10 October 2011

Interview with Liz Curtis Higgs



Liz Curtis Higgs is the New York Times best-selling author of Mine Is the Night, along with five other Scottish historical novels: Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Whence Came a Prince, Grace in Thine Eyes, and Here Burns My Candle.

I met Liz Curtis Higgs through ACFW and HisWriters (those who have either published or planned works with European characters. ) And I was so pleased to have met her in person at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis recently.  And I even have proof!!!  Thanks to Laura Frantz!  


Liz Curtis Higgs, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. 

Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

In my fourth historical novel, Grace in Thine Eyes, set in Scotland 1808, Davina McKie is based on Dinah from Genesis 34. When I did the biblical research before plotting my novel—a detailed process involving fourteen translations of Scripture and forty commentaries—I realized that Dinah has no spoken words recorded in Genesis, nor do we see or hear the story from her viewpoint. So, by God’s leading, I took a leap of faith and made my heroine mute: Davina’s literal silence through laryngeal trauma echoes the figurative silence of her biblical counterpart.


This meant finding other ways for her to communicate. Over the years Davina created her own language, using her hands and facial expressions. She also wrote in the margins of a sketchbook that was seldom out of reach, and played her grandfather’s fiddle, revealing the depth of her emotions through music.

Alas, her disability hinders her from crying out for help when disaster strikes, as we read in Genesis 34:2: “And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.” The stark succession of Hebrew verbs paints a clear picture of the tragic scene. Unfortunately, I had a similar experience when I was sixteen and so had a deep well of emotions to draw from. Painful as it was to write those scenes, it was also very healing to trace Davina’s difficult journey from heartache to forgiveness to peace. I also created a Bible Study Guide for Grace in Thine Eyes to help readers grasp the power of the biblical story: http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/Fiction/graceguides/bguide.htm

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
It’s very hard to pick just one! Though I love Romans 5:8, Psalm 16:11, and 1 Timothy 1:15-16, the first verse I memorized when I embraced the grace of God is still very dear to my heart: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It beautifully describes the transformation that occurs when God, who created us in his image, recreates us, as 2 Corinthians 3:18 describes: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” An amazing, encouraging truth!


Disability friendliness:
These books are available in audiobook format: Here Burns My Candle, Mine Is the Night, Thorn in my Heart
Ebook format: Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Whence Came a Prince, Grace in Thine Eyes, Here Burns My Candle, Mine Is the Night
Large print: Thorn in My Heart, Here Burns My Candle, Mine Is the Night
(Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Your question includes my one-word answer: hope! Whatever they’re going through, I want my readers to know God created them, God believes in them, God has plans for them, and God loves them. Above all I pray his message of loving-kindness, mercy, and forgiveness will shine through my stories. Grace is his gift to us, meant to be shared.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
My first historical, Thorn in My Heart, and the series that followed came into being because of this brief passage of Scripture and all that it encompassed: “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved...” (Genesis 29:31). The first time I read those words, tears welled in my eyes. What must it have been like, I wondered, for Leah to love her husband, Jacob, knowing he loved her sister, Rachel, instead? That simple question took three novels to answer!

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night are a two-book saga inspired by the biblical story of Ruth. The name of Ruth’s first husband, Mahlon, means “weakness” and “infertility.” Though I could have made his Scottish counterpart, Lord Donald Kerr, physically weak, I thought it would serve the story better to make him morally weak. His chronic unfaithfulness to his wife stands in complete contrast to Elisabeth Kerr’s constant faithfulness to him and to her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr.

Once again, my heroine’s journey toward forgiveness invites readers to examine their own relationships. I heard from many readers who’ve struggled with adulterous husbands and had to seek God’s strength again and again. As I ask in the Readers Guide at the end of Here Burns My Candle, “If you were in Elisabeth’s place, faced with a loved one’s request to ‘Forgive me…for all of it,’ how might you respond?” Christian fiction does more than let us climb inside the lives of imaginary people; it also helps us examine our own hearts, shining a light in the darker corners, so God’s healing grace can sweep away the debris and make us whole.

Thank you Liz Curtis Higgs for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!

Oh, it’s my JOY to do so! Should you care to include this, I love to keep in touch with readers. Here’s how:

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/lizcurtishiggs
Free e-newsletter, Encouragement to Go! http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/tlh/nlform.htm



Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Liz’s books (your choice). 

44 comments:

  1. I am here on recommendation by Laura, because not having read your books before Liz, apparently I am missing dessert! And I'd like some dessert :) Particularly set in Scotland - I like European settings. Sounds like your books have a lot of emotional punch. Would love a chance to win one :)

    Thanks Carrie for another great interview!

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  2. I've never read a novel by Liz Curtis Higgs, but now after reading this interview, I'm most intrigued. I appreciated stories that include a piece of the authors heart.

    Penny
    pbmorrell@shaw.ca

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  3. Liz, what a lovely interview. I've read nearly all your novels and have a special place in my heart for all things Scottish. Can't wait to get a glimpse of what you are working on next. And I agree, that phrase about Leah from Scripture is both compelling and heartbreaking, and yet it's also comforting. Because God SAW that Leah wasn't loved, and He cared.

    Thanks for the interview Carrie.

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  4. A wonderfully touching interview, Liz, and Carrie. I read the series that stemmed from Thorn in My Heart, and if anyone hasn't read it, they are missing out on a real treat. Thorn in My Heart was very heartrending, as is Leah's story in the Bible, but Jacob and Rachel's had to be as well. Imagine working seven years to be able to marry the person you love and are deceived into marrying her sister, and have to work for seven more years! Now that's love for you!

    Thank you, Liz, for the great interview and for sharing your heart with us. We are so honored and blessed to have you with us this week on OTT.

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  5. Helen and Penny, I had heard so much "buzz" around American Christian Fiction Writers since I joined (four years ago) that I almost did not read any of Liz's books because I am that contrary. True confession! When I saw Mine Is the Night on audible.com, though, I could not resist. Now I am hooked! She has is all - story, characterization, voice plus voice (her own narration!) then add to that life experience where you know she really understands what her characters are going to, and well... That is what all the buzz is about!!!

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  6. oops, I meant to say what her characters are going through, e.g., she "gets" how mothers relate to their adult children.

    Miss Diana, yes, isn't it nice to have Liz's interview up and she did an awesome job on this! I am very appreciative of the work Liz put into responding to the questions.

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  7. Oh, this interview really touches me in so many ways. I think when we write out of our own experience, like Liz did with Davina, it becomes so very powerful and healing for us as well as readers like she says. Bless you for such a transparent interview!

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  8. Since I've yet to read a book by Liz, I would love to have the chance here to win one of her books. The aspect of forgiveness and reviewing your own relationships is challenging.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  9. I read Whence Came a Prince not knowing it was part of a series :) That book blew me away! I'm looking forward to this new one, very much. Thanks for a such a transparent interview. God is good ALL the time and gives us just what we need each day and I needed to hear this today, "Grace is his gift to us, meant to be shared." Thank you, Liz, for your precious words!

    homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

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  10. I have never read any of her books yet, but I have heard of her and seen her books in stores. I will have to read one at some point. Thanks for the great interview.

    jen.whitney08[at]gmail[dot]com

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  11. Lovely interview!!!

    Liz is an amazing writer!

    Please enter me in the drawing.
    amandabarratt33@gmail.com

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  12. I adore Liz and pretty much any woman who is honest with readers about who she is and what she struggles with. Liz was my favorite speaker (at ACFW) of all the ACFW conferences that I'd attended - with Francine just a hair below her on the rating scale. I am a little behind in my reading, but if I had to choose I think the only book I either don't have or haven't already read that Liz has written is Mine is the Night. Love, love, love Liz!

    joyfulhutch[at]msn[dot]com

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  13. Oh, my sisters, what precious words of encouragement! To all who've read my fiction, BLESS YOU! xox Lots more to come, including a Scottish Christmas novella releasing in October 2012. For those who've not read my novels, I hope you'll consider starting with Thorn in My Heart, my first historical, eight years in the making. Carrie, can't thank you ENOUGH for including me on your blog. You're the BEST!

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  14. Wow, what an incredible interview! And how brave of Liz to write about such a painful time in her own life. I've only read two of her books--Mixed Signals and Bookends--but loved both of them so so much. I don't know what's taken me so long to get around to one of her historicals!

    Would like to be entered for a copy of Mine is the Night. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

    Christy
    southernsassythings at gmail dot com

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  15. Hello Liz,
    I would like to thank you for the work you do for the Lord. In all your books and dvd's,cd's they have touch me and my husband, when I feel down all I have to do is put in one of your dvds.
    thank you. Brenda Thurman

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  16. Let me go on record as saying Liz is flat-out one of my favorite authors EVER, and her Scottish series is my favorite series of all time.

    LOVE the inspiration for it from Genesis, Liz, and LOVE you!!

    Helen!!! You MUST read Liz Curtis Higgs!!!

    Great interview, Carrie. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. Christy, Mine Is the Night was an awesome book and I have a review going up on Friday. Laura Frantz also does a brief review this Wednesday of both books in the current series.

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  18. Thank you for all the comments about the interview but Liz did all the work! I ask the questions, but the authors have to do all the answering. God has used so many writer's difficulties to help others overcome similar problems through reading about His ability to transform us.

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  19. oh, i would love to read on of liz's fabulous novels...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  20. I've not read any of Liz's novels. By just reading about them makes me wonder how anyone could pick which one to choose. I think I've just found my next author to add to my favorite author list! Can't wait to read all of them.
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  21. Hi Karen! She narrated both of these last two books! I just started listening to another narrator for Thorn in My Heart and while the woman has a great Scottish accent, I have now been spoiled by listening to Liz's narration! Such rich stories they invite the reader to re-read to get all the beautiful layers!

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  22. Pamela J, you don't want to miss Liz's books!

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  23. I will try this again - having problems posting - I have read some of Liz's books a few years ago, but none of her fiction series. I have always found her to be candidly open and willing to share her trials and how she dealt with them. She has been an encouragement to me! I would love a copy of her book Thorn In My Heart and work up from there. I thank you Carrie and Liz for a good interview and for sharing and thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of one of Liz's books.

    Blessings,
    Lori
    triplel(at)evertek(dot)net

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  24. I have to leave a post! I met Liz at conference and have proof too, Carrie. LOL. I got hooked on Liz's series when I read "Whence Came a Prince". Couldn't wait to read "Fair is the Rose" then "Thorn in My Heart" and had to wait for "Grace in Thine Eyes" to come out. Did the snoopy dance when it did. I LOVED these books and have them in my library. BTW The cover of Whence Came a Prince is why I bought the first book. My daughter read this series and is hooked now, too. One of the best authors out there IMO

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  25. Debbie Lynne, send me your "proof" and I will put it up in my review for Friday! And if you did a review of any of those books, would you send it to me and I will post that this week. It is, after all, LIZ CURTIS HIGGS WEEK on Overcoming Through Time!!!

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  26. Lori, so sorry Blogger is giving you and others fits! Thanks for your persistence, which is a virtue!

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  27. Liz Curtis Higgs is not only an amazing woman and author, but also one of the greatest speakers I have ever heard. She is such an intelligent orator; articulate, sensitive to the Holy Spirit, thoughtful and hilariously funny. I love her to bits and would encourage you to hear and see her if at all possible. She visited us in South Africa at our annual Beauty for Ashes conference and I really hope I will get the opportunity to see her again someday.

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  28. Thank you to Laura Frantz for sending me this way! Loved the interview, and a chance to get to know Liz and her books a little better. I have yet to read one, but I'm certainly looking forward to it. As Laura puts it, "I'm missing dessert," and we can't have that, now can we? ;-)

    Thank you for entering me in the contest!

    Michelle
    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

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  29. I loved the series on Leah/Jacob/Rachel spinoff, just saw that their is a new series, more books on my wishlist! :)

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  30. Can I blame blogger for my bad grammar? :( *there

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  31. Wow, Marilyn, Liz came all the way to South Africa? That is amazing! And to think I was whining about leaving my hubby and boy behind in Virginia when I went to St. Louis!!!

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  32. Michelle, yes, like a fabulous one-of-a-kind dessert!

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  33. Melissa, so good to see you here, my Cassandra look-alike! Great meeting you at conference!

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  34. Great interview. Love reading Liz's books - all the way back to "Book Ends" and "Mixed Signals".

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  35. Oh, how I love her books...have read most of them and am very anxious to read Mine Is
    The Night...please enter me for it. Thanks!!!
    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

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  36. Fabulous review. I LOVE Scottish novels since my maiden name is MacLeod LOL. I have not read any of these ones but you can bet that I'm on my way to kindle right now!

    Wyndy Callahan
    wyndyc at gmail dot com
    http://wynsbooks.blogspot.com

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  37. I love her contemporary novels Mixed Signals and Bookends. I have all of the Scottish series and Here Burns My Candle. Would love to win Mine is the Night.
    sweetdarknectar(at)gmail(dot)com

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  38. You have me so excited to read these books. I put several of them on my to read list on goodreads. I think I would like to start with Here Burns My Candle. Thanks for the Giveaway.
    plb1050(at)gmail(dot)com

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  39. Oh, how I love Liz's books. And she is a treasure, as well. She sent me a box of Scottish Breakfast Tea for answering a few questions on facebook about her latest book. I thought that was simply so lovely and personal!
    This blog post has me yearning to reread the Thorn in My Heart series. Ah, I think I have found my wintertime reading material. Almost time to snuggle in with them while the snow flies.

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  40. It's the last hour of the week before--"Ta-da!"--Sunday is upon us! Hugs to all who posted comments here, both readers and writing sisters alike. I also loved attending ACFW this year, running into old friends and making new ones. Until we meet again, in person or across the page, many, many thanks for supporting my writing ministry. It means SO much! xox Liz

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  41. Great interview --I'm actually reading my first Liz Curtis Higgs book, "Here Burns My Candle" and I'm loving all the detail she wove into the novel (and the Scottish glossary)! Thank you for the chance to win!

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  42. Thanks for the chance to win a Liz Curtis book. Her books really do shine with hope.
    smoore at tcq dot net

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  43. Sharon and Lady DK, You are so right! Thanks so much for coming by OTT and reading the wonderful interview that Liz did!

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  44. Jen is the additional winner of a special giveaway by Liz of the series: Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, and Whence Came a Prince. You are in for a treat having never read any of her books before. I saw that you have a couple of blogs and just started a book review blog. We'd love to have you guest review sometime here at Overcoming Through Time! Congrats!

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