I’ve been looking forward to reading Angela Benson’s newest book, The Summer of Me, since I found out about it last year. I recently had the honor of interviewing her.
Tell me about your book, The Summer of Me.
More than anything The Summer of Me is about a woman’s growth during a time of uncertainty and fear. Destiny, the main character in The Summer of Me, is the single mother of a twin son and daughter. Her uncertainty and fear concern her ability to provide the kind of life she thinks her children deserve. This fear is intensified because she sees that lifestyle as severely lacking compared to the lifestyle the twins’ more financially successful father provides. When their father takes the kids away for the summer, Destiny decides to make some changes in her life. The Summer of Me traces her journey as she goes back to school, meets a great man, finds a wonderful job and makes a really bad decision.
Why did you decide to write it?
I wanted to write about a woman in trouble and Destiny became that woman. She has the best of intentions but, like in real life, those best intentions go horribly wrong. She’s a survivor though and she comes through it all a stronger and more self-assured woman.
You had a successful career as a romance writer. Why did you decide to switch to Christian fiction?
I wrote romance because I loved the happily ever after endings. I write Christian fiction for much the same reason. My stories involve characters who face life challenges as they seek to live according to faith. In the end, they navigate those life challenges and grow in their faith. That’s the ultimate happily ever after.
How do you balance writing with your other career as a college professor?’
I don’t do it very well and as a result I have turned in several of my last few novels very late. A career as a college professor has its perks but it is all consuming. I’ve decided to spend the next few years focusing strictly on my academic writing and leadership commitments.
In 2009 you were diagnosed with breast cancer. How are you doing now, and what advice do you have for women who have been diagnosed?
I’m doing great. Last September marked the fifth anniversary of my surgery, which is a major milestone for cancer survivors. I am happy and blessed to still be among you. As for advice I’d give to other women, I say hold on to your faith and lean on your family and friends. When I was first diagnosed, I faced a lot of fear. I believed but I also needed others to believe with me. I am so grateful my husband was there to lean on and to help make some pretty serious decisions.
What is the biggest lesson you want readers to learn from your stories and your life?
I want my readers to know that they can have a living faith that will take them through life’s challenges. You may not always get the end result you want, but you will always be standing stronger on the other side.
What’s next for Angela Benson?
Since I’m going to be focusing on my academic career, the next year or so will see the return of some fan favorites from my romance days. In July, Brown Girls Books will be releasing an updated version of The Nicest Guy in America followed by The Way Home later in the year. I also have a nonfiction book in the pipeline that Brown Girls will publish sometime in the next 12 months. It has a catchy title, Men Don’t Like Ugly, Women Don’t Like Broke. I hope readers enjoy it.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Thanks to all the readers who have followed me over the course of my writing career. I really do appreciate your support and caring. I wish you and the ones you love blessings and happiness through the year and beyond. Take care of yourself and keep reading!