In April Smith’s novel Loving Grace (Ambassador International), newly crowned watermelon queen Grace Summer is torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door. In this interview, April shares the inspiration for the novel, the benefits of writing romances as a Christian author, and the challenges of writing for YA readers…

Q. What inspired the story in Loving Grace?

I spent summers working on my best friend’s family watermelon farm, and had the opportunity to work for the watermelon industry as one of their watermelon queens. It was a year full of great fun and memories. When the time came to pick a setting, I knew I wanted Grace’s story to take place in the watermelon world.

Q. What were your goals writing this novel?

As far as goals for this novel go, I desired to create a main character that readers could identify with all while giggling at the situations she manages to unwittingly land herself in. I also hoped Grace’s story would remind us that God has a plan and purpose for why we’re all here in this great, big, beautiful world.

April, what do you want readers to take away after reading Loving Grace?

The main takeaway is that true happiness comes from resting in the grace of God. Things of this world may make us happy for a time, but they tarnish when compared to what God has to offer. There are other smaller lessons woven throughout the story, but ultimately, I want readers to remember to love themselves and rest in God’s loving grace.

Q. What are the challenges (or benefits) of writing romances as a Christian author?

I find the benefits of writing Christian fiction far outweigh the challenges. Before I start writing I try to ask myself what do I want my characters to learn? And what problems are they going to face on their journey? I then try to find verses from the Bible that would be applicable to my characters along the way. I can then later use them in my writing, and it is always fun to see what Bible verses pop into my mind why I’m in the brainstorming portion of the process.

This is a YA romance. What are the challenges of writing for that age group?

I want to make sure I keep my characters authentic and relatable as possible. Also, trying to softly weave in the message I’m trying share without taking away from the story line can be challenging. But I’ve found the challenge is worth it and very rewarding in the end.

Visit April Smith’s author page here:

Loving Grace
Ambassador International
April Smith

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