Happy Saturday! All week, I have had the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2019 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m wrapping things up with the debut novel & romance categories, including Courtney Walsh and her Carol Award nominated novel Just Let Go! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
JUST LET GO
SERIES: Harbor Pointe #2
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2018
For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out–and the best way to avoid more negative press.
Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town–and Quinn’s life–possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.
Hi, dear Courtney! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: Why do you write fiction? And, why specifically Christian fiction?
Courtney: I write fiction because I’m fascinated by story. My background is in theatre, so creating characters has become sort of second nature to me.
I used to think this was a frivolous pursuit until I realized that Jesus used story to change hearts and lives. His parables taught people so well, in a way that people could connect to. I often find that writing is a way for me to sort out what God is doing in my life…and my hope is that readers might be able to relate, and maybe God will use my words to impact them in some way.
Carrie: I so love that about Him – that He taught through stories. Fiction has taught me so much!
Q: Other than the Bible, what are a couple of your most cherished books and why?
Courtney: Reading Redeeming Love changed my whole perception about fiction. I didn’t know novels could be so powerful before that. It is now and always will be the book that not only inspired me as a writer but also made me fall in love with reading after a long dry spell.
Another book I cherish is my very first novel, A Sweethaven Summer. To me, that book is tangible evidence of God’s work in my life. It was so sweet of Him to give me this dream and then help make it come true, but it’s also a reminder that dreams take a whole lot of hard work.
Carrie: This answer makes my heart happy ♥
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Courtney: Oh, that Courtney, she’s way too soft. She knows we have to make mistakes, we have to say really stupid things, we have to be a little ugly sometimes, but it’s takes her a lot of drafts before she lets us be that broken. We’re working on her though…we’re just glad she doesn’t often kill us off. She really loves a happy ending.
Carrie: And we readers are so glad you love happy endings 🙂
Q: Which of your main characters (either in Just Let Go or over all you’ve written) is most like you?
Courtney: Lane Kelley from Just Look Up. When she was young, Lane was teased because she was overweight and somehow that turned her into a person with a lot of empathy for everyone but herself. She is hard on herself. She works a lot (to the point of making herself sick) and she clearly thinks love is earned, not given. Lane emerged as I had some powerful revelations about myself. I’ll always be grateful to her. And I’m really glad she found Brooks because, you know, I love a happy ending. 🙂
Carrie: Oh Brooks – all the heart eyes for him!!!
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Just Let Go?
Courtney: I was thinking about my husband as I was trying to decide how to make Just Let Go come to life, and while he’s not an Olympic skier, he is a person I wouldn’t have picked for myself back in the day. I was thinking about how, when I was younger, I had a clear picture of the spouse God had for me. I thought I knew everything about him. I thought he would have certain traits and qualities and no baggage. I mean, I’d done everything right and followed every rule, so naturally that was going to be the same for my future spouse.
But that’s not the man God brought me. He brought me someone who makes me laugh, who loves me unconditionally, who puts me first at every turn… but his life and background were very different from mine. I would’ve missed out on this rare and precious gift if I hadn’t let go of my own preconceived ideas. I would’ve lost out (big time) if I’d remained so rigid and, let’s be honest, judgmental.
Instead, I let God work and move and this man is now my very best friend. Sometimes I ask myself, what if I hadn’t looked past the past at the man my husband was becoming? I wouldn’t have become the person I am…because truly, it was my husband’s faith that reignited my own. It’s him who helps me be my best self. So, I wanted to write a story about two people who were all wrong for each other—but if you sprinkle God’s blessing on them, beautiful things can happen.
Carrie: That made me all teary – what a sweet testimony of grace and God’s faithfulness …
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Just Let Go & why do you love it?
“She knew she had a choice. She could stay warm in her comfortable little cocoon, this world she’d built for herself—or she could take one small step toward the unknown.”
Courtney: I love this quote because it sums up so much of what God has done in my life. I don’t take risks. I’m naturally risk-averse. But nothing good ever comes from staying comfortable. It’s when we push ourselves outside the realm of what we think we can handle that God shows up. And I’ve learned that life is certainly better when God shows up.
Carrie: “nothing good ever comes from staying comfortable” – oh boy this is so true and something that God had to keep teaching me before I finally caught on lol.
I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2019 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most from Courtney Walsh’s Q&A or the Carol Award finalist Just Let Go?