Author Interview with Marie Wells Coutu, author of The Secret Heart


Welcome to Just Commonly, Marie! I've met Marie Wells Coutu at last year's Christian Fiction Readers Retreat. Marie writes modern day retelling of Biblical stories. Today, she's here to chat a little more about her books. Before we get to the interview, here's a little about Marie. 



Marie Wells Coutu’s newest novel, The Secret Heart, releases Feb 21, 2017, from Write Integrity Press. Loosely based on the lives of Bathsheba and David, The Secret Heart is the third book in the Mended Vessels series. Books in the series are contemporary re-imaginings of the stories of biblical women, including Queen Esther and the woman at the well. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. An unpublished historical novel has also placed in four contests. Marie began making up stories soon after she learned to talk. At age seven, she convinced neighborhood kids to perform a play she had written. After a career writing for newspapers, magazines, state and local governments, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, she returned to her first love—writing fiction—at the age of fifty-five. She and her husband now divide their time between Florida and Iowa.

TO CONNECT WITH MARIE: Website l Blog Facebook Twitter Amazon



Just Commonly – Q&A with Marie Wells Coutu

1. Marie, it was a pleasure meeting you in person at last summer's Christian Fiction Readers Retreat! For my readers that don't know you, can you tell us a little bit about you?

Thanks for having me on your blog, Annie. I loved the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat! Although I can't make it this year, I hope to come back another time.

I became a fiction author a little later in life, when I was 55. I had been a writer all my life, even writing poetry and plays in elementary school. But I found fiction a little daunting, so I focused on nonfiction. I started my professional career as a newspaper reporter, then I taught mass communications, did public relations for state and local governments, and spent 15 years in communications at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. After realizing that I could learn to write fiction and developing a real passion for it, I retired in 2013 so I would have more time to write.

I grew up in Kentucky and have lived in seven states. My husband and I have been married 45 years and have 2 children and 4 delightful grandchildren. We divide our time between Iowa and Florida.



2. What do you want your readers to take away from reading your books?

My first three books are called the Mended Vessels series, and I guess that will be my theme for anything I write. We are all broken people, but when we let God mend us, we can be useful in His kingdom. It doesn't matter what our past was or how fragile we feel, He can give purpose to our lives.


3. Amen to that! For someone who's not familiar with the Christian Fiction genre and is a new believer, which one of your books would you recommend?

I'd probably suggest my first novel, For Such a Moment. It's a modern re-imagining of the story of Queen Esther. My heroine, Ellen, had a difficult childhood but seems to have everything now. When her current situation is threatened because of her past, she finally realizes that God had been there for her throughout her life. I think a new believer could really relate to that.


4. How about someone who's read solely Christian Fiction, but needs a "pick me up", what would you recommend he/she pick up? 

That's a little harder, since I think all of my books can provide a "pick me up"! But Thirsting for More is set in the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina, so it might be a good choice. That one's based on the Samaritan woman at the well, and the main character is a northerner trying to find acceptance in this southern city. She's expected to revitalize tourism for the city while she renovates a historic house, but she tends to repeat her past mistakes.


5. Both sounds really good. What can you tell us about your new book?

The Secret Heart continues the modern-day retelling of biblical stories. This one is based on David and Bathsheba and is set in Tennessee. The governor is running for reelection, and if the truth about his new wife's pregnancy is discovered, it could mean the end of his political career. But keeping the secret is destroying their marriage.


6. Modern day retelling of Biblical stories are definitely a new area I want to dive into this year. For this booknerd, I need to know your "go-to" books that you've re-read multiple times.

There are so many books in the world--and on my bookshelves--that I rarely re-read one. There's just not enough time! If I were to re-read something, though, it would be Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and the entire Zion Covenant series by Brock and Bodie Thoene. Of course, there are some fiction craft books that I re-read.


7. Redeeming Love is a popular one for sure!Thank you, before we leave, where can readers reach out to you if they have any questions? Any events this year?

I love to hear from readers! They can find me on Facebook (Marie Wells Coutu, Author), on my website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or on Goodreads.

Thanks for having me, Annie! It's been fun and I hope you'll invite me back.

Blessings,

Marie

Thank you, Marie! I look forward to your next stop here at Just Commonly!


Wait, there's more! The Secret Heart for Kindle is available for pre-order now at a reduced price, and a prequel novelette of the heroine’s journal called The Divided Heart is available free for orders placed through Feb. 20. To find out how to get the bonus prequel, visit mariewellscoutu.com/books/the-secret-heart.



Title:  The Secret Heart
Series: Mended Vessels
Authors: Marie Wells Coutu
Publisher:  Write Integrity Press
Release Date:  February 21, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Biblical Retellings

Truth is messy. But will their shared secret destroy his political career—or sabotage their marriage?

After a whirlwind romance, beautiful Shawna Moore marries Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee. Now, she wonders if the governor ever loved her or only hoped to avoid a scandal.

In this modern re-imagining of the biblical story of Bathsheba and King David, an investigative reporter is asking questions—the wedding took place only six weeks following the death of Shawna’s first husband in Iraq. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection, as well as Shawna’s reputation, will be ruined.

But keeping their secret is destroying their marriage.

Will Hunter’s choice mean the end of his political career or his family?


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