JS: I do! This one was especially fun—and challenging—to write as it has a bit of a medical drama involved, an area I’m not hugely familiar with. But luckily, I had plenty of help. (Waving at you, Ami Koelliker!)
QPQ: Intertwined addresses so many gripping issues–marital infidelity, mental illness, homelessness, death, and even organ procurement. How did such a story materialize?
JS: It started from a random comment made on Facebook by my friend, former organ procurement coordinator, Ami Koelliker, who, off the cuff one day suggested I write a story about organ donation. As to some of the issues involved, I could expand on each one, but I’ll speak on the marital infidelity part. Before writing this novel, I sensed a need to reach out to the single and divorced moms in our churches. Single moms have shared how hard it is for them to find community and how often they feel judged and like they don’t fit. So I wanted to write a story for them, showing them that they can find community and support in the body of Christ. Plus, I wanted to show the rest of us that we can be that source of community to them.
QPQ: That’s an excellent reminder, Jen. Tell us about Tammy Kuhn, your heroine.
JS: She’s a hard worker who loves what she does and sees her job as a mission, and she absolutely adores her kids. She never wanted to get divorced; she never could’ve imagined her husband would betray her like he did. But this is the situation she finds herself in, and now she must make the best of it. Without allowing bitterness to tear what remains of her heart to shreds. That’s the hard part. Her husband’s adultery and insistence on a divorce devastated her. His apparent lack of interest in their children infuriates her. And somehow, in the mix of all those emotions and the high stress that comes with her job, she must find a way to grab hold of joy and healing.
QPQ: I hope she will. How does Nick Zimmerman fit in the story?
JS: Nick and Tammy were best friends in high school, and though they never admitted this, they loved each other. But Nick moved suddenly and they lost contact. Now, in the middle of each other’s pain and chaos, they reconnect in the hospital cafeteria and quickly realize their lives are critically intertwined.
QPQ: Nick grieves the loss of the father he never had. How does this impact his life and choices?
JS: Nick was told, from a young age, that his father died in the Vietnam War, and he’s felt a deep emptiness because of this. When he became a father, he determined to give his children what he himself never had, and that’s an involved Dad. But things didn’t go according to plan, he got divorced, and now, his angry and embittered ex-wife tries to keep Nick’s sons from him. Even so, Nick refuses to give up and determines the only way he’ll ever be able to remain involved in his boys’ lives is if he fights for full custody. Unfortunately, life hits him—and his bank account—hard, placing him in an incredible fight not just for his boys but for his business as well.
QPQ: Nick faces quite a struggle. It’s easy to harbor bitterness when facing loss. For instance, Tammy fights to keep her ex-husband involved in her child’s life. If you could speak to a single mom for a moment, what would you say to her?
“I believe if we continually choose forgiveness, asking God to help us, He eventually aligns our feelings to match.”
~ Jennifer Slattery
JS: This is a tough one, as I think some might not like my answer, but I’d stress how much kids need both their parents. And outside of abuse and neglect, it’s in the kids’ best interest to maintain a relationship with their dads. We as moms need to be very careful not to slander our children’s father. This applies to married moms, too. It harms our kids and leads to insecurity and distrust when we say negative things about their father. To those dealing with hurt and unforgiveness, I’d say get help, before your bitterness becomes contagious.
QPQ: Thank you for those wise words. Forgiveness seems impossible sometimes. What would you say to someone who’s trying to forgive, but isn’t sure how?
JS: I’d say, most often forgiveness is a process, not a one-time event, and many times we choose to forgive regardless of how we feel. I believe if we continually choose forgiveness, asking God to help us, He eventually aligns our feelings to match. That doesn’t mean we forget what happened or that we no longer hurt. Rather, it means we release our desire to get even and choose to obey God, regardless of how we feel.
QPQ: Amen. He’s more than able to heal what’s broken in us. Now for another personal topic: organ donation. My aunt received a kidney from an organ donor. If someone you knew expressed interest in becoming an organ donor, what would you say to her?
JS: I’d say, awesome! My husband donated a kidney, he says, in a large part because of this novel. So I call him my warrior now. 😉 I’d also say, ask questions and learn all you can. Donating an organ is a wonderful gift, and one I believe can be a tangible reminder of the gospel.
QPQ: I agree. Where can readers find you, and get their copy of Intertwined?
JS: Readers can connect with me on my website and on Facebook. They can find out more about Intertwined and read a free, 3-chapter excerpt at my publisher’s site, New Hope Publishers. And of course, they can buy it at any of the normal online places: CBD, Amazon, or B&N.
QPQ: Perfect. Thank you for joining us today, Jennifer!
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator, often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After a late-night altercation with a doctor–while fighting to keep her job and her sanity–she walks right into her old flame’s unthinkable tragedy. Because both Nick and Tammy have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover their lives are intertwined. But the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace.
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte