One of the books that caught my attention lately is Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire. It’s about a pregnant teenage girl who finds refuge with the Martin family. I love the sweet premise and couldn’t resist learning more about what inspired the story. Abigayle has graciously taken time to answer my questions, and I’m sharing her answers here. First, let me tell you a little more about the book.
About Martin Hospitality
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Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she finds herself sleeping in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.
The Martins aren’t a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.
When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?
Q&A with Abigayle Claire
I find that a story was often inspired by a question. Was there a question that inspired you to write Martin Hospitality?
A crazy dream I had inspired Martin Hospitality, so I’ve never really thought about it from the question standpoint! But I suppose one of the questions I sought to answer was what would a family similar to mine look like to someone completely foreign to the faith and how might they be influenced.
Who is your favorite character? Were there things about him which couldn’t be included in the novel?
My favorite character in book 1 is actually Mr. Martin, a controversial character. (Although Gemma and Josiah are of course close seconds as the MCs.) I think about his past and future in relation to book 1 all the time, so yes! Lots not included that still shaped him as a character.
Is there a scene or moment in your novel that really sticks with you? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Chapter 12 was actually the first chapter I wrote and takes place during a fall festival which makes me very happy. I also really love Gemma’s strength and all the tiny developments in that chapter with the drama.
In Martin Hospitality, Gemma wrestles with judgment and forgiveness. What made you want to write about these themes?
I think the themes came along easily with Gemma being a lost, pregnant teen. I wanted her to glimpse God through unexpected kindness long enough for her to stand up for herself and seek the God behind it in her own right. Plus, I think both judgment and forgiveness are things that both nonbelievers and believers alike deal with during their lifetime.
What do you most hope that readers take away from Martin Hospitality?
Tough question! One of the big things is God’s sufficiency. It sounds simple, but it’s so easy to forget. Gemma has to reach her own end over and over again and decide whether or not to trust God each time. But He is worth trusting, He is always there, and He is always capable. And often He’s just waiting to be asked.
What is one question about your novel you are often asked by readers?
“How did you write it?” The answer is that it wasn’t me. It came through a dream and developed a depth and intricacy that no amount of planning or editing on my part could have produced. Soli Deo Gloria.
I also get “Mr. and Mrs. Martin are your mom and dad, right?” from people who know me. While there are general similarities, I don’t consider them the same people by any means.
What have you read recently that you loved, or what’s one book on your reading list that you’re super excited about finally getting to read?
I just finished reading Fawkes by Nadine Brandes in September. I loved her other books, so I expected to like it, but the expansive themes and intense reality of the internal turmoil (with plenty of outside turmoil to make a great story of course!) really blew my mind. I’m already hoping to reread it soon which I don’t do often. Talk about changing people with your fiction! It’s wonderful to see characters grapple with their idea of God in a way that deepens your own faith.
About Abigayle Claire
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Abigayle has been a writer ever since her mother taught her how to hold a pencil. However, she devoted more time to reading words with her green eyes than penning them with her left hand. Inspired by a crazy dream at the age of sixteen, she set off on a journey to self-publish her first novel, Martin Hospitality. Since then, Abigayle has devoted herself to sharing what she has learned through the mediums of freelance editing and her blog theleft-handedytpist.blogspot.com … when period drama films are not calling more loudly. None of her successes, including winning a 2017 Readers’ Favorite Award, would be possible without the support of her Savior, large family, and online community.