Sharon is a wife and mom who has had many adventures, though none have involved an alternate universe (thus far). She has an M.A. in communication and has spent her life working in the arts (music, theatre, dance, and writing). Her other novels include The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, 2006) and Renovating Becky Miller (Bethany House, 2007). Both are HIGHLY recommended by this blogger!!
Susan, a modern-day soccer mom, is pulled through a portal into another world, where a nation grappling for its soul waits for a promised Restorer to save their people. Can she fill that role? While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the minds of the people, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and learns that God can use even her floundering attempts at service in surprising ways.
What was the inspiration for The Restorer?
I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Deborah in the book of Judges, and wondered what a modern woman would look like in that role. The fantasy genre provides a powerful way to look at a familiar story in a new way. I loved the challenge of creating a completely relatable character, and then inviting the reader to follow her into an imaginative journey.
What kind of reader did you have in mind as you wrote the book?
I wrote this story for my friends – ordinary women who are sometimes called on to fill extraordinary roles that they don’t feel prepared for. We may not be literally yanked into an alternate universe, but the idea of being pulled into an unexpected challenge is very real to most of the people I know. I wrote this book for my friends who receive a diagnosis of cancer, or the news that their child has a learning disability, or their parent is battling Alzheimers, or their spouse has lost their job. They suddenly find themselves in a foreign world, facing new rules, and being asked to fill a role they don’t feel ready for. My prayer is that as well as being entertaining, this novel can inspire courage and determination for those facing daily battles.
How closely is The Restorer based on your life?
Susan’s spiritual journey – her desire to follow God and her confusion when the road is much harder than she expected—is very parallel to my own. I’ve never carried a sword into battle, but I’ve faced the challenge of surrendering more deeply to God’s purposes when they didn’t make sense to me.
You said you've always been fascinated by the Biblical account of Deborah. Are there any other Biblical heroines you might tackle in a similar fashion?
Actually, each of the Restorer novels is VERY loosely inspired by a different Old Testament character. However, it’s not at all a Biblical historical novel. I’m simply looking at some of the roles these characters filled, and used threads of their journey of service to God to guide the story of my modern characters. In the first book, the alternate universe is politically/spiritually similar to that of the time of the Judges. The people are tempted to stop trusting the One, they are beleaguered by other nations, and the One sends them a Restorer (a role like the Biblical judges) to rescue them. Susan, the modern-day soccer mom, finds herself in a role similar to Deborah. She is a counselor. She is also someone who exhorts the leaders to trust God when they’ve lost courage.
Will the other novels in The Sword of Lyric series deal with Deborah, or are there more surprises to come?
The second novel has a new Restorer that is similar to Gideon. When Gideon received his call, his response was, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this bad stuff happened to us?” (my loose paraphrase). I don’t stick closely to the incidents from Gideon’s life, but I thought about his attitude, and the type of Judge he was and it colored the story. The third novel has a new Restorer that hints at the role young David filled in Israel after the time of the Judges. Again, it is only a LIGHT touch of inspiration, but those familiar with the Old Testament might catch a few parallels. :-)
Many women in America related to your previous heroine, Becky Miller. What traits in Susan Mitchell do you hope they'll relate to?
Susan struggles with huge self-doubt throughout the book, and questions God’s ability to use her in the roles He has called her toward. She also wrestles some deep disillusionment when the journey is harder than she expected. I think many women will understand Susan’s battle to surrender her will more deeply to God’s purposes – even when those purposes don’t make sense to her. I love Susan’s tender-hearted, relational approach to service. I think many of us have a friend like Susan (or wish we did!) :-)
The Restorer’s Son (the next book in the Sword of Lyric series) releases in September (NavPress), followed a few months later by The Restorer’s Journey. Then in 2008 I have two new books coming out with Bethany House (back in the more contemporary fiction genre). Symphony of Secrets (2/08) and Penny’s Project (9/08).
My current books are available at all major bookstores as well as through my website at www.sharonhinck.com
For a free monthly e-zine and updates on my projects and schedule, sign up to be a Book Buddy at my website!
The Restorer is a great book for the hero – or heroine – in all of us. Sharon Hinck gives us a beautifully-realized world that demands the best that an everyday, run-of-the-mill Mom doesn’t even know she has. Hinck’s prose engages us in every moment of the struggle as the strength of the One drives the battle of the faithful against unimaginable odds. Excellent characters and an intriguing plot provide readers with great entertainment along with spiritual inspiration and enlightenment. I simply loved this book, hated for it to end, and am grateful that there’s another in the Sword of Lyric series coming soon.
~ Kathryn Mackel, author of Outriders and Trackers
“A compelling adventure, an engaging heroine, a unique and fascinating other world. The Restorer satisfies on many levels. Skillfully incorporating themes of faith, sacrifice and the power of words to deceive or deliver, Sharon Hinck has crafted a tale that resonates in both soul and spirit. A welcome addition to the expanding genre of Christian fantasy. Don’t miss it!”
~ Karen Hancock, author of the Christy Award-winning LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN-KING series.
I knew that Sharon Hinck was a gifted writer, and I knew that her ability to write details was impeccable. What The Restorer showed me is just how big her imagination is! She's taken two concepts that have no right to work in the same story -- a harried housewife and a sprawling fantasy world with its own science, culture, and rules -- and smashed the two together into something altogether fresh and compelling -- even for a red-blooded, testosterone-driven guy like me. She zigged every time I expected her to zag, and the world she created is full of mystery and suspense and the awe of discovery. But it's the characters, especially her soccer-mom-come-prophesied-hero, who keep you coming back for more.
~ Robin Parrish, author of Relentless; creator of Infuzemag.com
"Sharon Hinck has done a remarkable job in writing a fantasy for people who don't normally read fantasies. A soccer mom finds herself in an alternate universe where she has to save her adopted people from vastly more powerful enemies. Loved the swordplay. Loved the spiritual insights. Most of all, loved the main character, Susan Mitchell, a compelling mix of Everymom and Wonder Woman."
~ Randy Ingermanson, award-winning author of Retribution
"I don't even have a copy yet, but I know I'm going to LOVE it! Sharon has a way of tapping into the heart of every woman and drawing the reader into the story. Prepare to take a journey of unexpected proportions that will have you begging for more!"
~ Deena Peterson, renowned blogger, A Peek At My Bookshelf