I’d like to welcome Rose Chandler Johnson back to the blog for a guest post on why she writes inspirational southern fiction, as well as information on her novel: My Father’s House.
Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant – her father’s love. But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily’s struggle to find herself and the life she’s lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband’s sophisticated façade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets. When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices – abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman’s compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she’s meant to be . . . in her father’s house. “…had it not been for Annie Ruth, I would have ended up right there rocking on the front porch beside Mama. Annie Ruth took care of me. She and Mr. John drove up in his dusty pickup truck every morning at six o’clock. She got out and came in, bringing her life and soul into the house…We were her cherished charges, and I was like her own.” –My Father’s House
Why I Write Inspirational Southern Fiction – Rose Chandler Johnson
As a Christian, I have a Christian world view and see the hand of God at work in our lives. I want my stories to reflect that view. As with any story I write, I not only want to give pleasure to the reader, but I also want to leave them with an overriding inspirational message or sense of hope. For my novel, My Father’s House, I wanted to write a story about a young woman with an indomitable spirit who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness. The story begins with a quote from the 23rd Psalm: Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Still reeling from a childhood tragedy, Lily Rose seeks to fill the hole in her heart in marriage. Sadly, she finds herself in an abusive marriage. The question is: Will she survive it? Lily Rose’s warm heart endears her to the reader who wants to know that she’s going to be all right. Told from first-person point of view, the reader takes the journey with her, but the painful experiences are not the main focus of her triumphant story. When Lily Rose reconnects with family and faith, we get a glimpse of the bright future God has in store for her. One reader wrote that the story “made my heart smile.” I’m happy to accomplish that with this story.
The setting needed to play a critical part in My Father’s House as well. So, with my roots firmly planted in Georgia, I modelled my fictional town after so many small Southern towns, and I set in some of my love of nature. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright meanness, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm. If the story makes you long for dirt roads and blackberry picking, shade trees and front porch visiting, then I’ve done my job.