2 September 2009

Blog tour of Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn and giveaway

Coming Attractions
By Robin Jones Gunn
Zondervan
ISBN – 0310276586
304 Pages
PUB DATE: July 2009

Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn.

In this third book in the Katie Weldon Series, Katie is rolling into her final semester at Rancho Corona with one major question for her boyfriend: “Are you serious?” She’s come to the conclusion that she really, truly loves Rick and it’s time for him to make a declaration about his future intentions. The biggest obstacle to such a conversation is the craziness of their schedules. Katie’s close friend, Nicole, is spending more time with Rick than Katie is, and the once mysterious Eli is now the person to whom Katie is opening her heart. What is happening to her should-be-predictable world?

Soon Katie finds she’s the one who is asking herself, “Are you serious?” Katie ponders what that means in her life-from her relationship with Rick to what she plans to do after graduation. Could it be that God is asking her the same question about her relationship with Him?

Interview with Robin Jones Gunn

Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.
If you’ve read a Christy Miller book you might see some similarities here. (Write what you know, right?) I was born on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. My parents moved to southern California when I was five. I grew up in a strong, church going family. My dad was a junior high history teacher and coach. My mom directed a pre-school at our church. My sister and I squabbled over clothes and chores, my brother and I liked to make forts in the orange grove next to our house and sleep out in a tent in the backyard in the summer. The three of us were all born within five years and I’m in the middle. We’re still close. In high school I started a Christian club at my school and went on missions trips to Mexico with our church. I had some really great God-Lover friends and we spend many hours at the beach and around campfires singing praise songs. I attended Biola University for two years. I traveled to Europe when I was 21 to attend a Bible school in Austria and work for a mission organization in Germany. My husband and I married while he was finishing seminary and we immediately began a journey together of doing youth ministry for 22 years. Our son was born five years after we were married and then four years later our daughter arrived. We moved a lot. The favorite year for all of us was the year we living on Maui. We’ve been in Portland, Oregon area now for 15 years where my husband is a counselor. Our God-loving son is married to a wonderful young woman and our daughter is living back in California, working and loving life and loving God in new and deeper ways. I feel so blessed. Really.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?
Travel, travel, travel. And when I read, it’s all about Hawaiian history or poetry and hymns. I’ve incorporated the travel in all the Sisterchicks books over the years as well as the Christy, Sierra and Katie books. In “Coming Attractions” I sent Katie off to Africa and I’m going to follow her there in real life. I’m going to Kenya, Lord willing, in November to teach at an International Writers Conference www.littworld.org

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Actually, last month I did feel as if I had a superpower. God gave me the superpower to forgive someone and wow! What a supernatural change that made in my heart.

What has God been teaching you lately?
Every year in January I take a full day where I curl up in a chair in the living room by the fireplace and a pot of tea. I light a candle, open my journal and read what I wrote over the previous year. My heart is always overwhelmed with the faithfulness and goodness of God. Then I list all the evidences of His hand on my life and thank Him some more. My final tradition is to ask Him for a word. Words are what my life is all about so in sweet and personal ways over the years I have seen God give me a gift each new year – a gift of a word. That word becomes a banner over me for the coming year. And as you can imagine, when I look back over the year the next January, I can see specific ways that He wrote that particular word over my days many times across the months. This year the word He gave me was “radiate”. And yes, I’ve felt the fulfillment of that word already this year in opening Robin’s Nest Online Shop http://shop@robingunn.com The influence of the stories I’ve been writing all these years are now “radiating” to a wider audience. We listed some stories on the landing page that are really touching from readers and shoppers. What I’ve been so aware of this year is that in order to “radiate” there has to be a source of power that comes from elsewhere. I’m just a reflector of the power of God. There have been some really difficult times this year when I wanted to turn off the switch, so to speak, and go dark into hibernation/invisible mode. But then I roll back around to the reality that I’m not the one producing the energy. I am powered by God’s faithful, extravagant Spirit. All I have to do to radiate is stay plugged in.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A missionary. I wanted to travel to foreign lands and translate God’s Word into a language that unreached people could understand. I tried applying for a position in Africa when I was in my twenties. The only opening they had for someone of my very limited abilities and talents was a “laundry supervisor”. It wasn’t what I had in mind as my life work for Jesus, but I applied and was rejected. The fun part of this story is that when I was teaching at a LittWorld Conference in England 11 years ago I met an African woman named Wambura who had read my books as a teen in Kenya. When I told her my story of rejection she said, “Oh, Robin, you did not need to come to Africa to wash our clothes. God sent your stories and they have washed our hearts.” !!! When I go to Kenya this November I’m spending 4 days with Wambura. She says she wants to help fulfill God’s will for my life so she’s going to let me do her laundry.

Where are you headed next?
Well, Africa in November. Career wise, I have several options available to me at the moment and am thinking and praying and waiting on the Lord to make some big decisions. I’m not able to reveal specifics yet. I keep readers updated in my e-newsletter, which they can sign up to receive by going to http://www.robingunn.com/
Coming Attractions, the book

Where did you get the idea for the book?
The idea was with me for many years. I wanted to find out what happened to Katie and Christy and the rest of the God-Lovers gang. But after I finished writing “I Promise”, Christy and Todd had just walked down the aisle and my 14 years of writing about these characters ended. The day I typed the last line I clearly sensed the Lord impressing on me that I had finished what He invited me to do when I started writing for teens. So I asked Him, “What’s next, Lord?” What followed was the Glenbrooke Series, the Sisterchicks Series and 4 non-fiction books. But no more teen novels.
Every week for the next seven years I received requests from readers all over the world asking me to write more novels for teens. With every letter I’ve asked the Lord, “May I, please?” The answer was always silence. I even approached two different writers about the possibility of them writing about these characters. Both times the projects didn’t develop. So I surrendered again, stepped back and asked God, “What’s next, Papa?”

The answer came in a unique way one afternoon a few summers ago. I was stretched out on the couch for a little nap with my eyes closed. In my heart I distinctly sensed the Lord saying, “I’m giving Katie back to you.” I opened my eyes and looked around to see who spoke because the words seemed so clear. The sun streamed through a high window bathing me in light and a sweet sense of peace. Out loud I said, “Am I making this up or are you directing me, Father?” Just then the music on my computer switched to a song I have long considered Christy and Todd’s love song. I felt a rising sense of excitement. God was doing a new thing.

From there all the doors swung wide open and I am overwhelmed and grateful and thrilled that I was able to write these three Katie Weldon novels. “Peculiar Treasures” released from Zondervan in March, 2008, and picked up where “I Promise” ended. Then came “On a Whim” and now “Coming Attractions”.

The question I’m asked now every single day is, “Will there be more?” My answer once again is, “I don’t know. I’ll keep asking God and see what He says!”

What are the major themes of the book?
Katie is a college student and in each book she is facing all the struggles that come with that season of life; what am I going to do next? Do I really love Rick? Does he really love me? Are we supposed to get married? What about this nudging I have toward one day going to Africa? How can I resolve this ongoing unsettled relationship with my parents? How am I going to get the money I need for tuition? Where am I going to live after I graduate? Who are my true friends?

The themes, as with all the novels I’ve written, revolve around friendships and moving ahead in relationships with others as well as an authentic relationship with God.

What kind of research did you have to do for the book?
Before I started the series I went to a university in southern California, similar to the setting of the imaginary Rancho Corona University Katie goes to in the books. (Yes, I’m sorry to have to say it, but Rancho Corona is an imaginary college! I receive letters every week from readers who want to go there.)

My editor and my agent went to the California college with me and since my daughter was attending that school at the time, she gave us the grand tour, answered a bazillion questions and gave me lots of details of what her experience was like since she was an RA that year, like Katie. I told lots of photos, talked to groups of women in the dorm at night, spoke in chapel, ate in the cafeteria and sat on a bench by the fountain and just watched. That was a very helpful trip. Having my daughter working in tandem with me on the books was the biggest help, though. She allowed me to draw from a deep well of her own feelings and experiences and I think that’s what helped make the books feel true to life for readers.

With which character do you, personally, identify most and why?
Katie, I think. But I was a lot like Christy when I was growing up and so I’ve always been able to relate to Christy’s timidity. I like to put all my “spiritual” thoughts into Todd’s dialog, though. So I don’t know. I feel connected to all the characters in different ways.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Hope.

That was actually my daughter’s word for the year when I started writing the Katie books. Yes, my daughter has begun her own tradition of running away with Jesus for a day in January and asking Him for a word. I hope readers will see how deeply and intimately they are loved by God and how He has pursued them and called them by name and longs to have a close relationship with all of His daughters. I hope they will see that in every situation there is hope. When you shake all the frivolous stuff out of life, as Paul said, “These three things remain; faith, hope and love.” We all know that the greatest of these is love. We also all know that our journey with the Lord begins with faith. But I think we forget that the bridge there between the two is hope. For Katie, hope is what kept her going. Hope is what she was willing to take risks for and release the past in order to embrace the future. “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22

While I was writing these stories I loved listening to a band named “Ruth” http://www.myspace.com/ruthrock Their lyrics gave me such a great sense of what Katie and Rick and the rest of the gang were feeling throughout this series. Plus I like the music! Give a listen and see if their music reminds you of Katie and the gang, too.
I would love to add you to the list so you can receive the Robin’s Nest e-newsletter! Go to www.robingunn.com to sign up. We are always coming up with new ideas for drawings for free books. And now that we have the brand new Robin’s Nest Online Shop http://shop.robingunn.com/ you can order my books directly through the shop along with some adorable Tshirts, keychains, posters and more fun items related to all my books. Oh, and please stop by the guestbook on my website and sign in. I love to go to that page and just pray for all the readers from around the world. It would be a joy to pray for you!
You can visit Robin at http://robingunn.com/

For a chance to win this book you will need an australian address and leave a comment by Sept 10th 6pm. Leave a way to be contacted.


3 comments:

Beth said...

Hi Jenny,
I'd actually love to win this for a friend (of course I'll read it too).
You've got my address, or can get it off my blogger profile.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenny it would be awesome to win this book!! =) Thanks for letting me know about this competion. I think you've got all my number!! Jade Lawrie-Read (kingston)

merlie said...

Thank you . To all participant, please have a look at our updated contest post.
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