About the Book
Book: Road to Freedom
Author: Cheri Swalwell
Genre: Christian Woman’s Contemporary Fiction
Release date: October 5, 2021
Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.
Wynn and her best friend Addie have been inseparable since kindergarten. Growing up together in the same community, they shared activities, friends, and even the same job. But behind closed doors, their lives couldn’t be more different.
Zane has loved Wynn for four years. Yet Wynn is adamant she doesn’t need a boyfriend. After all, she will never get married. Ever. In an effort to uncover the why behind her ‘no,’ Zane discovers more than he expected.
When Wynn unlatches the door and allows Holly in as a mentor, will she learn trust is just like riding a bike and find the healing she so desperately needs?
Road to Freedom, Book 4 in The Redemption of Green Pines series continues to disclose the messiness of real life. Join Wynn and her friends as they discover how an encounter with God can bring freedom from fear, healing from pain, and the joy of belonging when we choose to let others into our lives, even, or especially, the messy parts.
About the Author
Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, writer and speaker, in that order. Cheri loves to encourage people through her fiction series and many nonfiction books including devotionals, Bible studies, and compilation books. For a full list of books visit www.cheriswalwell.com. If you want to sign up to her newsletter to stay updated on all the latest news, you will also receive a free gift as her way of saying thanks for joining! To read one of her many articles on life from a Christian perspective, visit her blog at http://www.cheriswalwell.com. She loves to interact with her readers, so send her an email at clSwalwell99@gmail.com. You can “like” her on Facebook as well here or join Heart Speaks with Cheri Swalwell, a private Facebook group where we encourage each other and share life together.
Interview with Cheri
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I still don’t consider myself a writer. I’m a Christ follower, wife, mother, writer and speaker, in that order. I never set out to be a writer. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom (more on that later), and when I realized I needed to have a job outside the home, I had my sights set on being a child psychologist.
God is truly the One that set me on this path, and I consider myself His secretary. All mistakes are mine, all encouragement and Truth comes from Him. When God says I’m done, I will walk away and pursue the next calling He gives me, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I am filled up when I write and when I have the privilege of encouraging people through fictional stories and through lessons I’ve learned in my own life.
In 2011 our family prayed and fasted before we entered this journey of writing/speaking. We wanted to make sure it was truly blessed by God before taking one step. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my marriage or my kids if this ministry wasn’t God’s calling.
I thought I’d be writing fiction, published traditionally and writing full time. God immediately took fiction away and gave me nonfiction. He chose for me to independently publish my books instead of working with a traditional publisher all while working various other jobs for other companies.
In 2016, God told me to continue writing blogs, but stop writing books. He wanted me to take a break and spend more time with my family. I thought I was being punished. I thought He was taking writing away for good, but in His goodness, He was giving me a break and helping me keep our family strong. (He didn’t want me to sacrifice my marriage or my kids either!)
A few years later, while I continued to write nonfiction, God gave me back fiction. What had started as a standalone book, Journey Back Home, became instead Book 2 in The Redemption of Green Pines series, a six-book series.
This journey has been God’s from the beginning. While I haven’t heard every direction perfectly and there have been some detours of my own doing along the way, I wouldn’t change this journey for the world. I have learned to trust God with my whole heart, I have learned what it means to fully surrender every part of my life to Him and His ministry, and I have learned to embrace the journey, not just focus on the destination.
While I still don’t consider myself a writer (I’m simply God’s secretary), I love what I do and I’ll keep doing it as long as God allows.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m definitely a combination of a pantster and a plotter. God gives me the idea for the book. I write a rough outline of each scene, seeing the book from start to finish. Then I begin writing. As I’m writing, God usually puts many different twists and turns in there so that by the time I’m finished with the book, it only vaguely looks like the original outline I plotted.
For instance, I’m currently writing Path of Grace. It was supposed to be about Matt and Ariana; however, as I started writing, in order for Matt’s growth to come full circle, God needed to take him on a journey regarding his mother’s past. That twist demanded that his mother make a reappearance in this book, and because God is the great Redeemer in real life (fiction follows life, right?) God had someone in mind to help heal Matt’s mom in this story, too. That reintroduced someone from Adventure’s Invitation into Book 5. None of that was in my original outline, but it makes the book more realistic, more engaging, and reinforces how much God wants to redeem us.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spend time with my family. We love to be outside either hiking, having bonfires, sitting and reading on our deck, or traveling. Being in nature is when I feel closest to God, and the most relaxed. When I’m with my family in nature, that’s when I’m happiest.
There’s an irony to that, though. I’m very allergic to many things in nature – stinging nettle especially. I am currently on steroids after having had a severe allergic reaction that took me to Urgent Care. I didn’t even touch the plant. I touched clothes that had touched stinging nettle. So as much as I love nature and feel close to God in nature, it doesn’t necessarily love me back!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My sister actually inspired the art of storytelling for me many years ago. When we were growing up, she would keep me entertained by telling me stories. I started creating my own stories on long bus rides, as I was falling asleep at night, or whenever I was bored. I had many stories already “written in my head” long before God called me into the world of writing.
Now, in addition to my vivid imagination, a lot of my story ideas come from dreams God gives me. The next series I’m writing after finishing The Redemption of Green Pines series, two of the three books are dreams God gave me, one scene that He developed into a whole book. Road to Freedom, Book 4 of The Redemption of Green Pines series, was created from one scene which was a dream God gave me one night.
The new series, Whispers of God’s Love, is a little more suspenseful and deals with grittier topics than The Redemption of Green Pines. It’s a three-book series and each book deals with another aspect of God’s love. The first book focuses on the love between a parent and child, the second book explores the love between siblings, and the third book unpacks the love between a husband and wife.
I am so humbled when God gives me story ideas through dreams. It makes me feel so close to Him, and I know without a doubt these are His books, His messages, and His words being shared.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I had to write an essay in second grade that asked the question, “When I grow up, I want to be…” My answer was “…a stay at home mom.”
When God created me, He put the desire to be a wife and mother in my heart from the very beginning. As early as I can remember, my goal has been to get married, have lots of children, grow a big garden, raise animals, and take care of our house.
While my life hasn’t turned out exactly in that way, God has fulfilled many of those desires. When our second child was born, I was able to quit my job outside the home and run a daycare for three years. I transitioned into medical transcription for ten years, and eventually found myself working in various administrative assistant positions for several employees while also writing.
By working from home, I get to be a “stay-at-home-working mom” and still have the privilege of raising our kids instead of sending them off to someone else.
God has given me a love for ministry. The next best thing to being a stay-at-home mom would be to focus on my writing and speaking ministry, specifically encouraging others on how to keep God first in your marriage and with your family. My heart has always been centered on creating a godly home, and sharing that with others is my passion.
What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?
I am currently writing Book 5 in The Redemption of Green Pines series, Path of Grace. You can find all my books (fiction and nonfiction) on Amazon or on my website: http://www.cheriswalwell.com.
I also co-host a podcast, the Cheer UP Podcast with host Kara Hunt. You can find us where all podcasts are located or on my website: https://cheriswalwell.com/cheer-up-podcast/
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