One of the things I most enjoy as an author is encouraging new contemporary Christian romance authors and introducing them to potential new readers! As such, may I introduce you to author Jessica Alyse! Jessica is giving away one ebook copy of her wonderful debut novella, The Trust Charm, to one reader/visitor to Inspy Romance, so be sure and welcome lovely Jessica and leave a comment to be eligible! Don’t want to wait? Here’s the Amazon link to buy it now!
Jessica Alyse was born a dreamer. She used to tell stories about a bicycle that traveled to the moon and back. Her imagination has always soared beyond the expectations of reality and has brought her to a career in creative fiction. A storyteller, hopeless romantic, and follower of Christ, she encompasses the appropriate traits to create romantic Christian fiction, embellishing every story with southern charm and wholesome love. Her dreams of becoming a professional screenwriter dance through her head each time she sits down to tie together characters and plot.
A Louisiana girl with a heart for Texas, when she’s not writing–or reading the latest thing from Karen Witemeyer–you can find her working on the family farm with her black lab, Axel, practicing for her would-be singing career, or in the event of a football game, cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
Now, here’s the book blurb for Jessica’s book:
After losing her brother-in-law in a fire, Avery Sanders makes a vow to never put her heart on the line for a man with a dangerous career. And then Liam Reed walks into her life and everything is suddenly beautiful in ways she’d never imagined.
When Liam meets Avery at the youth center where he volunteers, the attraction is instant. But then he learns that she won’t date guys with a dangerous profession. So he keeps his career as a cop secret until the time is right. When Avery discovers what he’s been hiding, will she trust God with their future? Or will she let it all slip away when tragedy strikes?
I asked Jessica a few questions (and be sure and read the poignant excerpt below!).
ME: Welcome to Inspy Romance, Jessica!
JESSICA: I’d like to thank Inspy Romance for having me. It’s a privilege to be here!
ME: What ONE quality do you most admire in your heroine, Avery? What about your hero, Liam? Can you give an example of how that quality is revealed/demonstrated in each of them in The Trust Charm?
JESSICA: In Avery, I very much appreciate her independence – although it isn’t always the best thing for her. She’s her own person, witty, and strong-willed. She doesn’t mind standing out and being different from everyone around her. You can see this in the way she’s a little bit of a realist and she gets straight to the point. The entire conflict of the book is that she refuses to date men whose careers are dangerous and she’s more than willing to stand up for that belief in ways that make sense in her own mind. But then again she learns that it isn’t practical to sometimes be so strong and independent that it shuts other people out.
For Liam, his passion won me over. He loves his job, he loves helping and protecting people, and he wants to be a cop more than anything else in the world. And then he meets Avery and he discovers a new love in his life, and although he loves being a cop, he admits that he would be willing to give it up for her because he’s found a new passion.
ME: Liam is in law enforcement, and that is a huge conflict for Avery. Have you known and/or been related to someone in a dangerous line of work? If so, is that what prompted you to write their story? If not, how did you come up with the story line for The Trust Charm?
JESSICA: I do have relatives that work in and around law enforcement, but honestly the idea for The Trust Charm stemmed from my own fears and desires. It’s no secret that I’m a dreamer and a hopeless romantic, so growing up I would dream about my future husband, what he would be like, where he would live, what his career would be, and it crossed my mind that he could potentially be a soldier or a cop or a firefighter. And with those jobs come risks and sacrifices. As a teenager it worried me that I could potentially marry a man that would be willing to lay down his life because it’s his duty. Then Jesus taught me over time that it’s not my job to worry, it’s my job to trust. That’s where my idea for The Trust Charm was born. I knew I wanted to write a character whose fears mirrored my own and I knew how it would end, too, because Jesus had already put an end to my own fears. That idea was born in 2011, right around the same time Aaron Shust released his single “My Hope is in You,” and from the first moment I heard that song I knew I wanted it to be the theme song for this novella.
ME: What is the overriding theme in The Trust Charm and what scripture verse(s) is/are the most applicable as a “take away” for readers?
JESSICA: The theme revolves around a choice to trust; trust in God or trust in our own ways. Avery wears a bracelet that has a charm on it that says trust that she touches when she’s feeling stressed or overwhelmed and she only does it because the charm itself has a certain texture on it that is appealing to her fingers. This is symbolic to the theme. There are also subtle subplots that circle back to the theme. Dorinda, a minor character, has issues with trusting herself to raise her grandson after she has to face her own failures as a mother. Liam’s partner, Austin, has a problem with trusting religion, specifically the reality of God, due to a tragic backstory that is revealed in the sequel called The Road to Austin which will be available in 2016.
The one scripture that really stood out to me when it came to The Trust Charm was Isaiah 43:2. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when though walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” This is such a perfect representation, not only for Avery’s story, but for the problems we encounter on a daily basis. It seems like – even as Christians – we feel we’re drowning more often than not, like the waters have overtaken us and we’re doomed. But this scripture clearly tells us that no matter what, God is going to be there to carry us through, to keep our heads above the water even when things seem dark. Isn’t that such a beautiful promise?
ME: It is indeed a beautiful promise (and I absolutely adore Dorinda in your story). I’ll definitely look forward to Austin’s story next year. What are three different or unique things about you (that you’re willing to reveal to readers)?
JESSICA: Oh, boy. These kinds of questions make me nervous. One, I’m passionate about pro football – which isn’t that unique because there are a lot of twenty-something year old women who love their football, but it’s a big part of who I am. The unique part is that I’m a Green Bay Packers girl living in Louisiana. Two, I put mayo on my salad. Or sour cream. I’m not a big fan of salad dressings. That’s unique, right? Three, I’m saving my first kiss for my wedding day. There are a lot of women and girls out there that are saving their first kiss for their husband, but society and the media plays it down, makes it seem less important or uncool. This is something that God put on my heart when I was a teenager, and at the time I thought I was the only girl on earth who choose to do this which made me think I was crazy. But as I got older I realized that I wasn’t the only one. It’s a choice that I’ve struggled with, but haven’t regretted. I can’t wait to see the look on my future husband’s face when I tell him that he was worth the wait.
ME: Tell us about the next book in your series and/or what you’re working on now.
JESSICA: This is my favorite question because I’m super excited about my work in progress. It’s called The Road to Austin and it’s a sequel to The Trust Charm. It focuses on Austin Brooks, who was a minor character, and his journey across the country with a woman who can’t stand him. Both characters find a way to appreciate the other through all of the quirky troubles they overcome like dealing with graffiti vandals, getting left at a gas station, and adopting a dog that stays with them for three states. It’s going to be a romantic drama with a good bit of comedy. Readers can sign up for my newsletter at http://www.jessalyse.com/ for announcements about the release date.
Finally, here’s that promised wonderful excerpt from The Trust Charm:
The doors at the end of the hall clicked as someone came through them.
When Avery looked up, she stopped dead in her tracks. The announcement slid from her fingers and flittered to the floor. “Liam?”
Liam slowly came to a stop, eyes wide, mouth slack. Somehow he looked taller. Broader. Stronger.
He wore a police uniform.
“I can explain,” he said.
She prayed he was joking. Mocking her. Anything.
But she’d seen the other officer outside with the car.
“I can’t believe you…” She couldn’t breathe. The air whooshed out of her. This wasn’t happening.
“Avery, let me explain.”
Her stomach turned upside down. She wanted to run, but her legs were weak. Her chest ached deep down around her heart. Memories from every minute she’d spent with Liam forced themselves to the front of her thoughts and choked her. Every second she thought she knew who he was. “You lied to me.”
He closed the distance between them. Each step fell in line with the drum of her heartbeats. “I never told you I wasn’t a cop. I just didn’t tell you that I was.”
“It’s still a lie.” Her eyes stung. Her heart stung. His deception burned her to the core.
“I should have told you.”
A nervous laugh croaked from her suddenly dry lips. “But you couldn’t find the time?”
“I wanted to tell you—I tried to tell you. Many times. But it seemed like every time I tried, something would come up.”
“Something more important than telling me who you really are?” She turned to leave, her hands shaking.
He caught up with her quick and grabbed her arm.
“You knew.” She pulled away from him. “I told you I don’t date cops. You knew that. You knew why I couldn’t date someone like—”
“I wanted to tell you the truth.”
His radio came on and a voice rattled something off. She watched him as he listened intently, his shoulders straight, his eyebrows low. His focus scanned over her face but didn’t really look at her.
“Officer down,” the dispatcher said.
Avery’s blood ran cold. Her heart tore at her chest.
Liam was stunningly calm. “I’ve got to go. Can I call you later?”
He didn’t let another second pass before he was gone. The air around her seemed charged, but dull at the same time. Like the calm before the storm.
Blessings, Friends! Until Next Time,