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.
Robin Caroll talks about her latest, Hidden in the Stars
with Robin Caroll,
Author of Hidden in the Stars
Where do you turn when a dream you’ve
cherished in your heart for your entire life is completely shattered? In her
new release, Hidden in the Stars (Quilts of Love
series from Abingdon Press/September 16, 2014/ISBN:9781426773600/$13.99), Robin Caroll introduces us to a young
woman who must find the strength to continue living after losing everything she
an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old
Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer
to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working
hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak
thwarts her eyewitness evidence.
do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them,
displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the
secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to
light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer — still at large —
silence her forever?
Tell us about the main thread or theme that runs through Hidden in the Stars.
The strength of the familial bond is
the strongest thread in the story, but another theme would be the sacrifices we
make for the people we love.
Q: How important to you is the faith element in your stories?
I never “plot” the faith element of my books in advance. I always
pray for God to show me the spiritual arc for the characters, and then I let it
grow organically from the characters as I interview and write them. Sometimes
I’m lucky and the arc is apparent in the beginning of the story — sometimes it
doesn’t become clear until near the end (that’s usually when God’s using my own
story to teach me something or refine something in me). It’s my job to put that
on the page with realism, but not beat anyone over the head.
Q:The main character in Hidden in the Stars, Sophia, loses not
only the person she loved the most in life, but also her dream of becoming an
Olympic gymnast. What can readers learn from how she manages this loss?
So often we begin to believe our dreams
define who we are. What we do becomes
our identifier. I wanted to portray a character who had worked hard for
something all her life — something her mother had sacrificed much to help her
attain — yet she had it snatched away with no hope of reclaiming it. I think we
(myself included) sometimes need to realize we are, first and foremost, a child
of God and not a dream or a goal.
Sophia suffers a brutal attack, and the criminal remains at-large, leaving her
feeling vulnerable and afraid. We all face moments in life when we feel that
way, even if the events in our lives vary. Where do you go for strength in
God. Yes, I have family members who are
loving and supportive and encouraging and helpful. Yes, I have friends who are
there for me through thick and thin. But when it comes down to brass tacks, as
my grandmother used to say, God is my source of strength, comfort and peace.
Why is it so challenging to forgive people who have hurt us?
Because we’re human and our initial
reaction is based on our own thoughts and feelings. When we’re hurt, we don’t
WANT to forgive. Sometimes, at least for me, the choice to forgive is more about
wanting to be obedient to God and wanting to keep that pain from clawing at me.
The attack left Sophia without a voice — is this a metaphor in any way?
Yes. When we’re attacked — physically,
mentally or spiritually — we often feel like we aren’t heard . . . that our
cries for help fall on deaf ears.
Which character in the book do you identify with the most and why?
Sophia. She was strong and determined
and wouldn’t let her attack and the murder of the one person she loved the most
stop her from living a good life.
Tell us about the quilt in Hidden in the
Stars. How does it play a role in
solving this mystery?
The quilt itself was made from the
costumes of Sophia’s mother, Nina. It’s like a large declaration of her life’s
ballet work. Once the police get the quilt, they determine it holds the key to
solving the mystery and the murder.
Tell us a little more about the Quilt of Love series and how you became
involved in it.
As a young girl, my family lived in the
country. We didn’t have many friends close enough during the winter where we could
just hop on our bikes and ride down to a neighbor’s house. During those
lonelier times, my mother taught me how to quilt. I will always associate
quilts with the strength of the mother-daughter bond. When I heard about the
Quilts of Love series, I wanted to be a part of it.
How have you seen the Lord’s hand in your writing career, whether it be open
doors, prayer partners, etc.?
I’d spent many, many months studying
the craft and learning as much as I could. After finally getting up the nerve
to start the submission process, I found myself faced with rejection slips, one
after the other. I was extremely blessed to have strong critique/prayer
partners who encouraged me, but I also had a mentor who pushed me and helped me
develop the ability to separate my writing from myself as a person.
One day, fully frustrated and on the
verge of tears, I prayed the scary prayer: that if writing wasn’t what He
called me to do, then I’d walk away from it, but He’d have to remove the desire
from my heart because I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself. I was lucky
enough to get my first contract not too long after that, but I truly was
willing to walk away if that’s what He told me to do. It was really scary
because, for me at least, writing was, in my mind, tied to my identity. I
learned that writing, while important to me and I love it, is still what I do,
not who I am. I love being an author, but I’m also so much more: wife, mother,
grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, etc.
Do you ever hear from readers about how they have been touched by reading your
I hope each of my books brings glory
and honor to God. Some of the reader mail I’ve received has put me in tears of
praise for being allowed to share stories with readers. For instance, one
reader wrote me after reading one of my books and thanked me for showing that
it was possible to reconcile with God after being angry with Him. It truly
blesses me for God to use me in such a way.
Q: What is the one thing you hope your readers will walk away with when they
close the cover of Hidden in the Stars?
I hope they will feel they were
entertained, but also they will be reminded that no matter what their
circumstances, what the Enemy means for evil, God will turn to good.