Friday, January 31, 2014

Meet Anita Higman, author of A MARRIAGE IN MIDDLEBURY

Can you pinpoint one decision, one moment, one action that changed your life forever? We all have definable moments that shape who we are and the path we follow, but sometimes other people make that decision for us. In A Marriage in Middlebury (Abingdon Press/November 5, 2013/ISBN: 978-1-4267-3387-1/$14.99), Anita Higman weaves a heartwarming tale of how one choice takes a woman down an unexpected path to forgiveness. 

Best Selling author; over 30 Books!
Thank you, Anita, for visiting with us today, and congratulations on your new release! I'm sure all your fans can't wait to get their copy! And I'm just honored to have you. Give us some insight to your inspiration for A MARRIAGE IN MIDDLEBURY.

The idea for this book came from my absolute love of tearooms in Texas. More than a decade ago I met a woman named Linda Becker who opened a tearoom in the Houston burbs called Tea for Two. Her eatery and gift shop did so well she opened a second shop. Throughout the years I’ve enjoyed her wonderful tearoom fare as well as the quaint ambiance. Linda’s tearoom isn’t just a cafĂ© — it’s a gathering place for friends, a place to eat home-cooked food and a place so cozy you don’t want to leave. As a writer I thought it might be fun to create a heroine who owns a tearoom similar to Linda’s and set her shop in a small town on the gulf coast of Texas. So, that’s how the novel A Marriage in Middlebury was born. Even though the story, the characters and the town are fictional, Linda’s tearooms are real places you can visit and enjoy.

So everything was going smoothly for the main character when suddenly it all changes when her first love returns. What advice do you have when life throws us a curve ball?

Isn’t that just like life? I get curve balls thrown at me daily! Sometimes little ones. Sometimes big ones. As Christians we should trust in the One who made us, the One who’s known us from the first day when we were knit together in our mother’s womb, the One who loves us best. Trusting in Him when everything goes wrong  is the only answer, and it’s more than enough.

Amen, and it's true, we all get pitches hard to hit. I think that goes back to..."in this world you will have tribulations" but Praise God, we CAN be of good cheer because He HAS overcome the world! In your story, Sam’s father pressured Charlotte into breaking off her relationship with his son. How do you think we should react to people who threaten our dreams, wrong us in some way, or are just deliberately hurtful?

Bathe the situation in prayer and then talk things through no matter how painful. But once the air is clear, forgive and move on. Don’t keep going back over and over. Forgiveness is not easy, but it’s the only way to live free. It helps to remember that forgiveness is what God offered us when we sinned against Him.

Honestly, I’m not able to forgive on my own. This fallen world is filled with people who can at times be unkind and unjust. I can only give these people to God and let him transform their hearts and my attitude toward them. Does it sound unbelievable—too mystic? It might sound that way, but Jesus is the only supernatural glue that will ever be able to mend this broken world. Through Christ I am able to forgive what is unforgiveable and love those people who seem unlovable. After all, that is exactly what Christ did for me.

That is some good advice, Anita. Is there a certain Bible passage or verse that goes along with the theme of A MARRIAGE IN MIDDLEBURY? 
Don't miss this one!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

I love that verse and quote it often. I know when I'm writing, I use a lot of incidents from my life. How about you? Are any of the characters or events in A MARRIAGE IN MIDDLEBURY based on your own experiences?

All my characters are a mixture of many different people. Perhaps a hand gesture will come from someone at the grocery store. Or perhaps the idea of a uniquely shaped beauty mark will come from a woman I know at church. Or maybe that obnoxious habit of always needing to be right comes from the clerk at the local coffee shop. See how that works? It’s a safer way to design characters than taking all the attributes from one person, especially if you’re creating a villain!

I get it and understand after THIRTY books, you'd have to start using strangers! So do you find yourself returning to similar themes in your novels (i.e. forgiveness, trust, etc.), or do you have a new message with each release?

Yes, I tend to go back to the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, because these are the same themes that have dramatically impacted my life. If we can’t forgive and reconcile with our friends and family and our fellow man, we will be very lonely people. Even if we long to be an island, that’s not how God created us. We were created for fellowship. So, these themes are not only good for a story, but they are paramount in living the Christian life.

Like several of your books, A MARRIAGE IN MIDDLEBURY is set in our home state of Texas. Mine, too! I mean, really, don't you just love it? What are some of your favorite things about the Lone Star State?

Texas has a unique array of scenery—mountains, beaches, deserts, hills, bayous, canyons, big cities, quaint towns, all spread out under a big open sky that embraces it all. Also, Texas is an inexpensive place to live, it’s a great place to raise a family and it’s one of the friendliest places on earth. I’ve lived here for about 30 years, and I’m proud to call Texas my home.

Me, too, Anita. You left out the gianormous Texas trees; I live in the Piney East Texas woods and love it. I've been here sixty-three years, since before my first birthday, and only talked about being born in California when the Beach Boys came out with "I Wish They All Could Be California Girls" :)  Tell us what do you hope readers will walk away with after they turn the last page of your new book.

Ultimately, I hope readers see that with God all things are possible!

My goal with A MARRIAGE IN MIDDLEBURY is to entertain, challenge and inspire women. I hope each reader will come to the end of the novel with a smile on her face, excited to tell a friend about the story she’s just read and the characters she’s just met.

Every author's dream, right? Why is it do you suppose that novels set in Mayberry-esque towns in America becoming so popular?

I think women want to escape from the harshness of real life—and maybe for a little while enjoy things the way they used to be. And these kinder, gentler stories can encourage the reader to bring those small-town values back into the real world.

From your lips to God's ears, dear one. As a Baby Boomer, I can tell you that is true, at least for my generation. The changes in my lifetime have been astonishing! Before becoming a writer, you had a number of interesting jobs. What was it about writing that drew you in?

I had an incredible need to tell stories. I guess God made me that way.

Yes, ma'am, I comprehend! What are you working on next?

A novel entitled A Question of Destiny. I’ll leave the plot as a surprise, but I will say it’s a romantic comedy. That novel will be released in 2014.

Anita, it's been a pleasure, and thank you again so much.

Y'all can learn more about Anita Higman and her books at Readers can also become a fan on Facebook (Author Anita Higman) or follow her on Twitter (@anitahigman).