Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and the award-winning Christian fiction author of four books, including More Than We Remember and the Christy Award winning book, The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six, an advocate for children in foster care, a substitute teacher, a writers conference director, and the wife of her partner in this crazy adventure. She lives in Oregon’s gorgeous Willamette Valley.
In this interview, Christina talks with us about her latest novel, Shaped by the Waves.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new book, Shaped by the Waves.
Shaped by the Waves is the story of a woman’s return to an unusual town on the Oregon Coast. While she’s there caring for her aunt, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery surrounding her birth.
FF: What inspired you to write this novel?
I was inspired by my love for the people around me. This story is about sacrifice. It explores the ways we are blessed by the sacrifices we make out of love. That reality kept me going through the writing process.
FF: Shaped by the Waves explores some tough emotional issues, including caring for a loved one with deteriorating health. Was it difficult to write about these sensitive topics?
It was difficult. My own father passed away a few years ago after a battle with Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia. There were many points when I didn’t want to keep writing because it brought back waves of grief. The deteriorating health of our parents is something most of us will face. I wanted to show that there is beauty in this time of life, as well as sacrifice.
FF: Although the book deals with life’s struggles, it is ultimately a book of hope. Can you explain how this book can be an encouragement to those who are struggling?
Often, we chose to struggle alone. Throughout this novel, we see Cassie trying to take on the trials on her own, only to realize there is a community who not only wants to help but needs the opportunity to serve for their own healing. I hope readers will see the importance of sharing their burdens, seeking community, and walking together through the mountains and the valleys.
FF: Cassie George, the female protagonist, is a single mother trying to keep her head above water. But she is starting to drown in all the challenges that life has thrown at her. What can readers learn from Cassie’s situation?
From Cassie, we learn that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but instead, it shows our greater understanding for God’s design. Being vulnerable can facilitate healing. Sharing the burden allows us to connect with others. And releasing ourselves from the hold of fear draws us closer to opportunities for love.
FF: What lessons do you think this novel offers to readers?
Sacrificing ourselves for others is a beautiful expression of love.
It is a strength to be able to accept the help of others.
Fear leads us to make bad decisions.
FF: What was the inspiration for Shaped by the Waves?
I thought of my grandmother often during the writing process. She chose to be my granny and loved me unconditionally, much like Shasta did for Cassie. I was honored to care for her during the last years of her life. It was a crazy, busy, emotional time, but I wouldn’t change it.
FF: What are you working on next?
I’m writing about a podcaster who finds herself in the middle of a thirty-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of her childhood best friend.
Shaped by the Waves
Christina Suzann Nelson
Genres: Women’s, Contemporary
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Cassie George is barely staying above water as she works to get her doctorate and raise her daughter. But she stubbornly keeps swimming to prove a few bad decisions haven’t ruined her forever. Plus, it’s all a great excuse to stay away from the small Oregon town she fled in shame years prior. But when she receives a call that the aunt who raised her has had a major health crisis, she knows it’s time to return.
Cassie is surprised to be more welcomed by the quirky seaside community than she expected, even if there’s still tension between her and her former classmate Nora Milford. But she still can’t help feeling unsettled and is mystified by a mysterious package that appears, full of typed pages that tell the story of an anonymous woman’s life. As her curiosity sends her on a journey toward truth, Cassie will discover that who she thought she was and what she wants for her life are both about to change.
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