Jake is minding his own business sitting in a coffee shop trying to blend into the woodwork when Liz walks up and offers him a refill. Slowly, but surely Liz brakes though Jakes protective loneliness and both of their lives begin to change.
Both Liz and Jake have secrets, problems that make them feel unworthy to be a part of what is happening between them. Only a nudge from above can keep them on the right track, the track to peace and more than they ever imagined.
I enjoyed reading this because it is not your typical romance, it can’t really be put into a convenient box. It reads like it is truly about someone’s life.
Staci, thank you for joining me today!
Thanks so much for having me!
I enjoyed reading about Jake and Liz and appreciate that this story deals with real problems. I have a few friends with varying types of dyslexia, reading this makes their struggle very real. You are a panster, (like me) you write what comes to you not something plotted and planned, when you realized Jake was going to be like your son, was that difficult? Did you fight it?
I was literally 50 pages into writing this story when I “figured it out.” As crazy as that sounds, Jake wouldn’t let ME see his screen either. At first I didn’t even really notice it, but after a while (when you’re like me, you are used to seeing things through someone else’s eyes, “being them” so to speak). It was when I realized that I was still on the outside of him, transcribing his movements, that I realized I’d never actually seen the screen where he was typing. And then he got real “wonky” about it and wouldn’t let me see it even then. That’s when I really started to pay attention to other things about him, and I figured it out.
I didn’t really fight it so much as it was a lesson in coaxing the truth out of someone and trying to get them to trust me enough to really share what his world was like. I know that sounds completely bizarre, but I’m like Jake in writing. I don’t know what’s going on at first, only what the characters choose to share with me. Some are more open than others. These two were two of the least trusting characters I’ve ever been entrusted with telling their stories. I think that’s what deep hurt will do to you—it either makes you turn the anger outward or you turn it inward on yourself. Both of these characters chose the latter to deal with their hurt.
You have a book that goes along with this one detailing your son’s journey with dyslexia, tell us a bit about it.
My son, Andrew, was like a bolt of lightning in our household—almost literally. He was the most curious kid I have ever been around. When he was little, he did some crazy stuff that I talk about in the book, “Something’s Not Right,” and I honestly was not sure I could parent a kid like him. He wasn’t mean. He just HAD to see how everything worked or figure out how to use it for something different as my CD player learned the hard way.
Because he was SO fascinated with stories and drawing, and because his older sisters were good at school, I assumed he would be too. In kindergarten we started noticing some things that were “strange” but not too concerning. By first grade, nothing was making any sense, and school went downhill from there. Here was this brilliant kid who couldn’t spell to save his life and who could hardly read—even though he had been “reading” to me since he was four. (Memorizing = Coping Skill #1 for Dyslexic children)
The book “Something’s Not Right” let’s you experience my experience as a parent, trying to find something that would help unlock his ability to read and even at first trying to figure out WHAT was wrong. Much like Jake’s experiences in “More Than This,” the answer does not show up in a step-by-step fashion from someone who knows what they’re doing and how to help you. Instead, it’s try this… if that doesn’t work, you try something else, and then something else, and then something else. Chapter Nine of the book gives you my best advice—the steps I would take in the order I would take them if I had someone facing dyslexia now. It’s what I wish I would have known when that first note came home that said, “Andrew doesn’t seem to know the difference between M and W.”
You have not shied away from tough topics in this or in some of your other books, do you think it’s a little easier to reach people with a message if it is in the middle of a sweet love story?
Everybody “gets” the lessons in a different way. Some people read nonfiction and enjoy getting the lessons that way. I have nonfiction books for them. Others prefer to read a story—think Jesus and the parables. What I’ve found is that all of my writing, taken as a whole, is like a painting. The stories are certain colors and hues; the nonfiction stories are other colors and hues; the Bible studies are the blacks and whites. Taken together, they create the depth of my understanding of how we best live God’s plan for us.
Often, the characters in my books have gone through or are going through some really tough experiences. I’ve written about characters going through break-ups, coming out of drug addictions, losing a spouse, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, suicide, first responders and the danger and heartache they face, weight issues, college relationships, bullying, drinking, and on and on. Why? Because that’s real life. Real people. Facing really difficult struggles.
Some of my books are what I call “inspirational”—with a good message but not necessarily “Christian.” Those don’t have preachers and sermons or mention God directly. Then I have others, like “More Than This” that DO have preachers and sermons and broken and hurting Christians who are trying to navigate this world but who don’t always get things right or haven’t always gotten them right. I guess I put myself in that category, and they say, “Write what you know,” so that’s what I try to do. Broken people who really need God to show up in a big way, and how amazing He is when He does.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I get tired very quickly of Christian stories with too perfect characters. My favorite Christain fiction authors are those who take real life people with issues and how they deal with them in an imperfect way. How many books have you written and what are your favorite genres to read? Do you have a favorite book?
Gee. 🙂 Let’s see.
How many books have I written? I believe “More Than This” is my 30th book published. I have written about 40 fiction books, and I have another 6 or more in some stage of being written. Then I have 3 nonfiction collections of true, real-life short stories (lessons from my life that I share with you). Then I have 3 Bible studies (more written, just not yet published). And now “Something’s Not Right,” which doesn’t really fit in any of those categories.
Favorite genres to read. Hand’s down… nonfiction that shows how God works in the lives of broken people. When I was headed to college, I wanted to be a psychologist. My then boyfriend, now husband, said I didn’t want to be that, I should be a teacher. So I became a teacher (English). Yeah. I was always supposed to be a counselor. Now I just work with characters and other authors instead of clients.
Favorite book? Hmm, if I have to pick just a couple… “The Greatest Miracle in the World” (Og Mandino), “If You Want to Walk on Water, You have to Get Out of the Boat” (John Ortberg), “This Present Darkness” (Frank Peretti), “Grace Walk” (Steve McVey), “The Ragamuffin Gospel” (Brennan Manning), and for just pure enjoyment John Grisham.
Ragamuffin Gospel is one of my favorites as well, I’ve read a few books by Brennan Manning.
Again, thanks so much for having me! God bless you and all of your readers!
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors. She is now a Best-Selling Christian Romance author of many bestselling titles including “Deep in the Heart,” “To Protect & Serve,” and “Cowboy.”