Interview & Book Give Away with Cindy Sproles, Author of Mercy’s Rain, Part 2

Cindy Sproles headshot 2I could hardly wait to share Part 2 of my interview with Cindy Sproles, author of Mercy’s Rain. You might want to start with Part 1 of my interview with Cindy Sproles.

Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for Cindy. All commenters to both last week’s and this week’s posts will be in the drawing for a free book! Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner. Now, let’s gather back around the kitchen table with Cindy.

I read your book, so I can attest to the fact that it’s not preachy. Tell us how you were able to weave a spiritual thread through Mercy’s Rain without hitting the reader over the head.

I allowed Mercy to ask the question over and over, “Why would a God who was worth a hoot, allow sucha thing?” She continually attacks God, calling Him cruel. The thread comes through love. Samuel (the preacher friend) and the Johnsons love Mercy into the hands of forgiveness. Today we spend so much time trying to PROVE God and prove we are right about God, when what we are commanded to do is LOVE. Once the seeds of love are planted, God will nurture it. The thread of the spiritual context is unconditional love, not trying to fix the person, but loving them into a place where they will allow God to fix them. Our example speaks loud. We should really pay closer attention to it.

Thank you. I needed to be reminded of that. Sounds like you’re committed to the importance of Christian fiction.  

There are Christians who think fiction is misguided. What better way to show redemption than through the eyes of a fictional character? Those characters can say, do, and feel the things we would never allow ourselves to do. People are touched by the stories. I get tickled when folks preach that Christian fiction is bad, when in the same breath they can tell you in detail the last movie they watched. Uh…99.5% of the movies they watch are…none other than fiction. At some point, we have to realize stories have changed the world, moved hearts, drawn people to Christ. There is nothing sweeter than an email from a reader who says, “I loved the story of Mercy. I’m not much on fiction, but this story forced me to stop and face my own demons.”  That is what we want to hear. Yes?

As Christians, we have a higher set of standards to adhere to when we write our fiction. The world tells us to “write where the reader is .  .  . ie, if they curse, stomp, slash or whatever, write it real in the words you would hear.” I disagree. Mercy’s story is hard. It’s filled with horrible abuse, but I never crossed the line. I did not use foul language. I did not draw every gory scene. I didn’t delve into the nastiness of rape. Instead Cindy Sproles Mercys Rain coverI wrote the emotion. When the reader felt Mercy’s agony, their own imagination wrote the graphic scenes. That drew the picture. We have a responsibility as writers to set the standards. One review in a major site said if this were a movie it would be rated R because of the topic . . . not because of the scenes written. So, we can dig down as writers and use emotion to paint a more vivid picture than nasty language or gory details. It’s much easier to write the foul language rather than challenge ourselves to dig deep into the emotion and tell the story.

I so agree! And if we have a problem with fiction or difficult topics, all we need to do is read the Bible! (Okay, now I’M the one standing on my soapbox!) You mentioned that you used the emotion of the characters to demonstrate the horror of sinful deeds. Without sharing any spoilers, what was the most emotional scene for you to write in your novel?

Oh, there are so many, but I think the burial of her baby. That said, you gotta read to find out why.

Oh yes, that was a gripping scene. One I won’t forget. My next question: Writers often desire to teach a lesson in and through their writing, but we as Christian writers also learn something. What was one thing you learned while writing Mercy’s Rain?

God constantly wears at me to be better. I’ve learned that God’s love is what heals. Even in my own life, I’ve made mistakes, had hardships, but God’s love has always healed.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

My voice. I’m very much a mountain girl. The dialect is second nature to me. The mountain folk of Appalachia are kind, gentle, and simple people. They’re truthful. So when I launch into tellin’ you all about my kin, it ain’t so hard to picture who they was or how they lived. A man had to work hard for his earnin’s and he had to pray hard for his survival. But they ain’t a soul alive who don’t find peace on summit of the mountain. They ain’t a soul livin’ who can stand on top of that mountain and stretch his arms up, scrapin’ his fingers against the door of heaven and not see God Almighty peering through the clouds. This is the mountains. Where the breeze carries the whisper of God and trees sing His words. A body just has to stand quiet like. Still. And listen. The good Lord’ll speak when a man chooses to listen and pay Him some mind. J

Oh, I love your voice, and look forward to more opportunities to read it. What’s on the horizon for you now?

I’m currently working on the next two books in the Appalachian Novel Series. I want to be a writer that listens to His call and writes the whispers He gently speaks into my ear, so we pray for good words and blessing.

Cindy Sproles booksigningAny chance you would share the first chapter of Mercy’s Rain with my friends?  

I’ll do one better. Here’s the link for the excerpt of the first three chapters of Mercy’s Rain. I hope you enjoy them and I hope you’ll take time to grab the book.

Wow, Cindy, thanks! Hey, did y’all catch that? You can click on that link and read the first three chapters of Mercy’s Rain—for FREE! So what are you waiting for?

Bio: Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and managing editor for Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is a conference teacher and speaker, working conferences all across the country. Her devotions are found in newspapers all over the eastern seaboard. Cindy is the executive Editor of ChristianDevotions.us and InspireAFire.com. She is the author of four devotionals and compilations and her first fiction novel, Mercy’s Rain is now available. www.CindySproles.com

Thanks for Tweeting!

You’ve never read a novel like Cindy Sproles’ Mercy’s Rain! Win a book! @CindyDevoted #BookGiveaway on @VondaSkelton #MustRead (Click to Tweet)

Friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for Cindy and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book from Cindy. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Hope to see you back on Friday!

Vonda

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  • Tracy Crump

    I’m glad you made the point that cursing, etc. are not necessary to a powerful story. I once met a “Christian” writer who proudly stated he always used profanity in his books. Sure made me wounder.

    • Thanks for stopping by and joining in, Tracy! As Margie said so well, we don’t have to be of the world to be in it. What a difference we can make!

  • I am simply overwhelmed and inspired by your excellence in writing and the purity of your heart. A scripture comes to my mind, “He who honors me I will honor.” I Samuel 2:30b My prayer is that the integrity of your words will impress upon us the heart of God who calls, “Be ye separate and come out from among them…” .”You are in the world but not of the world.” Thank you, dear Cindy, for lifting up the Son of God that all men may draw near and find grace!

    • Awe, thanks Margie. What a sweet compliment.

    • Thank you for your kind words for Cindy and her work. It’s easy to see her heart for the lost and confused shining through.

  • Rene` Diane Aube

    Okay, this is my second comment today *don’t feel like you need to enter me twice since I’m so far behind* :/ I can completely relate to what you said about just loving people *letting the LORD love them through us ~ I”m SO incapable* where they are. I love what you said about letting God do the nurturing as we love them with His love, too. Too often I want to take over…thanks for the reminder that it’s really up to Him. Love that “healing love.” This book will definitely be on my wish list! 🙂 Thank you, Cindy and Vonda 🙂

    • Oh, @renedianeaube:disqus, I’m right there with you! Just about every time I step in with my own great idea it backfires on me. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but a very necessary one. :-/

    • Thanks Rene’ but it is God’s job to do the healing. We’re commanded to love our brothers as we love ourselves.

  • Gail Wofford Cartee

    Cindy, you are so right. We must love people through their struggles and let God do the changing. Mercy’s Rain was the first book I read when I got home from Boot Camp. I can’t wait for the other books in the series!

    • Yes, moving out of the way to let God work is a lesson I continue to learn. Thanks for stopping by, Gail!

  • Nan Jones

    Love, love, LOVE this book. I’m down to the last 2 chapters and I don’t want it to end! Cindy, I can’t wait to read more from you.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Nan. I didn’t want it to end, either. And when it did, I couldn’t get Mercy out of my head!

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thanks Nan. SHARE THE BOOK. Tell folks to get it and read it. Maybe we can make a difference.

  • Cyn Rogalski

    I’m so glad you’ve explained the difference between writing vivid scenes & feeling you must use profanity to get your point across! When reviewing books, for example, if the author uses profanity, I question why…I mean, you’re a WRITER. Can’t you come up with better words than that?
    I’m looking forward to reading Mercy’s Rain! It’s on my wish list! Thank you Vonda, for doing this interview!

    • Thank you for joining in, Cyn! And yes, I totally agree that as writers, we should be able to write vivid scenes that project the movie in their minds. Can’t wait for you to read it!

    • Cindy Sproles

      In Mercy’s Rain, I used the word hell once as a swear word. But, it was very much the appropriate thing to do. Even the editors and publishers agreed. Outside of that, I wrote the emotion around the scenes I could have used bad language. The emotion spoke harder than the words. What folks don’t understand – is in the mountains hell is not a bad word. Even knowing that, out of the entire book, I used it once that allowed the reader to see and after that, they understood and there was no reason to say it again. So you have to consider the dialect of the region, era, emotion. . . before you decide to add it. Like I said, there is one time I used hell as a swear word, it set the era, scene, and dialect. After that, it wasn’t needed anymore. And for the record, when I added this word, it was me who asked the publisher and editor for dialogue between us to decide if this was appropriate. Anything worse than hell, I would not have used.

      • Gail Wofford Cartee

        Cindy, thanks for explaining.

  • Cindy Patterson

    A great ending to a wonderful interview. Christian Fiction can be life changing and it’s awesome to be apart of this world of fiction.Thank you for sharing Vonda and Cindy.

    • Thanks Cindy. I feel like I’m talking to myself…grin. Christian fiction needs to step it up a notch. Move from cheezy to real. Then it can step outside the boundaries and reach further than our own back yard.

    • And thank you for stopping by, Cindy. Oh, and don’t forget the call-out for MoGo7000 will be posted next week. Hope you’re getting lots of writing done!

    • Cindy Sproles

      Cindy can you email me privately at cindyksproles@gmail.com?

  • My grandmother was an Ozarks girl, but she read voraciously and deliberately changed her voice. I heard echoes of her four sisters in Mercy’s Rain. While Ozark and Appalachia are not the same dialect, they are similar enough that I was at home in the words.

    • Glad you found the memories of home.

    • What a special treat for you, Judith! Back home with your family. Guess that brought back some great memories. 🙂

  • Lori Hatcher

    Cindy, your words are simple beauty. No double-breasted suits, no Tommy Hilfiger, what you see is what you get, and it’s lovely.

  • Michele Reeves

    As Christians our stories are about Redemption. I love that you, as Christian Fiction authors, use fictional characters to mirror real world situations. If we as Christians would be more transparent with our own stories, Christian Fiction would not be needed because we could read each other’s stories and stand amazed at what God has done. Until that time comes, keep on keepin’ for Jeus!

    • Oh, fiction will always be needed. It’s a place where our imaginations can escape.

    • Yes, Michele, transparency is required to have real stories that make a difference for Christ. Thanks for encouraging Cindy!