• Becca

Cynthia Hilston - Lorna versus Laura

I read a lovely book last month and am THRILLED that the author agreed to be my first-ever author interview here.

Lorna versus Laura is the kind of Christian literature we need to create more often. It's deep and thought-provoking and full of the difficulties that come from being divine beings having a human experience.

In the novel, Laura loses her parents under tragic circumstances and changes her name to Lorna. She moves. She changes her life and her religious views. She does everything she can to move her trauma into the past. Then she meets a man who has done the same things. These two broken people try to carve a future with each other only to discover that the only path to happiness lies straight through all the difficult pieces of life they keep shoving aside.

While the novel is billed as a romance, I found that the writing shone brightest when dealing with the themes of grief and forgiveness. There were beautiful passages like this one woven throughout:

At a few moments, the novel gave me chills. I'm excited to introduce the novel to you as well as the writer. So please read on to discover more about Cynthia Hilston, author of Laura versus Lorna.

Why did you decide you wanted to write this story?

As my second book, I wanted to branch out and try something new. Writing a suspense romance seemed like it would be a fun challenge. I also wanted to explore the themes of forgiveness and healing from great loss.

What do you hope a reader gains from having read your story?

I hope my readers see my belief that our faith and other people play a role in our healing. No one should tread life's path alone, especially in their grief. Healing comes from forgiveness and love.

What is your process for writing a novel? Are you a plotter? A pantser? Do you outline or let the story develop as it goes?

I always know my ending. I have a general idea in my mind of the plot, but I don't really outline. I write down major plot points, usually as I go, but I just sit down and write. I let my characters take me where they need to go. As I write them more, I get a better idea of who they are, and the story forms around them.

What kind of research did you do for this novel? Is there any detail you found in your research that particularly interested you?

Because this story occurs during World War II (1943 most specifically), I had to research what was going on in the world at that time. I had to know where we were in the war and what people were doing in the U.S. What was interesting was that people grew Victory Gardens because of rations. You couldn't just go to the store and buy whatever you wanted. Many items were rationed. People grew their own vegetables, which were aptly called Victory Gardens.

How do you feel that you changed as a person and/or writer after completing this work?

This story really challenged me to explore the depths to which a person can go in their depression due to extreme loss, and I had to write the character's healing process in what I hoped came across as convincing. It was more than falling in love. She had to learn to love herself again. I would hope writing this story made me a better writer overall because I had to reach deep into the heart.

What is your favorite go-to advice for an emerging writer?

Read a lot. By reading lots of different authors, you expose yourself to different genres and styles. You see what you like and don't like. You see what works and what doesn't work. You can't be a writer without being a reader. Review other people's books in a blog or at least leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. This gets you thinking critically about what you read, beyond the "I liked it" or "I hated it." Thinking deeply about what you read prepares you to be able to write better.

What's next for you? Do you have any works in progress?

I'm working on two more novels right now, both taking place during current day. One is related to this novel, but I can't say more without giving too much away. The other novel revolves around a rest area, would you believe? I also have a complete first draft of another novel that's going through edits and will be released next year. It's called A Laughing Matter of Pain and is about a troubled young man whose recklessness causes him to lose everything and how he must rebuild his life. I also have written a horror short story called Latent Infection, which is a new genre (and fun to write) for me. I have ideas for books beyond all that, so I will be kept busy for years to come!

Thanks, Cynthia! It was great to get to know you. Good luck on all your future projects. I can't wait to read more.

Author Bio (from Amazon): Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay at home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Hannah's Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful is her first original novel. She's currently working on more books. Visit her website for more information.In her spare time - what spare time? - she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

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