Regina Tittel is the author of The Ozark Durham Series, inspirational suspense romances. Here she tells us what inspired the story for the fourth volume, Cherished Stranger.
In this novel, Lucy Durham brings her sponsor child from Romania, along with the girl's father, Dorin, to her farm in the U.S.
Cherished Stranger tackles two spiritual messages. The first brings awareness to the need for child sponsorship and the often brutal truth of poverty. The idea came to me through our sponsorship of two children and their needs. After further research I learned about the horrific reality of sex trafficking and knew I could do something about it. Even if this book only grows one more sponsor or one more dedicated supporter of women's rights in third-world countries, it has done its job. But I believe God has bigger plans for it.
I was careful not to dwell on sex trafficking too heavily; after all, the book is a romance. That being said, I had to continually check myself to see whether or not the message was clear without being too depressing or overwhelming.
With the second spiritual message I wanted to awaken readers to the importance of a Christ centered church. This desire stemmed from personal experience. Today's churches are changing, and they're not all going in the right direction. I hope Lucy's experiences will warn them if they happen to be in a similar situation. I also included a list in the back of the book of what to look for when choosing a church.
Cherished Stranger tackles some important issues, but it's also fun and suspenseful. Dorin and Lucy's personalities clash from the start, and each time he speaks in his native tongue she feels defensive because of her lack of understanding. Speaking of which, this was the first time I included a foreign language in a book. It proved challenging, as I didn't want to leave my readers aggravated not knowing what was being said, but it was also fun to research and try to hear it in my mind.
Following is an excerpt from the back cover:
Lucy Durham Watson lost track of her sponsor child during Romania's flood. Now that the Christian organization has located her again, she's not about to lose her a second time. Disregarding advice from her family, she helps Anika and her father gain U.S. citizenship to live on her farm.
Life in Romania's poverty is a stark contrast to the comforts of the Ozarks. A fact proven by Dorin, the father of her sponsor child. Governed by his pride and his disapproval of Lucy's spontaneous and often reckless personality, they clash from the start.
But when Lucy becomes the target of a stalker, everything changes.
Thanks for allowing me to share with your audience, Michelle. It's always nice to meet other like-minded individuals.
"Changing the world for Christ, one reader at a time." -Regina Tittel Regina's books can be purchased at www.reginatittel.com or at most online stores.