Today, we are blessed to welcome Alicia Ruggieri! She is an author friend of mine. Enjoy her fun interview and be sure to add her newest release to your Goodread shelves!
Drum roll please!
July 21-25, 2016 – The Fragrance of Geraniums (Book 1) – FREE on Kindle!
July 22-28, 2016 – All Our Empty Places (Book 2) - $1.99 on Kindle!
I hope y'all are as excited about this blog tour and giveaway as I am!
Hardened Ben Picoletti thought he’d turned his back on Depression-era Rhode Island years ago. Nothing remains there for him, except for haunting memories of an abusive childhood. Yet when a criminal accusation shatters his ambitions, Ben has nowhere to flee but back to his stepfather’s home.
There, he finds that redemption yet waits for him… but the sacrifice required to attain it may exceed the limits of his family’s hearts.
Meanwhile, his musical sister Grace continues her studies in New York. She longs to hear a word of affection from her high-school beau… yet only Paulie’s silence greets her. Grace must decide whether she wants to live in the past or move into an unknown future with unexpected love.
Lyrical and sensitive to the aching heart, A Love to Come Home To affirms that God delights in being a stronghold in times of trouble; that He renews His mercy every morning; and that He will work every bitter thing together for the good of His children.
Enjoy my interview with Alicia!
1. How old were you when you first started writing?
I’ve been writing for fun since I was a young child and kept on writing fiction through middle school. In high school and college, God blessed me with the opportunity to direct a children’s theatre group, and writing some of the plays for that group really helped to develop my sense of storytelling.
However, it wasn’t until one of my sisters encouraged me to flesh out and finish a story that had been lingering on a floppy disk (yes, that long ago!) for nearly a decade that I began to pursue publication more strongly. God has been gracious to me, and A Love to Come Home To is my sixth published book.
2. What most inspires you to write?
To be honest, I get some of my best story ideas from sermons! I think that’s partially because I’m a theme-driven writer, in general. Much of the time, my characters sprout from a certain idea or truth that has struck me hard. In A Love to Come Home To, the actions of the male characters – Ben, Sam, and Paulie – all come together to illustrate the truth that God’s father-love for us will go to any length, at any cost, to bring us back to Himself.
3. You tend to deal with hard topics, which I appreciate. You do so in a manner that gets to the heart of the issues, but is still within the boundaries of discretion. How did you come to this approach and how do you determine where your boundaries are?
From the time that I began to work at my writing in a more serious way, I felt it impressed on my heart that God wanted to use me to exhort (or encourage) others through my storytelling to walk in the truth and to have real hope in the midst of what is a sin-saturated world. The way that I can do that is by acknowledging that the lies and the hopelessness exist – not by ignoring them – and then I can point toward the one who sets us free. Unfortunately, as Christians, I think sometimes we erroneously believe that God wants us to ignore the sin and suffering around us as a way to keep our hearts at peace… but this is not true.
If we look at the way that Jesus ministered to people, we see that He is absolutely holy, completely sinless, and yet He had no problem with talking about and dealing with the specific sins that would be laid upon Him at the cross (see, for example, His conversation with the Samaritan woman, the adulteress, Zaccheus, etc.). It’s only by facing these things, recognizing how hard and ugly they are, how incapable we are of fixing them or ourselves, that we each can find grace in Him – both at the moment of our salvation and in our walk with Him. Showing that redemption – that transition from darkness to light – honors God.
I don’t have specific boundary lines, but as I write each day, I commit my work to the Lord, asking Him to write through me – that He would use my fingers as I type, my mind as I plan and think, that He would direct the path of the story. And as I work, I try by His grace to listen to His Holy Spirit, prodding me away or toward a certain way of depicting a difficult, more “gritty” part of the story. I never want to titillate intentionally; I don’t want to glorify or roll around in the sinful actions of any character. But I do want to show the darkness just enough to point to the light, to the One Who is the Light.
4. Chocolate or vanilla?
May I have peanut butter? Haha! Just kidding. Chocolate – the darker, the better!
5. What is your heart's cry for your readers?
That they would draw near to the Father-heart of God through His Son Jesus Christ. I include Christians in this as well as those readers who might not know the Lord Jesus in a personal way, because – let’s face it – once you become a Christian, your troubles don’t just melt away. Usually, they become more intense, but they just might come from a different source! So, my desire is to help each of us to see, over and over again, that the answer to every single one of our problems and difficulties and sins lies in Jesus Christ, who is the Answer and the Redeemer, our Sufficiency, the One Who heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He is the One Who will bear our burden with us, Who is the Shield of our salvation, whose gentleness makes us great (Psalm 18:35).
6. Mountains or beach?
The beach if we’re talking about the ocean! Jk. But there’s also nothing quite like the “mountains, high-soaring above.”
7. Are any of your characters based on real people?
I think, like a lot of writers, I have to answer, “yes and no.” I’ve never written any character who IS a real person, just with a different name. But many of my characters have been inspired by traits in real-life people that I know or have known.
8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee is necessary for life and godliness! Just kidding – not really, though! I consume embarrassing amounts of coffee, both hot and iced. Having said that, in the winter, especially, I will also drink large mugs of peppermint tea while I write.
Alicia G. Ruggieri writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction, including the A Time of Grace Trilogy. She’s a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she studied Communications and History, and her adventures include children’s theatre direction, restaurant management, and small business ownership. Alicia and her husband live in coastal New England, where she may be found drinking far too much coffee and penning stories with her emotionally-disturbed second-hand pug by her side.
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/aliciagruggieriAmazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/aliciagruggieri