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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015


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Nov 18, 2013

I'm excited today to interview Robin Patchen, author of the new Christmas novella, Faith House.  

Here's a bit about Robin:

If time and money were no object, Robin Patchen would travel constantly. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. Because, as you know, the first time, you don't know exactly what you want to see. So you flit from one tourist attraction to another and enjoy every minute of it. But it's always on the last day that you find the best thing, and you don't have enough time to explore it properly, and you wished you'd discovered it first (but even if you had, you wouldn't know it was the best thing, because you hadn't seen everything else yet). So you have to go back a second time. It's just logical.

Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and Robin's family doesn't want to follow her all around the world, so she does the next best thing: she writes. In the worlds she creates, she can go back to the best places time and again. And when they're not perfect, that's all right--she just edits until they are.

In the real world, Robin is married to the man of her dreams, Edward, and together they have three children, Nicholas, Lexi, and Jacob. Her family is a close second on her list of priorities after her relationship with Christ.

So that's Robin's life: God, husband, children, and made-up worlds where she has complete control. Who could ask for more?

Here's a bit about Faith House 

When Hurricane Sandy destroys Sadie’s home, she’s determined to restore it. She promised her dying grandmother she’d never abandon the house that is the only link to Sadie’s schizophrenic father—a man who disappeared twenty years ago.

Max has loved Sadie since grade school, but their mutual friend died when they were teens. A decade has passed, and he’s finally found her. This time, he won’t lose her—not to a flooded house hundreds of miles from home, or to her false hope as she awaits her father’s unlikely return.

When Sadie discovers her house is underinsured, she faces an impossible decision. Can she trust God enough to let go of her only connection to her dad? Can she trust Max enough to let go of her heart?

And now the interview!  You live in Oklahoma, Robin, so how did Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast, touch you so deeply?

Living in Oklahoma, I’ve had ample opportunity to witness natural disasters. We have tornadoes every year, some that leave total devastation in their wakes. I’ve known families who’ve lost their homes in the storms, even families who’ve lost loved ones. And each time, like everyone else, I pray and I cry and I try to help.

But even the most destructive tornadoes, like the one that hit Moore this past spring, don’t do nearly the damage Hurricane Sandy did. Perhaps it was the length of the storm, seeing the pictures on the TV for a couple of days, that affected me. Perhaps it was the thought of all those hundreds of thousands of people trying to survive it. When there’s a storm in Oklahoma, it’s confined to one or two relatively small areas. But I thought about the people living in the places worst hit, and I thought, their neighbors can’t help. They were hit, too. Their churches are flooded. Their schools are damaged. The grocery stores have no electricity, the gas stations have no fuel. So where do you turn for help? When your insurance company can’t handle the calls because thousands of others are clogging the phone lines, when your bank isn’t answering because their phones are down, too—what do you do?

And then I saw the photographs in the days following the storm, home after home after home, flooded, moved off its foundation, or broken to bits. Each one of those houses represents a person, a family, a story. I don’t know why it impacted me like it did, but I couldn’t get the images of those homes out of my mind.

What is Sadie’s biggest fear?  

Sadie fears she will develop schizophrenia like her father and grandfather did. She is terrified of losing her grip on reality, of losing her ability to control her life. So she tries to control everything, gripping the things that matter to her life a child with a security blanket. She’s terrified of letting go of any thread, afraid perhaps that will be that thread that leads to her own madness. She desperately wants to find her father, because she believes if she can only be with him again, she will feel secure, like she did when she was a child, long before her father left and she discovers his mental illness.

What do you like most about Max?  

Max is that geeky guy from high school, the one none of the girls wanted to date and most of the guys either teased or ignored. Super smart, incredibly kind, and always overlooked. But now, a decade after high school, Max is handsome and successful—a great catch for any girl. But he’s never quit loving Sadie, the girl he fell for when he was twelve years old. What I like best about him is that he would do almost anything for, but when she asks him to do something he knows will be bad for her, something he knows God is not behind, he refuses. He risks losing Sadie to obey God and, ultimately, to take care of the girl he loves.

A portion of each sale is going to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  

How will this happen? There are so many great organizations still working to help clean up and rebuild the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, it’s been difficult to decide where exactly to donate the money. But because my book focuses specifically on homes destroyed, I’m going to donate to Habitat for Humanity’s Hurricane Sandy fund. See their website here:

Which Bible verse would you most ascribe this story and why? 

In Faith House, Sadie needs to learn to trust God and surrender to his plans for us. There are a lot of scriptures that address that, but that one that comes to mind is Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In light of the fact that God surrendered his only son out of his great love for us, how can we doubt that he will take care of everything else in our lives? This is an issue I struggle with, especially lately as I watch my teenage kids dealing with some serious issues. I want to rescue them, to shield them from everything bad in the world, but knowing how much God loves me, and how much he loves my kids, I have to daily remind myself to trust him. He knows what he’s doing.

What do you hope readers will take with them from Faith House? 

Greater faith. Every time we decide to trust God, not ourselves, we build our faith. My hope is that this book will encourage readers to take one step of faith, that will lead to another, and then another, that we would all be more faithful believers.

What are you working on now?  

The one I’m writing now takes place in Oklahoma and begins, oddly enough, with a tornado scene. I guess I’m drawn to the natural disaster thing.
Where can people connect with you?

Robin is a member of the Quid Pro Quills, the American Christian Fiction Writers critique group I belong to.  We've known each other for a couple of years now and believe me - she can write!  She also keeps me in line as our group's queen of punctuation.   


Robin Patchen said...

Thanks for hosting me, Pegg! Love your blog.

Sharon Srock said...

Robin, Nice interview. You know how much I LOVED FAITH HOUSE. Can't wait to read what comes from your pen next!

Candice Sue Patterson said...

Great interview! I think it's great that you're donating a portion to the victims. You have a beautiful, compassionate heart for others. Can't wait to read Faith House!

Janet Lee Barton said...

Great interview, Robin! I can't wait to read my copy of Faith House!

by Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks for opening up here and sharing a bit of yourself with the readers.

Lacy J. Williams said...

Read this book last weekend--it is fabulous. So well-written and packs an emotional punch. I love Christmas stories and this is a great one!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Sharon. I'm sort of looking forward to what comes next myself!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Lacy! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Janet. I hope you enjoy it.

Terri said...

Okay Robin, I've have my copy of Faith House and looking forward to reading it. You're a great author and I'm looking forward to many more Robin Patchen novels.

Linda Goodnight said...

Love the sound of this book and can't wait to read it.

Erin Taylor Young said...

Cool interview, Robin! Got my copy of your book ready and waiting for me! : )

Karla Akins said...

Fantastic interview! Very well done and the book looks soooo good!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Karla. I hope the book is as fun to read as it was to write!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Erin. I hope you enjoy it!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Linda!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Terri!

Robin Patchen said...

Thanks, Candice. Doing all the research for this book really opened my eyes to the plight of the victims of this hurricane. I can't imagine what they've gone through, not even after trying to imagine it through the eyes of my fictional character! If I can do a little something to help, then that's what I'll do.

jericha kingston said...

Loved how your characters compassionately presented the challenges facing the physically and mentally displaced. Thank you.

Patti Shene said...

Sounds like a great book, Robin. Hurricane Sandi touched me too, since I grew up in that area and remember seeing the destruction caused by many hurricanes first hand.