Award-winning novelist Gina Holmes tells a heartrending yet uplifting story of the power of friendship between women in her latest book,

Wings of Glass (Tyndale House).

What inspired you to write Wings of Glass?

As a little girl, I watched my mother be brutally beaten by her then-husband—only to find herself in a string of abusive relationships even after that. I’ve seen two of my sisters repeat the pattern, and never in a million years did I think I would follow suit. I consider myself to be a strong, independent and intelligent woman. But in the end, I was no wiser or any more immune than them. I did get out of that relationship pretty quickly—but not quickly enough.

On the road to discovery, I stopped asking what it was about my family that drew these men to us and started asking what it was that drew us to them. It took many years of reading, counseling and, of course, praying for me to find the answers.

I’ve heard so many friends judge women in these abusive relationships without knowing that I was once part of that club. This book is my answer to all of those questions. I’m so proud of this book, because I think it will open eyes on both sides of the fence and might even change a few lives. That’s my prayer anyway.

Is writing a vulnerable novel like this more of an act of healing for you or an act of ministry for your readers?

It’s a little of both. Even while writing this, new epiphanies came to me during my research, and I made more strides toward healthy thinking during the process of writing Wings of Glass than I have in all the years leading up to it.

I’m well-suited for this story, because I’ve been every woman in this book to some degree at one time or another. I understand the manipulation, the self-loathing, the low self-esteem that the victim experiences, and even the torture the abuser goes through. Early readers have told me that I nailed the dysfunctional thinking of Penny, the main character, and while that’s a wonderful compliment, it was no big feat for me. Now, I’m more likely to be a helpful, no-nonsense Callie Mae than a Penny though.

What do you hope readers will take away
from the book?

I hope readers who feel trapped in an abusive relationship will realize that the problem is dependent on them as much as their abuser. I hope they can understand how bad it can and will get eventually. It’s my deepest desire to show them that there is healing, there is hope, and that God hasn’t left them. My prayer is that God will force them to open their eyes to the truth so that they may do something to help themselves.

I also pray that readers who have found themselves judging others for taking too much from their partner will get an inside glimpse of what brings these women to that point, and they’ll be able to minister to them better.

And, of course, I’d love to see this book be passed on to women who wouldn’t normally take advice and find themselves being ministered to through the backdoor of a good read.

Q: Your
debut novel, Crossing Oceans, was an
award-winning bestseller. Wings of Glass
is your third novel. Looking back, what have been the challenges of starting so
strong out of the gate? Does that help your subsequent novels, or does it
create more pressure?
a tough question. On one hand, it definitely ups my expectations. I found
myself nearly paralyzed as I sat down to write my sophomore novel, Dry as Rain, because I’d had a taste of
public criticism, and I could hear those voices in my head telling me I was
being melodramatic or a character was unlikable or whatever. That was a tough
book to write! Wings of Glass came
much more easily for me. It flowed as naturally from my fingertips as Crossing Oceans did. I think some
stories are ours to tell more so than others.
On the
other hand, I think people were more likely to give my second book a serious
reading, because I’d received so many accolades from the first. So I might have
gotten some softer reviews from some than I would have if my second book had come
before my first.

Q: It says
on your website that you’ve earned degrees in science and nursing (most
novelists can’t say that). Has this knowledge ever come in handy with your
fiction, or is it just stuff you know?
extremely helpful. Every book seems to have some medical emergency, and as an
RN, I worked in about every area of medicine that you can imagine, so I know
something about just about everything in that field. I don’t know everything,
of course, but enough to write a medical scene believable. Besides the medical
knowledge, being a nurse has allowed me to see the span of humanity at its best
and worst.

I’ve held the hand of a dying patient and gone on to prepare
his body for the morgue while his family members watched on. I’ve also been
there to welcome brand new babies into the world. I’ve gotten an incredible
opportunity to see past the masks people hide behind and see life in all its
rawness, both in glory and in gore.

A portion of this article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!

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About The Author

Gina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in southern Virginia.