Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with Martha Rogers, author of Winter Promise

Interview by ~Mary as it appears in the February online edition of The Wordsmith Journal

While reading Winter Promise by Martha Rogers, I embraced the concept of forgiveness in a new way. Although the lead character holds the attention of the reader, it is without a doubt, the supporting role of Elliot that makes Rogers latest release worth the indulgence. He struggles, and I’m talking a full fledged emotional wrestling match-with the idea that he can accept pardon for an error he can not forgive himself of. In the end, it is love and the power of Psalm 139 that trumps doubt. There couldn’t be a more appropriate lesson to learn, especially this month, than that of forgiveness and love, and I could think of no better teacher than Rogers. Our interview opened my eyes to her passion to provoke amnesty from the burden of guilt, but I also learned that she began her career at a time in her life when most would be considering retirement. She has a fascination with writing and her compassion for both the reader and author comes through loud and clear.

MN-Your latest novel, Winter Promise, the third in a four part series, just came out. Each title in the series has been released to coincide with the appropriate season mentioned in the title. How did you come up with the idea to do a four part climate related series based on a small community of people?

MR-It just happened as I had written the first one based on the great white blizzard of 1888 in New England but ended with the hero returning in the summer. I knew the third one would be at Christmas and the fourth one in the spring. The first one had been written as When Summer Comes, but as I proposed the series, my agent pointed out the seasons theme, so I set the second one in the fall and the titles were born. They went through a few changes, but the season stayed the same.

MN- Portersville, Texas seems ages and many miles away from 2012. In my review of Winter Promise I wrote, “It is an example of how fiction works to mirror the conflicts of real life, yet be entertaining enough to simultaneously give you that escape from reality.”As a writer, how hard is it to balance reality, fiction and spiritual matters while being creative and entertaining?

MR-It's isn't that difficult for me. As I am 75 years young, I've had so many experience from which to draw, and they all proved God's faithfulness and love time and again. Sometimes reality is far-fetched even for fiction, so with a little tweaking, real life experiences become fictionalized and are examples of how God works in our lives.

MN-I became attached to your characters very quickly. Do you as the author and creator become attached as well?

MR-Oh, I love my characters and hate to let them go. That's what I like about writing series. I don't have to say good-bye as soon. We even found a way to go back and pick up one of my couples and bring them into my Christmas novel for next year.

MN-Forgiveness is a common theme among your novels. Why is this concept important to you?

MR-Forgiveness is a lesson I learned through a very difficult situation in our family. When I realized I had to forgive in order to get on with my life and my relationship with the Lord to be what it should be, my life changed. My outlook and attitude toward so many things changed, and that drew me closer to the Lord and prepared me for things I would face in the future.

MN-Do you believe we have a greater struggle forgiving ourselves or others?

MR-I haven't been in a position where I've had to truly forgive myself. Oh, I've been angry with myself and wished I hadn't done certain things in a particular way, and I've had to ask the forgiveness of others, but because Jesus forgave ALL my sins on the cross, He will forgive me, and if He does, I must.

MN-Is forgiveness always a journey or is it possible to be instantaneous?

MR-For me it was a long, hard journey and some of that is depicted in my next novel in which the hero must forgive. It may be instantaneous for some people, but I can't think of anyone I've known who was able to do it.

MN-You conduct workshops and retreats based on the realization that life doesn’t end at 50. How can a woman step out of her comfort zone-at any age-to realize and follow her dreams?

MR-I tell women to be confident of who they are in Jesus Christ, and to trust Him to help them fulfill that dream they've had for years. If it is in His will, He will open the doors. If it is not, He will make it clear. After so many years of rejection, I almost gave up, but I sensed God telling me to persevere, so I did.

MN-What is the greatest compliment you have received from one of your readers in regards to a novel that you had written?

MR-The greatest compliment didn't come from a novel, but from an article I wrote about my brother who is still in prison. I wrote about the journey to forgive him, and a reader wrote to tell me that she was going through the same thing, and reading my testimony gave her the courage to step out and seek reconciliation with her brother who was also in prison. That's what it's all about and why my tag line is "Touching Hearts...Changing Lives." I want to touch my readers' hearts and in so doing perhaps change something in their lives.

MN-Your favorite Bible verse?

MR-Oh, way too many to count. I have verses for everything that has happened in my life, but the one I use with my signature at book signings is Galatians 6:9 NIV "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."