Seeking retribution and revenge
brings out the ugliest side of any person. They become consumed by it and
therefore lose their ability to reason. As we say in the story, a little bit of
hate unchecked becomes a cancer that destroys all that is good in a person. So
hate and bitterness gave her focus, but it made Meg’s life far worse and it
took her being confronted by her own answered prayers to see the full cost.
The story gets into abuse of power and influence over our court systems. It’s a
little difficult to get into some of the issues of the book without giving away
spoilers, but would there have been any court ruling Meg would have seen as
fair given her state of mind at the time?
Though she didn’t fully realize it,
Meg wanted an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Thus any ruling under law
would have left her hollow. She saw the ruling as a mere slap on the hand
because perhaps the influence of a rich and powerful family drove her over the
edge. I’m not sure it would have not have done the same thing to most of us.
Meg found out she was pregnant on the very same day her husband died, which
makes a difficult time in her life even more complicated. Once the baby is
born, she names her Dawn. Can you share some of the symbolism of this choice as
it relates to Meg’s life?
The name Dawn represents Meg living
through a darkness she could not imagine and then once more finding the faith
and the light. Dawn therefore represents not just a hopeful name for a baby but
Meg actually finding a reason to live and the power to forgive. So it
represents a new start for her as well.
You’re very passionate about reaching Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) and
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) groups with this release. Has
there been an event in your own life that has driven this passion?
I was 15 when my best friend was
killed by a drunk driver. I watched what it did to his family, the toll it took
not just in the weeks after his death, but on those parents for the rest of
their lives. Meanwhile the man who was driving the truck, even though he had
been convicted of several previous DUIs and was driving without a license, got
off with just probation. So I have been waiting for a long time to use what I
witnessed in my teens in a book.
You are very prolific! How long does it usually take you to write a book from
beginning to end?
It varies; a nonfiction book usually
takes me longer than fiction. The shortest time it has ever taken me to do a
100,000-word novel is five weeks. That includes the writing and four-to-five
rewrites. This is the way I work on books; I write a chapter and then go back
and rework it three-to-four times. Then, when the book is finished, I go back
and rewrite the whole thing one more time. Realize, when I am writing books, I
also usually work six days a week and as many as 14 hours a day, too. But I
like to write four books a year, and this is the method I have to employ to
meet that goal.
Is it difficult to come up with new material constantly?
In truth, the ideas are pretty easy
for me. I have all these characters locked in my head, and if I didn’t put them
in books they might just drive me crazy. It is the writing that is the work. On
top of that I have a log book where I keep ideas, book outlines, hooks,
plot twists, etc. I figured out the other day I have to live to 128 and write
four books a year to go through the whole log book. I also have more than
50 church bulletins filed away that have detailed book ideas on them.
You’ve written everything from novels to biographies and how-to books to
devotionals. What do you enjoy writing the most? How do your projects come to
I have had so much success in
nonfiction over the years, I should say I really like that. But in truth I most
love the challenge of the novel. Fiction’s only limit is imagination while
nonfiction is limited by facts. Thus, to have the freedom to create lives and
then take them on adventures is just an amazing experience. That said, I
want to continue to write nonfiction, too. And both fit well with my
fascination with history.
Can you give us a tease for what happens in your next book, The Cutting
out in October?
A top fashion model is assaulted in
a dark alley, and the man behind the crime uses a broken bottle on her face.
Now a woman who has always leaned only on her appearance must learn to be
beautiful from the inside out. While she is trying to cope with what she sees
as “the monster in the mirror,” she doesn’t know her attacker is stalking her
every move in order to finish the job he started in that dark alley. I think
readers will want to read this book with the lights on and the doors