Blog Archive

Contact Me




Created by Templates Zoo

Author Katie Mettner

What God Brings Together

I'm spotlighting Melissa Wardwell and her book What God Brings Together on the blog. Melissa is a Christian romance author from Michigan who has four books available on Amazon. Read on for my interview with her, the Read Inside portion of What God Brings Together, and my review. Thanks for being here, Melissa!

Tell us a little about how you came up with the idea for What God Brings Together.

What God Brings Together came to life on the dash of my car as I made the twenty minute drive twice each week to my kids’ dance classes. It played out like a movie as I passed corn fields and old barns. When I told a friend about it, she pressed me to write it and publish it. I was completely terrified as I knew that spelling, grammar, and proper punctuation placement was not a strong suit of mine. I had no idea where the plot derived from until later during the editing process. It is truly a personal story.

What are the underlying themes of the story?

Much of the story is about forgiveness and second chances. I think it is something that is lost to many today, especially in marriages. We expect our spouse to be perfect, but as life plays out we discover they are flawed. As a result, many have a hard time dealing with those flaws. We want them to stay in this little bubble we have created when we first marry and find it popped rather quickly. The pressures of life can make us act rather impulsively causing us to later regret our actions. When this happens, forgiveness and a second chance is rarely in sight.

How did you overcome the challenges of keeping Emma from knowing who "David" really was? Did you purposely make her blind to the idea that it could be Ryan and that is why she didn't notice his eyes, or profile immediately or recognize his voice?

I think when we are in such denial about something, we can miss the obvious in front of us. This actually happened to me. In my younger years, a particular young man crossed my path several times. We were introduced each time, but I never recalled meeting him before. Later on, I recall having quite a long conversation with him. But it was the last time that we meet that my eyes were opened and everything stuck. Four years later I married the guy. We laugh at how much I still (22 years later) do not recall about our early meetings.
I know some would say “That was just random meetings” but I truly believe God will hide things from our sight until the appointed time. This belief is what spurred the whole “Not recognizing ‘David’ “ bit. It may be unorthodox, but entirely possible.

Was Pastor Cross based after an important church leader in your own life?
Yes, he is. He is based on my own pastor. He has had such a strong, positive influence in my family’s life that I could use no other platform. His message of discipleship and loving your brother are powerful. His willingness to serve God in whatever why necessary is inspiring and his hard life before Christ makes him humble as well as relatable. He has become like another father to many, myself included. I am proud to call him pastor and friend.

Someone like me who has suffered physical trauma would have no problem believing why Ryan did what he did. What do you say to those who might think it was too drastic and no one would really do that?
You can’t say you wouldn’t do it if you haven’t been through it.
Everyday, something happens to someone that would cause a certain reaction. Every person will respond differently to that event. Some will keep a cool head, while others will jump off the deep end and fall into utter madness. You just don’t know what you would do unless you have been in the situation. To say you know what your response would be is complete ignorance.

Following that line of questioning, did you know someone like Ryan in your own life?
In a way, Ryan is based on my own husband. Though he does not have the physical ailments of Ryan, he has had enough hardship in his past that he suffers from depression or a form of PTSD. It has been a wedge in our marriage many times and have had to battle through many situations. He strives so hard to see us protected and provided for that when he does not see the fruit of his hard work doing what he thought it would, he can get pretty down. It takes a lot to keep him encouraged sometimes.

Much of this story is a reflection of a rough patch in our own marriage. The only differences were that there was no divorce and no accident like the one in the book, though my husband has had a few severe bang ups. The three years before I wrote this story were the hardest in our marriage. I had to carry the weight of being “head of the house” while my husband went through the motions of being the provider. It was a struggle to see that even though we lived under the same roof, we were living separate lives. It was the confession that my darling husband was harboring certain thoughts in regards to his own physical life that we decided that he needed to talk with our pastor to get back on track. We also made a point to be in constant communication with each other so that no one was caught off guard again.

How did your own faith unfold as you wrote What God Brings Together? Was it tested, strengthened, or?

What God Brings Together is a testimony of my journey during those years and my own relationship with my husband. The struggles and thoughts of “Emma” are often the reflections of my own. Learning to forgive in order to move forward in life is not an easy task. It requires surrendering my own wants so that I can become a freer person, a better wife, and a better mother. I can’t have peace in my home if I cannot forgive my husband when he hurts me or forgive myself when I act foolishly.

What new projects do you have for 2017?
I hope to make quite a splash with 2017.

In April, I will have a novella published as part of a set. It is being published by CelebrateLit Publishing. It is called “Hope Beyond Savannah”. It is about an interracial couple who are complete opposites and are about to get married. Unfortunately, they must contend with his mother who is not completely thrilled with the idea.

In July, I hope to release another wedding novella that is part of my “Brides of Promise” novella series. this will be following the couple from “Dance and Be Glad” as they join their two families. ( I was a bridal consultant for nine years. To not have a wedding series would be silly on my part- ;) )

Then in November, I hope to release the third book in my “Promises from Above” series, “I Know the Plans”, which is about a couple that you meet in “What God Brings Together”, Brad and Tiffany. Being that Tiffany is Ryan’s sister, you can expect to see Emma and Ryan quite a bit. In fact, you see Emma and Ryan often in both series. They are like the glue to all these stories. “I Know the Plans” will cover topics like infertility, being a military spouse and a hint of an emotional affair as well as the journey to repair a relationship. It has been difficult getting through this one as it isn’t an easy, Hallmark love story. It is messy and complicated and I think it is something that many struggle with.

Can they walk through the doors God opens for them and allow forgiveness to restore what was taken so long ago?

Marriage was forever, at least that was what Emma thought, but an unfortunate turn of events brought her world crashing in around her. Determination to make a good life for her three children spur her to push through the pain of rejection and loneliness she battles. A chance meeting with a disfigured handyman sparks an unusual friendship that turns into more. The only thing holding her back is the memory of her past and what should have been.

His body’s disfigurement and self-torment keep David living in the shadows of society. 

After spending time with Emma and her children, he begins to hope for something he knows he doesn’t deserve. Unwilling to listen to the self-doubt, he hatches a plan to put right what was wrong in his life. If only she would let him in.

I recently finished Ms. Wardwell's book and loved the struggle that Emma and Ryan had as a couple. So many of us have gone through the same things as Emma and Ryan when it comes to raising kids and working, trying to find time for each other, and we often spread ourselves too thin, which is what happened to Emma and Ryan. When a terrible accident happens, both of their lives, and the lives of their children, are turned upside down. It's difficult to go into depth in the review without giving away the plot. I will say the story was a clean read and a faithful walk of two Christians who just needed a little help in remembering that God had already brought them together. If you love a romance with a HEA, kids, trials, tribulations, and joy then you'll love What God Brings Together!
I give What God Brings Together four cups of sweet coffee!

Melissa was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children.

She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle.
All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother's heart but no children of her own.
She hopes that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.


No comments