Martha, so glad to visit with you today. Please give us a thumbnail of the book you’re featuring, The Gift of Christmas.
Cherie Kenton came home to Edenville to help her widowed aunt. Troy McNeil came home to partner with his father. Cherie’s humiliation and embarrassment by Troy at the senior prom ended their relationship. She cannot forgive him, but he loves her. Will the true gift of Christmas reunite them in love and forgiveness?
What is your primary focus in this book?
My primary focus in the featured book is the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. My own life experience with forgiveness and the true peace, joy, and reconciliation it can bring is the foundation for my books.
Is there anything in particular you hope readers will take away from this book?
Forgiveness can make the difference between peace and turmoil in one’s life. Jesus commanded us to forgive each other as He forgave us and thus show our love for Him. Reconciliation and reunion are the main themes of the majority of my stories. That reconciliation may be between characters, or between the character and God. Forgiveness can make the difference between peace and turmoil in one’s life. Jesus commanded us to forgive each other as He forgave us and thus show our love for Him.
Do you have a favorite scene in this book? If so, please tell us about it.
My favorite scene comes at the end on Christmas Eve. After a surprise announcement by her aunt that she is engaged and planning to marry, Cherie and Troy escape the festivities and drive around town to see the lights and end up in the town square by the Christmas tree. There they settle their differences and declare their love for each other.
Beautiful, Martha. That makes me want to read about what led up to that.
Tell us, why do you love writing?
I love writing because it allows me to use my imagination to create characters who face real life issues and how their trust and faith in God lead them eventually to the right decisions. As a young girl, I wrote short stories to create an imaginary world with a wonderful family in an almost perfect world. This allowed me to escape my own dysfunctional family situation.
Amazing, isn’t it, how God gives us gifts to help ourselves and others. When did you first recognize this gift as God’s call to write for Him?
I had been writing off and on for many years, but in the mid-1990s, I met a Christian author who helped me see the importance of having my characters be Christian. I went back and revised the manuscript on which I had been working and realized how much better it became when I added the Christian element to it.
Such a tender realization. Our books are read by people who may not hear the gospel any other way.
Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
Before my first novel was published, I wrote a number of articles for Christian magazines. I wrote one about forgiving my brother who was in prison for sexual crimes. I had denied his existence for years, but God convicted me of my sin and unforgiving spirit when my mother told me of his conversion experience with her pastor. After that article appeared, I was visiting with my sister-in-law at her church. She introduced me to a woman who wanted to meet me. That dear, sweet lady told me of her own experience with a relative in prison and how my article had opened her eyes and heart to forgiving the sins and loving her relative without giving her approval to the sin. That made me realize that changing one person’s life like it had made my sharing worth all the pain and heartache it took to write the story.
Amen. What a blessing to see the results of our labor – something we don’t always realize.
Are there other ministries in which you are involved besides writing?
Although I am now 84 years of age, I still like to be involved in the ministries for our Lord. I sang in the choir for almost seventy years from the time I was in the youth choir as a teenager until two years ago when I had to give it up because of health issues. I miss it, but my teaching a ladies Bible class on Sundays, leading a study group for a weekly Bible study, serving as treasurer of our local writing group, and teaching nutrition and wellness with a First Place 4 Health weekly class keep me busy. I love being able to serve others and encourage women to be the best they can be with the Lord’s help and guidance.
Wow – you are one busy lady! Did a previous career influence what or how you write?
I am a retired teacher. I taught for 36 years in private and public schools and then at the college level for eight years. I began in Home Economics, but switched to English after I earned a MEd and loved it. I had been encouraged in my own writing with my English teachers, and I wanted my students to love literature and writing. Teaching English at both the high school and college levels taught me how different the students were in the way they wrote and expressed themselves. I always told them to be themselves, and to be honest. That carried over in my writing and still influences me today.
Great words of wisdom, Martha.
Please tell us what you have cooking on the back book-burner.
My next project is set in 1877 and features a prodigal riverboat gambler whose life is changed after he is shot by a jealous gambler. He returns home hoping to atone for the sins of his youth with the pastor of his church and to win his childhood sweetheart Alicia’s heart.
Thank you for visiting with us today, Martha.
For more about Martha Rogers and her books, visit Martha’s website.
And may all that you read be uplifting.