A Gift of. . . A Wedding Invitation (Guest Blog by Alice Wisler, author)

Today, a real gift for you readers of Christian inspirational fiction. Alice Wisler, author of three published books by Bethany House Publishers, has graciously agreed to share about her newest book, A Wedding Invitation, available now at Barnes & Noble, Family Christian Bookstores, Lifeway, and online. Welcome, Alice! I’m so excited that you’re taking time to talk with us today.

AW: Thanks, Jean! I’m glad to be here.

SS: Tell us a little bit about your latest book, A Wedding Invitation.

AW: A Wedding Invitation is loosely built on my stint as an English teacher in a refugee camp in the Philippines in the 1980s. While the camp had refugees from Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, I focus on the Amerasians, children of Vietnamese women and US soldiers during the Vietnam War. Their plight is tough and I take one girl, Lien, and carry her through so that readers can get a glimpse of her life. Since my novels with Bethany House all take place in North Carolina (my state!), I also set the story in Winston-Salem.

SS: Was there a specific thing, person, or event that triggered the writing of this book?

AW: Once I received an ornate wedding invitation that was not for me! It was for the former home owners of my house. From there, I thought of how I could incorporate a refugee camp, a romance and a boutique in Falls Church, VA, as well as a butterfly-raising aunt in North Carolina into a story.

SS: I especially like your portrayal of the complex relationship between the main character, Samantha, and her mother Cecelia. How do you feel their relationship is typical? How is it atypical?

AW: I think many daughters have a tough time with their moms. Samantha wants her mother to be more vocal and demonstrative with her love. But Cecelia is more candid, reserved. The two do care and love each other, they just show it in different ways.

SS: Explain to us who Carson is, how he and Samantha met, and how he extends the “gift of grace” to others.

AW: Carson sees life as a glass half full. He and Samantha met at the refugee camp where they worked together, teaching English-as-a-second language to Southeast Asian refugees. Carson not only teaches, but learns Vietnamese so that he can better communicate with his students and their families. When Lien is accused of theft, he believes in her, and not in the accusations. He steps out to speak in her favor even though he is reprimanded for his actions.

SS: Samantha herself bestows a “gift of grace,” when she tries to help Lien, the young Amerasian girl she knew in the Philippines. How does she do this?

AW: When asked to help Lien find her birth mother, Samantha has to spend more time with the young girl. Samantha learns to forgive and to see that there is beauty in Lien. Lien might be loud and rowdy, but she is also loving and grateful. Lien also is seeking after God, wanting to be more trusting of Him, and like most of us, she wants to be accepted and to belong. Gradually, Sam’s heart changes. I think she is the most surprised by the change!

SS: Thank you so much, Alice. We’re eagerly looking forward to your next book, which will be–?

AW: My next novel is Still Life in Shadows, coming out with Moody Publishers in the early fall of 2012. It’s about an ex-Amish man who helps other dissatisfied Amish escape the old lifestyle. Lots of twists and turns and even a murder, so a bit different from my novels with Bethany House. However, Still Life in Shadows is still about relationships and seeking God’s help, as well as filled with southern-isms and humor.

SS: I look forward to reading it, Alice!  May you have a blessed Christmas. . .

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn