Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Interview with Chautona Havig part 1

Today I’m very excited to interview Contemporary Romance author Chautona Havig!

Chautona’s bio:

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

Camy here: Chautona is one of the twelve authors participating with me in the Christian Contemporary Romance anthology, Save the Date, which releases September 15.

Chautona will be on my blog three times! Twice for a two-part interview, and I’ll post an excerpt of her book, Blessing Bentley.

I’ll also post a special knitting pattern for a drawstring purse that Chautona’s heroine April uses in her novella, Adoring April, in the Save the Date anthology!

And here, he’s me and Chautona!

Camy: Are there any symbols or themes in Blessing Bentley that you want to point out, elaborate on?

Chautona: The Marriages of Conviction series looks at marriage a bit sideways—reasons people might marry other than the more familiar meet, fall in love, get married. In Blessing Bentley, Bentley Girard sees something in her Bible study she doesn’t know what to think about and does a deep dive into what the Bible says about marriage, about love, and about glorifying God and comes to an unusual conclusion. She thinks we’ve got it backward. Instead of marrying for our own happiness and choosing to glorify God in how we live out that marriage, she decides marriage should first be for God’s glory, and our happiness comes as a result. Her solution? Propose to a guy she’s never dated.

Some folks think my takeaway on that is that I think this is how all marriages should be. It’s not. My takeaway from it (and really for the whole series, although each character’s motivations and convictions are different) is that in all things, looking to the Word of God for our answers is never going to steer us wrong. We may come to different conclusions, but we’ll always come to God-centered and focused ones.

Camy: That’s SO true! It’s hard to remember to do my Bible reading everyday, but when I’m consistent, God answers no matter what I’m struggling with.

How did you come up with this story idea?

Chautona: Several things converged to create the idea, but one of the big ones was looking at marriage historically. Once upon a time, marriage was essential for survival. Men needed a wife to do the things a farm needed done that he couldn’t (this is a huge chunk of the history timeline right here) while he was working the farm/hunting/etc. He needed children to help him as he grew older and his body broke down. He needed a wife for both, and women needed a man to be able to get out of their fathers’ homes. They needed a husband for property ownership in many societies. And women traditionally have desired children—also something she couldn’t have without a man. Over the centuries, this need became a norm. Then it shifted from essential to more expected. In the nineteenth and through the mid-twentieth centuries, marriage was expected, but opportunities arose to allow for women to live more independent lives. By the late twentieth century, that shifted again and now marriage became an option—even in regard to children. Single women could adopt or even become pregnant through alternative means. Being a single mother lost a stigma partially because of the reality that a person’s morals were not immediately called into question anymore (and part of that was a breakdown in morality, yes).

All that to say, when I started thinking about how most Americans were one paycheck away from not being able to meet their obligations, I realized that we have kind of shifted back to marriage being a need again—at least for a lot of people. So… that got the wheels churning.

Too much? Hee hee.

Camy: Not at all! That is such a NEAT way of thinking about it! But at the same time, I can see how it opens up all kinds of fun and romantic scenarios!

If your hero were a car (in present day) what would he be and why?

Chautona: A Toyota Camry. Sturdy, dependable, versatile, attractive but nothing flashy.

Camy: Awwww he sounds just like my husband! :)

Finish this line: Writing a novel is ...

Chautona: … a bit like going to the state fair. Depending on how you feel, you can have a wild ride, stroll through bucolic scenes, or play a game of chance. No matter what you choose, it’s going to be fun!

Camy: That’s a really good way of putting it! It also reminds me of how much fun writing is, as opposed to a slog. :)

Do you have a special verse specifically to inspire your writing?

Chautona: It’s a weird one, but James 4:17 inspires me more than anything. “He who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin.” It reminds me that sometimes what I know I should write is hard, but if I know it’s right and I don’t… that’s wrong.

Camy: That’s a GREAT verse! And a great reminder for me as a writer, too!

Confession time: what’s your weirdest habit?

Chautona: Oh, boy! I suspect it’s my exercise routine. At about 2 a.m. every morning I put on my shoes and socks, grab my headband headphones, and head out for a three-mile walk. While I walk, I listen to audiobook mysteries. People tell me that’s weird and creepy. I just think it’s fun to walk where the sun isn’t trying to desiccate you and having a great story in my head is a lot more fun than thinking. If I start thinking, I get irritated that I don’t have my laptop to write!

Camy: OH MY GOSH that sounds fantastic!!!! I would love to do that, except that the area I live in is not the safest. :( I would totally do that otherwise because I’m usually awake at 2 a.m.

I’ll be back next week with the second part of Chautona’s interview. She’ll be talking more about her book, Adoring April, which is one of the books in our Christian Wedding Romance anthology, Save the Date. And next week, I’ll also unveil a brand new knitting pattern of the Newsboy Hat that April wears! Tomorrow, I’ll post an excerpt from Blessing Bentley, the book Chautona talked about today.

Preorder Save the Date for only 99 cents! Releases September 15th!

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