Author: Amanda Wen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Book: Roots of Wood and Stone
An historic farmhouse holds the key to their destiny…and their hearts. Rachel Hauck meets “Little House on the Prairie” meets “This Is Us.” #splittime #christfic #Kansasbooks #newreleaseTweet
A Faith Through the Ages
Interview by Jenny Fulton
Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer who hails from the plains of Kansas. Her top-selling newly released contemporary Christian fiction novel reveals her love for this land and the heritage that brought her there.
“I started out writing contemporary romance,” she shared, “but switched to writing split-time fiction, with its multiple timelines, because of my love for both the past and the present. I love how this genre weaves the two together.”
In her debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, the past story takes place in pioneer-era Kansas, while the present jumps ahead 150 years to follow the lives of a financial planner who’s trying to move his Alzheimers-stricken grandmother from an old farmhouse and an historian who’s seeking to save the historic structure.
“What inspired you to write this book?” I asked.
“Well, it began with a real 1890s farmhouse only a few miles from where I live. It was the home of my great-great-grandfather, Francis Thomas Little. This house, and a bit of Grandpa Little’s backstory, form the basis for the historical timeline and the way it weaves in with the contemporary one.”
The farmhouse wasn’t the only piece of personal family history Amanda paid homage to as she developed the story.
“My mom has traced our family history longer than I’ve been alive, and as a result I know a treasure trove of family stories, some of which have found their way onto the pages of Roots of Wood and Stone. My past hero, Jack Brennan, is a combination of two of my mom’s ancestors, Francis Little and William Stevens, both of whom were among the original settlers of Sedgwick County, Kansas. My past heroine, Annabelle, is a fictionalized version of another ancestor on my father’s side, Antoinette Patrick, whose father left her with an aunt and uncle after the death of his wife, Antoinette’s mother. I was inspired by the steadfast faith of my ancestors in the face of unimaginable difficulties and sought to honor it both in fiction and by applying it to my own life.”
“Did writing this book change or impact you?
“It did! Like my present hero, Garrett, I’m definitely a type A, plan-in-advance person whose plans are frequently disrupted by a God who’s not interested in following my agenda (especially in 2020!). But the more God disrupts my plans, the more I learn how much better His are than my own.”
Some of the themes woven throughout the story include God’s steadfast love and faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23), the superiority of His plans (Isaiah 55:8-9), and the fact that He alone is sufficient to meet our deepest needs (Philippians 4:19).
“Although my characters live in different eras, suffer different wounds, and possess vastly different soul-level needs, each of them learns to trust God to provide in ways only He can. They discover that fulfillment is found in Him alone.”
“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?”
“My characters go through some very difficult times, but they learn God is faithful, has never abandoned them, and will bring beauty out of their ashes. I would definitely not have chosen to release my debut novel during a global pandemic, but I’m praying the message of God’s faithfulness, provision, and love will resonate all the more through such challenging times.”
Book Blurb for Roots of Wood and Stone
Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact…until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.
Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.
A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love—and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.