Readers often ask what inspired me to write The Amen Sisters and where the idea for the book originated. The idea came to me around 1990, about the time that I was able to start talking about an abusive church situation I had experienced a few years earlier. I had a story I wanted to tell, but I had no idea I’d tell it in a novel. I wasn’t even a published author at the time!
Sometime in 1998, I think, after publishing seven romance novels, I signed a contract to do a three-book, Christian romance series with Tyndale House Publishers. The first book in what became The Genesis House series was Awakening Mercy, my first Christian romance, which was published in 2000. The second was Abiding Hope, published in 2001. The third, Enduring Love, has never been published. Enduring Love was the first incarnation of The Amen Sisters.
With Enduring Love, I attempted to tell the story of my abusive church experience in the romance format, but it didn’t work for my publishers so I ended up with a completed book and no publisher. Fortunately, I found another publisher, and in 2005, fifteen years after I had the original idea, The Amen Sisters hit bookstores.
Writing The Amen Sisters was a fulfilling experience for me because the story is my tribute to survivors of church abuse. I tell their story, a story I don’t think many of us think much about. We see the ministers on television who give their repentance sermons and we get to hear the stories of how God helped them pull their lives back together, but we never hear about the broken parishioners who get caught in the middle of the chaos. I wanted to write about those broken people to show that they do exist and to show how God heals their hurt and restores their faith. People laugh at the things that go on in some churches. I want The Amen Sisters to be a reminder of all the people who are hurt by the nonsense.