Meet Jerusha Agen, my fellow author and friend. For a chance to win a copy of her newest release, simply comment at the end of the interview.
Hi Jerusha! Thanks so much for visiting today. Before we talk about your newest release, This Redeemed, I’d love to hear about some of your inspiration to write. What’s your favorite book? Why?
My all-time favorite book would have to be To Kill a Mockingbird. I always say that I think this book should be required reading for all fiction writers. Harper Lee shows so much brilliance in the novel that I wouldn’t have enough space here to give a complete listing of all the reasons that I like it. I think what most grabs me about To Kill a Mockingbird is the skillful telling of a nuanced, richly layered story that communicates deeply resonant messages on critical issues. I particularly love Lee’s juxtaposition of a child’s perspective and innocence with negative “adult” thinking and prejudices.
To Kill a Mockingbird was actually on my required reading list in high school, and I absolutely loved it. Still do. So, what is your favorite film adaptation of a book? Why?
Robert Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Since film adaptations so often fall far short for the books they claim to represent, it seems inconceivable that the greatest film adaptation ever made could be of one of the best books ever written. But, in my humble opinion, Mulligan’s version of To Kill a Mockingbird is just that. I think this is an adaptation of which even the novel’s author could be proud, because it fully captures the core and heart of the novel, while also accurately realizing the characters as richly and fully as they were portrayed in the book.
I agree. What is your favorite genre to read? Write?
My favorite genre to read is more of a period—nineteenth-century British fiction. Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) are among my favorite authors. I enjoy learning from the masters, whose works have withstood the test of time. Unfortunately, I can’t write nineteenth-century fiction today. Oh, and I’m not British. J In writing, I enjoy telling the stories that God lays on my heart, whatever their genre may be. This Redeemer is the third in a three-book Women’s Fiction series, but next I hope to have a suspense novel published. From there, it may be general fiction or even futuristic sci-fi. Only the Lord knows!
Of course, I encourage you to write sci-fi since I’m a fan of speculative fiction. Hey, maybe you can write a dystopian sci-fi novel with British characters. [big smile] Now, who does your intended audience include? Believers and nonbelievers? In what ways do you believe your story reaches each?
I think that most of my readers will be Christians, and my books will probably appeal to that audience the most, but I purposely write my novels in such a way that I hope will reach both believers and nonbelievers, should they pick up a copy. For Christians, my goal is to encourage and challenge them to go deeper in their faith and draw closer to God through my story. I hope that any nonbelievers reading this and other books I’ve written will meet the Redeemer Who can give them the hope, love, and forgiveness that they need.
What message do you hope your readers will take away after reading your novel?
I hope and pray that women who are in abusive relationships, poverty, depression, or any other type of seemingly hopeless situation will see in this story that there is hope even in the most desperate of situations, and that His name is Jesus. For readers who have no experience with such desperation, I hope that they will be convicted of the need to selflessly love the “unlovable” in the world and to humbly forgive the “unforgivable.” For all of us, there is hope!
After spending so much time together at last year’s ACFW conference, I didn’t realize we wrote for essentially the same reasons, though my focus is teenagers. What has surprised you most about being an author?
The need for self-promotion! Marketing has become such a huge part of the author’s career. Promoting my own work and marketing do not come naturally to me, so learning the ropes of that side of authorship has been a difficult task. I’m still working on finding a balance between time spent marketing and time spent on writing. Either task could be a full-time job on its own!
Marketing is quite a challenge. What advice do you have for fellow writers (published and unpublished)?
Trust in God and His timing. He always knows what is best, even when it seems awful to you (Romans 8:28). If you can’t get published, or your writing career is not as successful as you’d like, remember that serving God, no matter how humble the circumstances or even in worldly failure, is always a success in the eyes of the only Person Who matters. If you keep working for God, you will have eternal impact!
Share your favorite Bible verse and the ways in which it impacts your writing.
My favorite Bible passage is one that particularly resonates with me as a writer:
“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
– Job 19:23-27
On my website, www.SDGwords.com, I wrote what I call “The Author’s Prayer,” as a response to this passage in Job. I think this prayer captures the ways in which the Job passage impacts my writing better than if I tried to explain it.
“The Author’s Prayer”
Let my words be worthy of being recorded.
Let them be written with skill and beauty.
Let them be inscribed with iron power.
Let them be engraved by the only Rock that is forever.
Let them show the world my Redeemer.
Not all prisons have bars.
Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her.
Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could discover the truth about her. Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?
To get to know Jerusha’s character’s better, check out This Redeemer on Amazon.
Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow, and This Redeemer. Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas and A Dozen Apologies from Write Integrity Press.
Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com.
Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and two small, furry cats.