I hope you're all enjoying these Author Spotlight features! I'm having a blast with them. It's so fun to get to know my fellow authors better, and this week's guest, my friend Georgiana Daniels, is no exception! Georgiana just released Shadows of Hope, her first work of women's fiction. Here's the blurb:
Crisis pregnancy worker Marissa Moreau suspects her husband is cheating, but little does she know how close to home her husband’s infidelity hits. College student Kaitlyn Farrows is floundering after a relationship with her professor leaves her pregnant. Soon she lands a job and a support system at the local pregnancy resource center and things seem to be turning around. But when Marissa and Kaitlyn become friends, neither one knows they share a connection—Colin, Marissa’s husband and Kaitlyn’s former professor. When their private lives collide, the two women must face the ultimate test of their faith and choose how to move forward as they live in the shadows of hope.
Congratulations on your new release, Georgiana, and welcome to the blog!
Thank you so much! I'm excited to be here!
Which character in Shadows of Hope was the easiest for you to write, and why? Which one was the most difficult and why?
When I first started writing Shadows, the characters were just about equally easy/hard, but as time went on I bonded with Marissa. That’s probably why her POV is in first person, because I really felt like I was in her head. Though my life and marriage look nothing like hers, she has some characteristics that are similar to mine. OCD, anyone? And panic attacks—I’m all too familiar with those. But I loved how she continued to give, even when her life started spinning out of control. What I really wanted was a faith journey for her that others could relate to.
Kaitlyn is such a sweetheart that I enjoyed writing her character. Like Kaitlyn, I was a single mom in college, but unlike her, I had a solid support system. Even with that, being an unwed mother is scary! My heart went out to her the whole time, and I wanted to point her to the future and tell her that things really would work out someday.
The most difficult, of course, was Colin. He’s horrible! There were times I’d be writing and was like, I can’t believe he thought that! Or I can’t believe he’d do something so awful! And yet you know there are people who actually would. In his own mind, he thinks he’s doing all the right things, but without God it’s nearly impossible to know what the right things are in such a hard situation.
One of the most compelling conflicts in Shadows is Marissa’s continuing to work at a crisis pregnancy center when she herself struggles with infertility. Have you ever been in a situation where you were around the one thing you wanted and couldn’t have?
I can’t imagine a situation harder than Marissa’s, which is what compelled me to write the story. So while I have experienced being around something but not having it myself, it wasn’t to the same degree as Marissa.In fact, it seems minor compared to her situation.
For years I worked with other writers who were getting published and celebrating and moving ahead, while I couldn’t get a contract to save my life. Sometimes when we’re “denied” something, it becomes bigger in our minds than it actually is. Being published was my One Big Thing. It was an idol. God had to smash it, and smash it, He did!
What message do you hope readers take away from reading Shadows?
My greatest hope is that readers who are struggling because life has kicked them in the teeth will see that it’s possible to come out on the other side with a faith that is stronger and more refined. There is hope on the other side of every tragedy.
I think we’ve all been in situations where our lives have taken a serious turn and our worst fears come true. The question is, do we find our faith or lose it? If readers come away seeing a woman who faced the worst thing she could imagine and came out stronger, and if it resonates maybe even years down the road, it will have been worth it.
Also, if there’s someone out there who reads this book and is pregnant and in a rough situation, I pray they realize that there’s help and hope. It really can end beautifully and with great joy! Just ask my amazing 26-year-old daughter who loves God and lives to spread His love to others 😊
How did God change you during the writing of Shadows?
Without giving too much away, as Marissa faced the end of the road on certain dreams she had, I wondered if God was trying to tell me something. I thought perhaps I was writing Shadows of Hope just for me and that it was the end of my writing journey. And I began to make peace with that!
Because the writing of the book took so long—I’m not fast, whatsoever—I changed a lot. God brought me to the point of being at peace with Him and with life even if it doesn’t look like what I thought it would. “God’s got this” started to mean something wholly different from my previous understanding, and oddly enough it brings more peace than I thought possible.
You write, you homeschool, and you’re the Genesis contest coordinator for ACFW. What does a typical writing day look like for you (if there is such a thing)? How do you squeeze in the time around all the other things you do?
Some seasons of life are easier than others, that’s for sure! Part of the reason I write so slowly is because the season we’re in requires so much time. I just can’t seem to teach the Pythagorean Theorem on the fly!
In any case, our day is often structured down to 15-30 minute increments. At any given point, there’s something specific we’re trying to accomplish. We have to prioritize what really matters. I’m happy to say that right now, cleaning is not a priority 😉
Since we moved to a new town a few months ago—and by town I mean out in the country where the deer and the antelope play—I do a lot more driving than ever before. That means we’re making all kinds of new adjustments to try to squeeze everything in.
And I do mean squeeze.
Your previous works are romance. What inspired you to take a new direction and write contemporary women’s fiction?
I love the unpredictability of women’s fiction. While I love getting swept away in a good romance, we know how those are going to end. Exploring gray areas where the answers aren’t clear cut is intense, and moral dilemmas are interesting—in fiction only, because I like my life without those, thank you very much. Anyhoo, I guess it was just time to take that into my writing.
When I started Shadows of Hope, I had no idea how it was going to end. I tried figuring out what I’d do as each character, and it was hard! And when you’re trying to move through life without God, like Colin, it gets even murkier. You might think you’re doing the right thing, and it just isn’t. That’s what intrigued me about writing this story.
What question are you dying for someone to ask you about Shadows, but no one has asked that? Go ahead and ask yourself the question, then give us the answer.
Will there be a sequel?
Just kidding! I’ve actually been asked this several times, but I’d like to put the answer out there. At this point there is not a sequel planned by my publisher, but there has always been one in my head. In my mind, the characters live on!
From our lips to your publisher's ear: We'd love to read that sequel!
I can’t listen to music while I write (too distracting), but I usually have a few songs that help keep the ideas flowing and keep me connected to Story World when I’m away from my computer. Do you have a soundtrack or playlist to Shadows? If it had a theme song, what would it be?
Like you, I can’t really listen to music while writing, unless it doesn’t have words. So I found the karaoke version of a few Evanescence songs on the few occasions I did play music, but for the most part I prefer quiet. I’m a nerd like that.
Finally, how can we pray for you?
Please pray for God’s direction with my writing. While I have a project I’m working on, I don’t actually feel equipped to write it! God either needs to help me get equipped, or I need to find a new project. Thank you for the prayers—it really means a lot!
And thank you so much for inviting me into your corner of cyberspace! It’s been a pleasure, my friend!
Georgiana Daniels resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her super-generous husband and three talented daughters. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in public relations and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and wrestling with the keyboard by night. She enjoys sharing God's love through fiction and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever after. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and be sure to check out her website, where you can read the first chapter of Shadows of Hope for free!