Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interview with Terri Kraus

1. Let's start off with learning a little about you.
I have co-authored 11 fiction books, both historic and contemporary, with my husband Jim, who is a Sr. VP at Tyndale House Publishers. I am currently writing The Project Restoration Series (3 books) "solo" for David C. Cook. We live in the western suburbs of Chicago and have an 11-year-old son Elliot, a sweet schnauzer named Rufus and an uppity Siberian cat named Petey. I have worked as a professional interior designer for 25 years. I have been the director of women's ministries at my church for six years, and am a perennial room mom. I have traveled extensively throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the U.S. and the Caribbean. Other than travel, I love photography, reading, cooking northern Italian cuisine, and exploring Chicago with my family.

2. I read that you enjoy traveling, where would you like to go most on your next traveling adventure?
Hmmm---so many places! I'd say the Greek Islands and Turkey are on the top of my list, but I dream of returning to New Zealand —the world in a country, and the most beautiful place on earth.

3. What is the quirkiest or zaniest thing you have ever done?
Probably marry my husband. He's pretty quirky, but in a very good way.

4. What is the greatest gift you have received other than grace and salvation?
The gift of love and laughter from my family and friends.

5. Please tell us about your novel, The Renovation?
I love the metaphor of restoration, which is why I came up with the idea for the Project Restoration series—stories that would follow both the physical restoration of a building and emotional/spiritual restoration of a character.
I’ve always been captivated by old buildings. Poring over books about art, architectural styles, and decoration from all over the world has always been one of my favorite pastimes. As I’ve traveled internationally and visited many of the places I’ve studied independently and in the course of my education in design, I’ve become even more passionate about restoration.
After all, God is in the business of restoring lives—reclaiming, repairing, renewing what was broken and bringing beauty from ashes. I know, because I’ve seen his renovation firsthand. For many years, I’ve worked in women’s ministries. I’ve seen many women—as well as the men and children they love—deal with scars from their past that shape their todays and tomorrows. They all long for restoration—to live joyfully and productively once again—but that also requires forgiveness. Forgiveness of others (whether they deserve it or not) and, perhaps most importantly, forgiveness of oneself in order to be healthy and available to God. Clinging to past hurts or “unfairness,” hostility, anger, grudges, resentment, bitterness, or allowing abuse to alter your self-worth renders your life virtually useless. Unforgiveness shapes your perception of yourself, your outlook on life, the kind of relationships you have, and keeps you in “stuck” mode. It leaves you in a dark, emotionally paralyzing, spiritually debilitating, physically draining state and causes so much unnecessary pain…even addiction. So I’ve become passionate about this kind of restoration, too.
Forgiveness in the theme of The Renovation: The lives of Ethan Willis, a master carpenter and restorer of old buildings, and his son, Chase, were forever changed when Lynne, Ethan’s wife and Chase’s mother, was murdered during a carjacking attempt. This story, set seven years later during Ethan’s dream restoration project—the Carter Mansion—sees both father and son struggle with unresolved issues. Young Chase thinks the death of his mother was his fault, and Ethan allows that lie to remain unchallenged because of his own grief. Like an old house, neglected and in ruins, Ethan’s faith and life are in need of renovation and renewal. Then Cameron Dane, a young reporter on the local newspaper assigned to cover the Carter Mansion project, enters their lives. Seeing his father start a relationship with another woman makes Chase resentful…and makes Ethan feel guilty, as if he is betraying Lynne’s memory. But it is through Cameron, and her own need for forgiveness over an event in her past, that Chase accepts the freedom of forgiveness. It is also through Cameron that Ethan recaptures his lost faith and finds the ability to forgive his son. And as the Carter Mansion is restored to its original beauty and intent, so are their lives.
6. What would you like readers to take way from your novel?
I want them to know that God himself stands and waits, extending the gift of restoration. The light of his love shines on all those dark places deep within us, exposing what needs his healing touch. For when our souls are gloriously freed through God’s renovation, we become whole, useful, and able to extend the forgiveness we have experienced to others. Then individuals, families, churches, and entire communities can be transformed!
Perhaps there are readers who have an event in their past they need to let go of. It is my hope and prayer that by reading the book some will experience the renovation that awaits them through saying yes to God’s invitation of heart restoration…and the life-transforming joy that will follow.

7. What are you currently working on?
Other than just completing Book 2 (The Renewal) and beginning Book 3 of the Project Restoration Series, my current work in progress is the story of an artistic Italian-American young woman, set mainly in Italy during World War II. I absolutely adore researching and writing historical fiction. Since I am 100% Italian and passionate about all things Italian, I’m really having fun with this one!

8. Do you have anything else to share with the readers? Where can the reader find you?
You can check out all my other books at terrikraus.com. I love to hear from my readers, and answer every one.

Thank you so much for visiting with us.


Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Great interview. I write on a blog with other writers that is so close to yours. Ours is Writing by Faith http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com. Great minds think alike, right?! Many blessings to you.

LisaMM said...

I agree, love and laughter is an amazing gift! Great interview!

Donna M said...

Thank you both for stopping by. Be sure to check out her novel The Restoration. It is wonderful.