Hello, lovely blog readers! Today I'm featuring the lovely Alicia G. Ruggieri on my blog and I couldn't be more thrilled. After falling in love with her book "The Fragrance of Geraniums" earlier this year, my copy of "All Our Empty Places" has been taunting me from my bookshelf. (You can find my review of "The Fragrance of Geraniums" here.)
Anyhoo, let's get this mini-view started!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing. (How did you get started? How many books have you written? Where are you on your writing journey?)
I’m a follower of the Lord Jesus who lives in New England, near its craggy coast. I’m also blessed to be the wife of an Italian-Frenchman and the mama of a “second-hand” pug with an extremely troubled soul.
I began playing with words nearly as soon as I learned to write, and my mother and teachers strongly encouraged me to read good, nourishing books and to scribble away as much as I wished. My mother, especially, really nurtured a love for the written word in my sisters and me, and I am so thankful for her direction as a child and young adult.
I began to think seriously about publication a little while after graduating from college. Before that, I’d written a couple of novels for enjoyment and had been adapting children’s books into plays for a local children’s drama troupe that I directed, but I hadn’t really pursued having my work published. Then, in 2013, the Lord opened the doors for my first novel – one that I’d been working on-and-off for years in one form or another – to be published. Next, in 2014, I wrote and published The Fragrance of Geraniums. By God’s grace, readers were blessed by its realistic portrayal of women’s lives in Depression-era Rhode Island and God’s grace toward them. Last winter, I felt led to write a sequel, which is All Our Empty Places, Book Two in what is now the A Time of Grace trilogy. Book Three, yet unnamed, will release this winter, Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise. ☺
I also have a middle-grade historical fiction series for girls, The Regency Adventures of Jemima Sudbury. Currently, the first book has been published, and I’m looking forward to following that with more in 2016.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
That’s a hard one! God uses different verses to speak to me at different times in my life. But one that comes back to me often is Jeremiah 45:5 – “And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,” says the Lord. “But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.” This verse always cuts straight to the core of the matter, reminding me of Whom I serve, why I do what I do, and to keep my heart right before God, trusting that, even if the Way leads to great loss in this life, He holds my eternal soul in His hands. It is a perspective-changing verse, isn’t it?
What have you read lately that you would recommend?
Oh, I love this question! ☺ What author doesn’t like recommending books? I really enjoyed Tessa Afshar’s In the Field of Grace. I’m not always a fan of fiction based on Scripture, but Afshar did a beautiful job with elaborating on rather than altering the story of Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi. The book is searching and lovely.
What book are you featuring today?
All Our Empty Places, which is Book Two in the A Time of Grace trilogy. Here’s the back-cover description:
In 1935, when the bank calls in her mortgage, Sarah Picoletti – now a penniless widow – finds herself and her children on the brink of homelessness. Sick at heart, she plans to beg her brother in New Jersey to take her family in.
Then Doctor Samuel Giorgi knocks on her door. Godly and well-off, Sam seems to have put the careless ways of his youth behind him, and he also appears to have one desire: to make Sarah his wife, two decades after he broke their engagement.
However, nothing prepares Sarah for the storm that breaks once she makes her decision. Everywhere she turns, the errors of her former choices confront her, insisting on her inferiority and the irreparable brokenness of her past. Sarah begins to wonder if Christ really can bring true redemption or if He is limited by her frailty.
Meanwhile, her daughter Grace faces new challenges in her own life. When her relationship with Paulie changes unexpectedly, Grace realizes that she must make a decision with the potential to alter both of their futures.
Compassionate and intensely poignant, All Our Empty Places paints the portrait of a mother and daughter with broken pasts, who dare to step into a future overflowing with the grace of the Cross.
If you could tell people who are going to read/have read your books one thing, what would it be?
If you ever correspond with me via e-mail, you might notice that 2 Corinthians 4:7 is in my signature line. That verse reads, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (nkjv) And brokenness is a theme in every one of my books (the middle-grade series excepted). God has pressed it deeply on my heart that people – including me – need to keep going back to that. We need to realize our inadequacy, our brokenness, our inability before God can do anything with us at all. We need to realize that we are, indeed, “earthen vessels” – the commonest type of container, not “special” in-an-of ourselves, but – wonderfully and undeservedly – priceless in His sight. We get our worth from His love for us. And we get our ability through His filling of us day-by-day with the truth of the gospel (that “treasure” spoken of in the verse above) – the Good News that Jesus Christ came to save sinners – and to give them life abundantly in Him. Not a life full of the abundance of “stuff” or of more “religion” – but a full of Christ Himself. He will pour Himself into all our broken places, all our old hurts and inadequacies, if we will let Him.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri (author page)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writeraliciagruggieri (personal page - follow or friend!)