Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Debut Novelist Marie Wells Coutu

Congratulations, Marie, on your debut novel! Is there a story behind your book For Such a Moment?

About six years ago, God gave me the idea of taking the story of Esther and setting it in contemporary times. I had not written fiction seriously, so I had a lot to learn and wound up rewriting numerous times. I was encouraged when the book was selected as a Genesis finalist and later as a finalist in the Women of Faith Writing Contest. After I signed with an agent, he sent the proposal to all of the major CBA publishers. However,  at that time, they weren’t acquiring much women’s fiction. I decided to put the book “in the drawer” and try a historical romance. A year or so later, I learned that Write Integrity Press was holding a Books of Hope Contest (for both single books and series). This book and my Mended Vessels series seemed like a perfect fit. I entered the proposal, and after being chosen as a finalist, I had a few months to polish the manuscript (again). I am grateful to have been selected as the contest winner and finally get to see this book in print, showing me once again that God had perfect timing for this story.

For Such a Moment is the first book in the Mended Vessels series. The three novels in the series, loosely based on Biblical women, reveal how God takes broken lives and restores them to usefulness. The stories of Queen Esther, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Bathsheba—each one re-imagined in contemporary settings—demonstrate how the principles of God’s love still apply today. Each is a stand-alone story but the three books are connected by their themes of restoration, forgiveness, and hope through stories of women who find significance in spite of their pasts.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

Right now, it’s social media. Trying to promote the first book and work on the second (while still working a full-time job) is a real challenge, and it’s easy for me to spend a lot more time on Facebook and Twitter than I intend to!

Do you have famous people in mind when you write your characters?

I really don’t, but after my sister and my mother read this manuscript, they decided that Charlton Heston would be perfect for the male lead. How could I argue with that?

I do look through catalogs and online photo sites to find pictures of my characters. I try not to use famous people because I might tend to make their personality like that actor (or some character they’ve played), which wouldn’t necessarily fit the story!

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My three grandsons (ages 4, 5, and 6)! My husband is also able to make me smile or laugh when he takes something I say and exaggerates it to the extreme, or teases me in other ways. For instance, he likes to tease me about being older than he is (which is not true) and about being “older than dirt.” One year he sent me flowers at work with a card that said, “You’re not old. Dirt is dirt.” Lots of women would be offended by that, but I know he’s just teasing and it made me laugh.

What is your favorite season of the year?  

I love spring. Whether coming out of a long, white winter (as when we lived in Minnesota) or a shorter, brown one now that we’re in South Carolina, the sight of jonquils, daffodils, tulips, forsythia, redbud trees, and dogwood blossoms cheers me up. Warmer weather, longer days, and the smells of freshly mown grass all add up to symbolize newness and promise. 

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? 

Cleaning. And paying bills. I have never enjoyed cleaning the house. Since I’m a “collector,” I know that cleaning will also mean sorting and throwing away. Right now, I have a kitchen drawer, two dresser drawers, and my desktop that all need to be de-cluttered. But taking the time to do that means taking time away from writing—and it means I’ll have to make decisions about what to get rid of and what to keep—and where to put it! LOL.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?   

This series explores the idea of brokenness and how God can bring healing and wholeness in spite of our pasts. Through my stories, I try to show that God can mend us and give us a purpose after our failures if we put our trust in Him.

A related theme is the need for forgiveness—not only forgiving others but also allowing God’s forgiveness to infiltrate our lives so that we forgive ourselves for our mistakes.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

The next book in the Mended Vessels series is based on the Samaritan woman at the well. The heroine takes a job in Charleston, SC, to escape the cycle of failed marriages and bad choices, but finds herself drawn into another unhealthy relationship. She buys an old house and faces the challenges of remodeling it as she struggles to remodel her life. It will release early in 2014.

We'll look forward to it. Thanks for sharing with us today.

Connect with Marie Wells Coutu at:

Her website
Mended Vessels
Facebook
Twitter: @MWCoutu

Marie Wells Coutu is giving away a copy of For Such A Moment. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.




11 comments:

sm said...

I am intrigued how you write a contemporary story from the story of a true to life Bible character. 'For such a time as this' is such a profound challenge to each one of Christ's followers. sharon, ca

cjajsmommy said...

I love the book cover (meant to mention that yesterday). Thanks for this great interview. I look forward to reading your book. djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

apple blossom said...

lovely interview thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patricia Bradley said...

Loved getting to know Marie better. Met her two years ago at ACFW and loved her. So proud her book is now available! pat at ptbradley dot com

Patsy said...

Looking forward to this series.
plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

dtopliff said...

Congratulations on finding a home for your series--great! And fun to meet you, enjoy you at Deep Thinkers. Wishing you all the best & great book successes. Plus, thanks for a chance to win.

Kimberly said...

Hey Marie, I love your premise! Congrats on the book release!

squiresj said...

Would love to enter and win so I can get to know you as an author. I have not read any of your books.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

zoemmccarthyblog said...

Marie,

I'm glad I came by. It was fun to get to know more about you. Love your title, For Such a Moment.

KayM said...

I enjoyed the interview. It sounds like both you and your husband have a good sense of humor. Thank you for offering a copy of your book.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to win your book. I have wanted to read one about Ester. Love her story. Maybe will get to read them all. Thanks for the chance.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dotcom

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