My guest today is Bonnie Hopkins, author of Seasons, Now And Then Again, Destiny, and Beyond The Break. Bonnie is a retired Community Relations Consultant for the Houston Police Department. She writes from a foundation of Christian principles, life experiences and observations.
You have written four novels. Three are in the Riverwood series. Which three are in the series?
The three books currently in the Riverwood series are: ‘Seasons,’ ‘Destiny’, and ‘Beyond The Break’.
Why did you decide to write a series?
A series was not the original idea. The series is basically an Ephesians 3:20—above and beyond work of God, in that it grew out of one story (‘Seasons’) and continued to expand and unfold into more stories as I was writing it. Truthfully, it is a story that just wouldn’t end, and which I have enjoyed pursuing.
I was introduced to your books through Seasons. Briefly describe the storyline.
Sometimes it seems as though a dark stormy cloud hangs over you and refuses to move. Such was the case with Jacetta (Jaci) Winters in ‘Seasons’. After struggling through one difficult season after the other, Jaci reaches the point of giving up on hopes, dreams, or a better life. She finally prayed, asking, “Lord, is this all You have for me?” God answers and brings a new beginning and hope for the future, but not without a multiplicity of hardships and troubles that tempt her to run back to her old existence and hide. Through it all, she eventually realizes it’s always too soon to give up. The story is full of relevant life issues and delivers the hope-filled, inspiring and encouraging message – God definitely controls every season!
Why was it important for you to write Seasons?
While reading through my numerous prayer journals and being blessed by how God had delivered me through many difficult circumstances, I decided others would be blessed by the inspiration I received from reflecting on God’s faithfulness, and decided to do a devotional. BUT GOD had a different plan—not a devotional—but a book. It took much prayer to convince me of this, and ultimately ‘Seasons’ began as an experiment to see if I was really hearing from God. You see—writing a novel had never entered my mind. BUT GOD had a plan. I didn’t think I had the words or the creativity to tell a story. BUT GOD knew because He had charted my entire career to prepare me, (although I didn’t realize it at the time). It was only when I submitted to God and prayerfully laid my hands on the keyboard to bring out the thoughts running rampant in my mind that words poured out like a busted dam or levy, developing into characters, plots, and scenes that eventually became a story. Indeed, God shaped the story He would ultimately use to encourage others and instill hope for the future in them. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is your motto? What words do you live by? Why?
“BUT GOD!” (based on a passage of Scripture in 2 Corinthians, 4th chapter) are words of comfort and reassurance when I’m faced with difficult situations, so I suppose that would be my motto. However, Jeremiah 29:11, and Romans 8:28 are also favorites. Why? Because I’m amazed at how God works in all things (life experiences, lessons and observations) and causes them to work together for good—and it is He who helps me craft stories that dramatically illustrate that fact through the lives of fictional characters.
What is the storyline of Now And Then, Again?
If you’ve ever wanted to do unto someone just as they have done to you . . . well, this story covers that and so many other issues. Savannah (Vann) Sinclair is finally at an enjoyable, exciting place in her life—until a request comes out of the past from a person she’s prayed hard to forget—the most unlikely person who committed a devastating wrong against her. Her peace is shattered when she is challenged to walk out her Christian talk of love and forgiveness, knowing with certainty that doing so will destroy her new life. She is definitely in a battle between obeying God’s will or following her own desires.
Why is this book not in the Riverwood series?
The idea for the story, ‘Now And Then, Again’ came from my publisher at the time. Of course my desire was to pursue what I had decided would be a follow-up to “Seasons”, but the publisher, who was not interested in the series, insisted on going forward with her own idea. Since obtaining a book contract was more important than my personal desires, the Riverwood series was pushed to the back burner.
What reaction have you received from readers of this book?
‘Now and Then, Again’ has received mostly 5 star reviews. Below is just one of the wonderful Amazon.com reviews on this book.
I never imagined what a fantastic find this book would be. I bought it some time ago but just got around to reading it. I could have kicked myself for not picking it up sooner, although part of me is glad I saved it. Like another reader stated, it makes you want to read it over and over. The author has a way of making you feel as though you are a silent witness to all that went on in the story. I found myself taking sides, liking and disliking certain characters. Never have I been so involved with a story. I wanted to jump ahead just to ensure things were going to end the way I hoped. I laughed so hard my husband couldn’t believe I was reading a book. I also cried too. But the most significant thing that occurred was my hearing a word from God. Every scripture reference and prayer uttered was like an invitation from God for every reader to lay all your burdens on Him. I am so amazed at the perfection in the way this story was told, just a perfect blend. I am certainly hooked. God Bless you, Bonnie.
Describe the storyline of Destiny.
Can two totally opposite people—with conflicting lives and issues—merge their lives into one destiny? That is the question when Anita Stanhope, widow of a playboy/abuser, and Ron Gilmore, confirmed playboy, explore the possibility. If you’ve ever been in a place of confusion and conflict and wondered, ‘what was I thinking?’ then you will be inspired by their controversial journey as this couple fights through their personal issues and conflicts to discover God’s will for their lives, and receives unexpected ‘help’ to move them toward destiny.
What motivated you to tell this story?
I thought it would be exciting to explore the possibilities and questions this story raises since they both had seemingly insurmountable issues.
‘Destiny’ is an outgrowth of ‘Seasons’ and a part of that exceeding, abundantly above from God occurrence I mentioned in question #2. The story is the second of four female cousins introduced in ‘Seasons’ —the book which started an itch that had to be scratched, or in other words, the continuation of a story that had not been finished.
What inner motivation carries you as you write your books?
The motivating factor in my books is the desire to encourage readers. I write from principles based in the Word of God, and my stories are centered in real, relative life issues that readers can identify with. The fundamental message inherent in all my stories is that when a life chapter closes, we can trust God for a new beginning, because in God there is always a hope and a future.
We will continue our conversation next week with Bonnie and talk about her new book, Beyond The Break
Bonnie Hopkins is a mother, grandmother, godmother, prayer intercessor, encourager, teacher, mentor, helper, friend and writer. She retired from the Houston Police Department to pursue her goals, but to her surprise, every path led to writing. She eventually came to understand that it was God calling her into a writing ministry. Although fictional, her stories are centered in realistic, relevant life issues that encourage, inspire and motivate readers to keep looking to Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of their faith. In addition to writing, Bonnie is a mentor and coach to aspiring writers. Bonnie’s books are bestsellers, recipients of awards and recognitions, and have been a blessing to countless readers.
To find out more about Bonnie Hopkins, click the link to visit her website
To read her books, click on the links below: