Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots and her love of her husband and seven children. Both lend authenticity to her novels. After graduating from Wake Forest University, she has corrected grammar up and down the East Coast in her career as an editor and writer that started with Houghton Mifflin Company twenty-five years ago. Since then she has freelanced with magazines, parenting journals, textbooks, and homeschooling resources. In this interview, she shares her thoughts and insights into her latest Christian fiction novel, ‘Til I Want No More.
FF: What was your inspiration for this story?
I tend to cling to the past and my mistakes like they’re life rafts, when in reality, they’re dragging me under and away from God’s saving grace. ’Til I Want No More is both a confession and an admonition: When Jesus says in Luke 6:37, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven,” it includes forgiving Robin. I must trust what God says about me and not let anything or anyone—my husband, children, parents, friends, enemies, work, success, or failure—tell me who I am.
FF: What was your process like as you began to craft these characters?
Before I wrote word one—which eventually became the second chapter—I determined the theme for the story. That theme shaped and molded the characters as I considered key questions: What are their struggles? How many siblings does Maxine have, and what are their family dynamics? What happened to the child-Maxine that formed the adult-Maxine? How will their strengths, weaknesses, and actions support the theme and further its development within the story? What do my characters need to learn, let go of, hold on to? As I fashioned my characters, I made sure they answered these questions and supported the overriding theme.
FF: What role does faith play in this story?
Faith is my main character. Evidence of Maxine’s faith weaves through her dreams, the words of her articles, and her day-to-day conversations at the kitchen table and in the pastor’s study. Her lack of faith is what drove her away from her family and her growing faith is what drew her back. Though it seems down for the count in Maxine’s heart, faith eventually emerges as the hero, victorious. Faith saves the day.
FF: What is one thing you learned about yourself through writing this book?
I realized that, like Maxine, I struggle to put my thoughts into words; I worry they won’t be “fitly spoken . . . in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Often, I find it easier to share my thoughts and emotions using the words I write rather than the ones I utter. Both my main character and I have had to learn that, while it seems less complicated to let down my burdens with unseen readers rather than with the folks living under our own roof, it’s certainly not as healing or productive.
FF: Which character was your favorite to write? Why?
I so enjoyed writing “the man of many names.” James David Lester put a face to the faith and forgiveness that Maxine lacked and couldn’t offer herself. He was confident, strong, and “manly”—at least according to Vivienne Owens—yet he had a tender, loving side that honored truth and commitment.
FF: Tell us a little bit more about Maxine. Why did you want to write a character like her?
Maxine carried a burden most of her life—an unmet need, a search for identity, an emptiness she tried to fill with her parents, a romance, young motherhood, and finally her fiancé. For me, Celeste represents those burdens, the secret hurts or sins we all carry and hide from the world. She also stands for the blessings our burdens can become once we let God in and trust Him. Like Maxine, we find our hope, identity, and redemption through Christ.
FF: What real-life issues are addressed as we read Maxine’s story?
Maxine’s story puts faith into practice by highlighting current, real-life topics. These topics include the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, “parenting” adult children, nontraditional families, premarital counseling, and the emotional effects of losing a parent. I think it’s important for believers to see that our Bible isn’t a history book; it serves as our authority on current events.
FF: What was the most challenging part about writing this story?
The structure of ’Til I Want No More is integral to the development of the story, and maintaining this structure challenged me. I divided the book into months, seven and all, a meaningful number to believers. Within each month, readers will find a premarital counseling session with Pastor Atwater, Maxine, and Teddy; one of Maxine’s dreams; and a magazine article written by Maxine. Each element works to reveal more about the main character and move along the story.
FF: What will readers learn about the character of God in this book?
God is truth, unvarnished and uncompromising yet beautiful and loving. In ’Til I Want No More, He uses various means to reveal the truth about Himself to Maxine, and He leaves no stone unturned to reach her. He works through her dreams, her writing, her grandparents, and premarital counseling to explain what it means to walk in truth and love.
FF: What is one piece of encouragement that you want readers to take away from reading this story?
’Til I Want No More is no “Will they or won’t they?” romance. It reveals the love story between God and Maxine, His pursuit of her. God is passionate about His children. He uses situations in our lives to reveal more about His greatness than to point out our weaknesses and flaws. He lives to love us, not to condemn us. FF
‘Til I Want No More
Robin W. Pearson
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: February 2, 2021
When the man she loved years ago returns to town, one young woman’s complicated past rises again, threatening to expose her well-kept secrets.
If Maxine could put her finger on the moment when her life went into a tailspin, she would point back twenty years to the day her daddy died. She tells herself he’s the only person who ever really knew and loved her, and if he hadn’t left her behind, her future would’ve taken a different path. No absentee mother, no stepfather, no rebellious ripping and running during her teenage years. And no JD, who gave her wandering young heart a home, at least for a time.
But that’s over and done with. All grown-up now, Maxine has pledged her heart and ring finger to Theodore Charles, the man she’ll promise to love, honor, and obey in front of God and everybody. At least that’s what she’s telling anybody who will listen. The only folks buying it are the dog and the readers of her column, however. Her best friend and family aren’t having it―not even Celeste, the double bass–playing thirteen-year-old the community of Mount Laurel, North Carolina, believes is Maxine’s adopted sister. And apparently, neither is the newly returned JD, who seems intent on toppling Maxine’s reconstructed life. As her wedding day marches ever closer, Maxine confronts what it means to be really known and loved by examining what’s buried in her own heart and exposing truth that has never seen the light of day.
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