Happy Monday! I am so excited to have a guest with me today on my blog. She’s one of the two main characters in my novel, Then Sings My Soul, which releases in just a few short weeks. Her name is Nel Stewart, and she’s excited to tell you a little more about her role in the story.
Amy: Hi Nel, and thanks for being here. Tell readers a little about yourself.
Nel: Thanks so much for having me. I’m originally from South Haven, Michigan, but I’ve spent the last twenty years pursuing my passion for jewelry design out in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m 39-and-holding [laughs], and I’ve recently returned to South Haven because my mom passed away.
Amy: I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing.
Nel: I appreciate that. It’s been difficult for me, of course, but even more difficult for my dad.
Amy: We learned a little about your dad, Jakob, a couple of weeks ago. How is he holding up?
Nel: Considering he’s 94, I think he’s doing about as well as could be expected. But I think the next few weeks and months will be a challenge for all of us.
Amy: How’s that?
Nel: I don’t know how much time he has left. I’m learning that a lot of people find themselves in my situation, losing one parent and wondering what to do with the surviving parent. Dad’s memory loss is pretty heartbreaking to see, he was so vibrant. It doesn’t help matters that I often don’t know where my own life is headed.
Amy: You own a jewelry business…
Nel: I do. And I love creating new designs and working with gemstones. But the rest of my life is sort of a mess.
Amy: Most people wouldn’t think someone who is an artist and runs their own business is a mess.
Nel: I get that. But as people learn more about my story, I think they’ll realize I’m kind of a middle-aged mess, interpersonally and emotionally. Lots of folks look all put together on the outside, but when we get to know them, we learn they have a lot of unseen battles. We all–every one of us–fights a battle or two. Some are just more obvious than others.
Amy: Will we learn what your struggles are in Then Sings My Soul?
Nel: [blushes] Yep. Readers will learn about my brokenness–maybe more than they want to know–and how that plays in to decisions we have to make about my dad.
Amy: What’s your favorite aspect of Then Sings My Soul?
Nel: I can’t say that I originally was–or that I am–necessarily comfortable telling my story. So much of my life has felt lonely and directionless. But I think looking back I’ve realized God was always with me in it. Even when I thought I could run away to a new place and hide behind my art, He was with me.
Amy: What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from this story about you and your dad?
Nel: I hope folks learn that even when our lives seem purposeless, when we think that the things we go through like aging don’t matter, that everything works together for good–even death–and that God does have a plan for your life.
Amy: Sounds like a pretty hopeful story, then.
Nel: [laughs] Well, it is now that it’s all said and done. But going through it, there was a lot of pain to work through. A little mystery, too.
Amy: Mystery? Oooo, we love a little mystery. I think readers will agree, now we can’t wait to read it. Thanks for stopping by, Nel.
Nel: Thanks so much for having me. See you in South Haven!
Then Sings My Soul releases nationwide on March 1, 2015. It is available for pre-order now, traditional and e-book formats, through wherever fine books are sold.