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!
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).