Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for Romance.
In this interview, Becky talks with us about her latest novel, Turn to Me.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel, Turn to Me.
In the final moments before his death, Finley Sutherland’s father tells Luke Dempsey that he left the first in a series of treasure hunt clues in his will for his daughter. He asks Luke to protect her until the treasure hunt is complete. Luke, an ex-con, agrees. However, soon after he goes to work at Finley’s animal rescue charity, he starts to fall for the idealistic, dark-haired beauty. He begins to wonder. Is he tough enough to protect her from danger? And if so, who’s going to protect him from losing his heart?
FF: At the beginning of the novel, Finley’s father is incarcerated with Luke. Can you tell us about the nature of Finley’s relationship with her father?
Finley’s an only child, born to a single father when he was in his fifties. She became the greatest joy of his life. He loved her with fiery devotion, and she loved him just as deeply in return.
FF: Turn to Me is a contemporary romance novel, but it also has a mystery thread. What challenge did you experience when incorporating both of these elements into your story?
Balance was a challenge! I consider myself a romance writer first and foremost. So, on one hand, I didn’t want the mystery to overshadow the love story. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy driving the plot of my stories forward with a big story question. In Turn to Me the story question is, “What’s waiting at the end of the treasure hunt?” I ended up using that question as the tie that binds Finley and Luke together long enough for them to fall in love.
FF: Through the experiences of your male protagonist, Luke Dempsey, this story engages themes of redemption and letting go of what is behind us. Can you elaborate on that?
Luke’s younger brother died when he was fourteen and, ever since, he’s blamed himself. His guilt and grief set him on a path of rebellious self-destruction until, eventually, he landed in prison. When Turn to Me begins, he’s been out of prison for months and he’s determined to make a new, clean start. The events of the novel give him both an opportunity to meet the God of redemption and to release the guilt that has strangled him for so long.
FF: In your opinion, what are the essential elements that all great love stories must have?
1) Romantic conflict. The reason why the couple can’t be together is the linchpin that forces them to face obstacles, to overcome, to sacrifice for their relationship.
2) A hero and heroine who are ideally suited to each other. They can be complete opposites and still complement one another in wonderful ways.
3) Honesty. The more “real” the characters are—the more they have strengths and weaknesses and true emotions—the more readers will sympathize with them.
4) Believability. In order for readers to believe in a romance novel’s happy ending, they need to know that the characters have had enough time together for genuine love to develop and they want to see their love proven through actions and not just words.
FF: Like a couple of your other novels, Turn to Me is set in the fictional town of Misty River. What do you think readers will find most appealing about this setting?
The fact that my small and charming town of Misty River is nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains. I was able to visit the area for research and I’ll never forget the waterfalls that marble the land, the moody clouds, the rippling forests.
FF: What was the inspiration behind your new novel?
My mom created treasure hunts for my sisters and me when we were small. I thought, “What if a father has a birthday treasure hunt tradition with his daughter? And what if he leaves her the first clue to one final treasure hunt in his will?” Those questions became the inspiration for Turn to Me.
FF: How does Turn to Me stand out from the other books you’ve written?
This novel contains my first “bad boy” hero type. Also, I’ve never written about an animal rescue center before. This book is populated with dogs and one especially adorable puppy that stole my heart!
FF: What lessons do you hope readers gain from reading Turn to Me?
The novel’s theme verse is Isaiah 38:17 “…in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.” I hope readers are powerfully reminded that God has the power to deliver any life from destruction regardless of our past mistakes, our heartbreak, or our failings.
FF: What are you working on next?
The first book in a new series!
Turn to Me
Misty River Romance Series #3
Release Date: May 3, 2022
His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.
Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.
Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.
As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?
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