Friday, February 14, 2014

It Had To Be You - a Christiansen Family Novel 2 - by Susan May Warren is a wonderful story about Eden Christiansen, obituary writer who really wants to be a reporter and sister to up-and-coming hockey player, Owen.  She tries to take care of him, yet worries that she'll fail.  She also feels like life is passing her by.  She clashes with Jace Jacobsen, the team captain who she worries her brother is trying to emulate, on and off the rink.  Not only does he get into fights on the court, but has a reputation with the ladies.  As she gets to know him, however, she realizes she may have judged him too quickly.  Jace feels like the only thing going for him is hockey.  After too many concussions, he faces serious repercussions if he gets hurt again, but he doesn't know what else he could do.  When Owen is hurt, will they work together to help him?  Will Eden open his eyes to new possibilities?

I absolutely love this book!  It's well-written and I did not want to put it down!  I love the Christiansen family and that we get to know each of the siblings in this series.  Each book works as a stand-alone, but you won't want to miss either of them.  I really like the sub-plot about Jace's friend, Sam and his daughter, Maddy, as she has serious health problems and he struggles to understand how God can allow her suffering.  There's also a great bonus of a novella included in the back that tells the story of the Christiansen parents!  The characters are wonderful and they just leap off the page. I like that they're not perfect; they struggle with their faith and figuring out what they want out of life.  I love the romance! Can he really trust a "reporter" and can she trust a famous hockey player known for his way with the ladies?  You'll have to read this to find out and I highly recommend you do!

I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Author Q & A
Susan May Warren
It Had to
Be You
This is the second installment in a
new six book series. Can you give us a bit of
background on this series?
The Christiansen
Family series is a spin
-off of the bestselling Deep Haven
collection, stories about the townspeople of Deep Haven, Minnesota, a
tiny resort town on the north shore of Lake Superior. The original series
started with a book titled  Happily Ever After and grew to include six titles.
However, one family began to stand out, and we decided their story
needed to be told. We wanted a series about a family with adult children
learning what it meant to carry on the legacy of faith into their lives. And I
wanted to write a series that would really let readers dig into the family,
feel like they were a part of their journey.
This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this
It’s a gorgeous place to set a story
on the rocky shores of Lake Superior,
in a tiny town where everyone knows your name. It’s
a town with rich heritage, strong ties, and a place where people want to escape
in fiction and in real life (as it is modeled after my town of Grand Marais,
Minnesota). You’ll find people from all walks of life here and most
importantly, Evergreen Resort, run by the Christiansen family for four
What is your hope for this series?

Of course, I hope people fall as much in love with the
Christiansens as I have. They’re a great bunch
all led by John and Ingrid Christiansen,
who have tried to in still their values into their children. But each child has their
own path to walk, and part of the series is just watching as they walk that
paththrough the good and the bad, trying to figure out where their faith
and their parents’ legacy fit into their lives. It’s a contemporary epic family 
series set in the wilds of northern Minnesota with romance, suspense,and lots of great family drama

4. What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main character Eden Christiansen
Eden Christiansen came from a number of places. Watching the siblings of movie stars 
and athletes, watching my own daughter cheer her athlete brothers, 
even watching my friends, parents who feel on the side lines of their children’s lives
maybe even a little left behind as they leave for college. I began to wonder 
what if you had an amazing sibling, and your entire family focused on his or 
her successes, and you felt left behind, void of your own amazingness? This is Eden
who feels like she hasn’t accomplished anything and is sitting on the sidelines of her life. 
She feels like she needs to “get into the game” but doesn’t know how or where to start. 
And she feels like she really has nothing spectacular to offerBut God has different plans.

I wanted Jace to have the opposite problem from Edenhe is only good
at one thing. In fact, he’s spectacular at it, but he believes if he walks away
from it, he will be nothing. So same problem, different perspective. It
gave me a good opportunity as an author to examine our “worth.”
Of course, adding the John Doe element only rounded that theme out with
yet another perspective. I loved how these three angles came together.

5.Did you base the character of Jace Jacobsen on anyone in particular?
Jace was loosely modeled after famed Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard, 
who died, in part, due to the many concussions he suffered as a hockey player. 
The problem of concussions with today’s athletes, especially in hockey and footballcan be life-
threatening for athletes, and although hockey (and football!) is played much differently today, 
it’s still an issue.

What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
I think we all need to see our worth not in relationship to our external
successes but in how we work out the task God has for us. How we love
one another, how we use our gifts and talents. How we abide with God in
our daily lives. Hopefully readers will begin seeing their worth in a new way.

How do you expect this new series to resonate with your audience?
How do you want your books to make them feel?

I am hoping readers walk away from this bookand this serieswith hope.
The sense that they belong to somethingto God, to family
and the feeling that our lives are not chaotic or out of control, but that
God has unique and amazing journey for each of us, and it’s lived out with
in our relationships.I want them to feel as if they’d found a new set of friends.
Have you received any feedback from your fans on this series? What are they
People fell immediately in love with Darek and his sweet son, Tiger, in
Take a Chance on Me, and I think readers will really enjoy Jace and Eden’s
romance in this story. I’m thankful that people enjoy the work I put into
developing my characteranthe romance, and I have loved diving into
these multilayered stories about people with realistic, everyday struggles.
As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I loved writing about Minnesota in the winter. And I loved the story of John
Doe and uncovering who he might be. (I plotted it like a mystery, so it was
fun to revisit my mystery-plotting techniques). I especially loved the layers of
Jace, the hero, and how, with every turn, he became more intriguing.
What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?
Try to up your writing game with each book, and just keep writing.
Not every story appeals to every reader, but I try to write a story I would
enjoyand then hopefully my readers will also.
In your writing career, what are you most proud of?
I think I’ve stayed true to who I am and the kind of story I’m
supposed to be writing. I’m very blessed by my reader friends and
their constant encouragement. I am very blessed to spend my days
with the Christiansen family!

No comments:

Post a Comment