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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Q & A with Francine Rivers Author of The Lady’s Mine

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New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers has published numerous novels—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both  industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels  have been awarded or nominated for many honors, and in 1997, after  winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. In 2015, she  received the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction  Writers (ACFW). Francine’s novels have been translated into over thirty different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign countries. She and  her husband, Rick, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

1. You refer to The Lady’s Mine as your “COVID story.” Can you please explain? 

What does a writer do when she is sheltering in place? Write. And write. And write some  more! Sometimes it is so much more fun to live in a created world than the real one, and  during the first and numerous succeeding shutdowns, that was what I did. Other than work  in the vineyard and garden, I immersed myself in a fictional world. By the time I finished  the manuscript, it was 194,000 words! It needed major cutting. But as I was still sheltering  in place out here in California, the job of cutting turned out to be almost as much fun as the  writing process. 

2. What motivated you to return to the California frontier? What about this setting  intrigues you? 

I’m a native Californian, and I’ve always loved our state history, especially the gold and  silver rush periods. Redeeming Love takes place from 1849 to 1851. The Lady’s Mine jumps forward to the 1870s silver rush. Men from around the world and all walks of life  poured into the state, hoping to strike it rich. A few women came—some by wagon train,  some by ship, some willing, and some not. It was a time of high drama, boom and bust. I  think that’s what appeals to me most—the dreams that brought people, the grueling hard  work that awaited them, the myriad stories of success and failure. 

3. You have said that your stories often start with a question. What question  prompted this story? 

There were several questions. How does a person cope with being cast out of a family? Do we determine the course of our lives, or is there a plan already in place? Can one  person change the character of a town? How can we offer a hand up rather than a handout  to those in desperate need? 

4. What themes in this story, set in the 1870s, have particular relevance today?

One of the themes is the oft-unfair treatment of workers. During the silver rush, it was  common to have a mine owner rolling in wealth while holding workers in debt bondage.  This is a common practice these days in human trafficking. We have laws now to protect  workers, but without naming anyone, news stories abound of how one man at the top can  rake in billions while paying workers minimum wage with few benefits. The nice side of  fiction is to suggest other possibilities in how to conduct a business. 

5. Your novels look deeply into characters’ motivations and emotions. What do you  hope readers will learn from delving into the inner thoughts of the characters in The  Lady’s Mine

Don’t let the unfairness of life embitter you. Strive to do good no matter what others around  you are doing. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Stand up and find practical  ways to help the less fortunate. A handout is good for a day. A hand up can change a life  forever. Speak truth no matter the cost. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh. Enjoy life. Don’t hold too tightly to your own opinion. Listen and learn from others. And above all, live  to please the Lord. 

6. In talking about this book, you reference the apostle James, who said, “Pure and  genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and  widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” What is one  practical way we can work toward not letting the world corrupt us?  

This will sound like a simple answer, but the best place to find out what and how to do  something is through reading the Bible. It’s also the best place to learn what not to do. Lately, I’ve been writing out a few verses a day from a book of the Bible. Romans. It will  take weeks to do it, but it is already helping me concentrate and think about what God is  saying, the instructions He is giving. This isn’t something I’ve always done, but now find  invaluable. Writing longhand slows me down and helps me concentrate on each word,  phrase, and sentence. When we’re focused on the Lord, He shows us practical ways to  live in this fallen world without becoming part of it. 

7. What character in this story did you most enjoy crafting? Why? 

Kathryn Walsh! She has strong faith, seeks the Lord, and does what she believes is right. She isn’t a quiet little lady in the pew. She’s fiery, opinionated, earnest, and determined to  make the town she lives in better (whether men agree or not). When she realizes she’s  wrong about something, she changes her mind. When she’s right, she plows ahead no  matter the cost. She looks for ways to help people rise from poverty. Though she has few  resources herself, she shares what she does have. She doesn’t judge anyone (except  Matthias Beck!), though she is frequently judged by others (Beck being one). And she has  a sense of humor. Frankly, I enjoyed getting to know her during the COVID shelter in place  orders. And, of course, Matthias Beck also had his fascinating character traits.

8. Did this story develop in any surprising ways?  

Kathryn’s business management scheme came as something of a surprise. So did the  next venture that leads to the real change in Calvada. But I can’t explain all that without  giving the story away. 

9. Working on this story during the COVID lockdown, you said that one of your  goals was to address serious issues with humor and grace. You commented, “Life  had become too somber to add heaviness to it. We all need to laugh, even when  days are dark—maybe even more so during those times. And we all want changes  for the better and a happy ending.” How did this project accomplish these goals? 

Writing as much as I did helped me pass the time while sheltering in place. In some ways,  my life didn’t change. As a writer, I spend most of my life at home working. I was able to  get through the frustration of the ever-changing rules and opinions by creating characters,  scenes, and dialogue. There are so many situations in life that challenge us to trust God. It  is so true there is nothing new under the sun. The “new normal” isn’t all that different from  trials we’ve faced before. We all have a choice. Grumble and growl over the way things  are. Or look for the good and the humorous aspects of life. I choose the latter. 

10. What do you hope your readers come to know about God through this story? 

Broken relationships don’t have to mean broken lives. Let (agape) love be the motivation  for what you do and how you live. God can mold the most unlikely people into wise and  gifted leaders. One person can change the course of a community. The Lord can make  beauty from ashes. 

The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers 

ISBN 978-1-4964-4757-9 | Hardcover $27.99 | February 8, 2022

Preorder today: Amazon (aff link)


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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

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