Today we’d like to welcome author, Shellie Arnold, to the blog. Her latest book in The Barn Church series, Abide With Me, is a great Southern fiction read. But I’ll let her tell you a little more about herself and her book..
Glad you could join us, Shellie. Do you have any interesting writing rituals?
Shellie: For many years I struggled to write anywhere except at home in my office, when my family was gone. I think my “mommy” brain simply wouldn’t let me concentrate except under those conditions. Then I trained myself to use music as a device to create my writing “environment.” Now, I have a sort of Pavlovian reflex to a few different soundtracks—not kidding. A couple of worship albums, the soundtrack from the movie Solaris, and Islands: Essential Einaudi CD by Ludovico Einaudi. (I love Einaudi’s piano music) With my earbuds in, I can write almost anywhere. 🙂 I always start with worship music to get my heart and mind and spirit in the right place, then usually switch after about twenty minutes.
What are your books about?
Shellie: I write and speak about marriage issues. My passion is sharing everything I’ve learned the hard way about marriage. I want to support and give hope to marriages. My novels are about the “perfect storms” in marriage: what happens when my weaknesses hit yours head-on, and we’re both left wondering if anything can be salvaged.
Abide With Me is the third novel in my Barn Church series. Books one and two are: The Spindle Chair and Sticks and Stones. For this series, I created a fictional town in southern Alabama. In this small town is a church that’s a renovated barn. Each book in the series looks at a different marriage within that church body. I focus on one problem that can be present in a marriage—always an issue I’ve encountered or am still facing—and go deep into why the couple is where they are, and what God is trying to do in them and in their marriage.
Abide With Me is the story of Angelina and Nicholas Rousseau. They’ve been married ten years, they’re both believers, and their marriage is a disaster. Using both points of view, I look at what brought them to this place of unhappiness and discontentment.
What is your favorite part of the book?
Shellie: That’s a tough question! My favorite part of this book…well, without giving away the storyline, I think I have two favorite parts. The first would be the opening scene when Angelina attends a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas. Her heart and emotions have been so suppressed, so controlled, she’s unable to handle so much “happy” around her, even though she’s happy for her friend, the bride. Angie even stuns herself with her reaction, and I really like that image—the idea a wife’s yearnings are such a powerful force.
My second (and equally) favorite part would be when Nicholas is in jail, waiting in an interview room to speak again with his attorney, and he’s just seen Angelina for the first time in months. I take him to a really low place. He “hits bottom,” if you will, which is sometimes what it takes to get our attention, isn’t it? I really enjoyed writing how he begins to see not only the condition of his marriage, but what he contributed to its dysfunction.
Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?
Shellie: Yes! Honestly, I thought this book would be first in the series, but God had other ideas. Abide With Me is the message of my heart, the message I wish I could say to every marriage. That every time we say no to God, we’re saying no to our mate and our marriage. That’s a tough truth. One God has been teaching me for almost thirty-two years now. But I think it’s the bottom line, the litmus test for every action and decision in marriage: Is my behavior righteous? Am I doing what God wants me to do?
In our everyday lives, I think it’s easy to overlook our mate, or demand our own way, to withhold forgiveness, to hold a grudge—even without realizing. I wanted to highlight how easy that is to do, and what the consequences would ultimately be for two people who were extremely in love when they married, but ten years later have almost nothing to show for their marriage. I also wanted to show how God can redeem that marriage, or any marriage. I truly believe God can redeem, heal, and restore anything—I’m living proof of that. I believe any marriage can thrive when both parties listen to God.
Where can readers find you online?
Shellie: My web site: www.shelliearnold.com (find my blog, FREE e-cards gallery, sign up for my newsletter, view my events page, and learn of new products and teachings soon to be available on DVD)
Link to purchase on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/yad6j9ak
After ten years of marriage to the only man she’s ever loved, why is Angelina so unhappy?
Angelina Rousseau pours all her emotions into her paintings. When she meets a handsome stranger at a friend’s wedding in Las Vegas, she believes she’s discovered why she’s so lonely—she simply married the wrong man.
Nicholas Rousseau is a highly successful industrial engineer and has the Midas touch with his investments. Only in his marriage is he a failure.
When Nick is arrested for real estate fraud, Angelina is as uncertain of his innocence as she is certain she should end their marriage. But the authorities believe Angelina is as guilty as Nick. To protect her own future, she must return to the opulent home she abandoned and sell her cherished possessions to finance Nick’s defense. Nick desires to reconnect with his estranged wife, but examining their emotionally bankrupt marriage proves more difficult than he imagined. And, even if they discover what went wrong between them, Nick could still spend the rest of his life in prison.
Could “having it all” cost Nick and Angie more than they ever imagined?
Shellie Arnold is a writer and speaker on marriage and family. She truly believes—despite baggage, neglect, or mistakes—if a husband and wife listen to God, they can live happily even after. Her passion is sharing how God is helping her do exactly that. She maintains a blog at www.shelliearnold.com and is the founder of YOUR MARRIAGE resources. Shellie is a mother of three and has home schooled for over twenty years. She lives in Ohio with her husband of thirty-one years.