Today Catholic author Carolyn Astfalk celebrates the release of her novel, Stay with Me, published by Full Quiver Publishing. Billed as an "edgy Theology of the Body romance," this book is a nice, thick read at over 300 pages--and I'd have been happy for more!
Carolyn Astfalk's novel combines engaging characters with a plausible plot. The reader is drawn in immediately by Rebecca, who is blundering through the grocery store with her young niece and nephew in tow. You can't help rooting for this innocent young woman, and you'll find yourself hoping she'll hit it off with the courteous guy she meets in the store.
Stay with Me is a great blend of romance and faith witness and comes complete with a great set of supporting characters like Abby (Rebecca's boisterous sister), Father John (who's connected to both Rebecca and her love interest) and Rebecca's overbearing father.
I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel and I really enjoyed it. Carolyn agreed to answer a few questions about the book for CatholicMom.com readers.
1. Tell us about the fine line you walk in writing "edgy Theology of the Body romance.”
Unless you’re seeking pure escapism, I don’t think there’s much benefit it whitewashing the challenges and temptations inherent in trying to live the virtue of chastity. A story is both more engaging and provides more substance for reflection if the characters experience real problems and inhabit a recognizable world that is often indifferent or hostile to a lifestyle that acknowledges we are male and female, body as much as soul, and what we do with our bodies matters. That said, there are details and intimacies that are better left not even to our imaginations, but simply left out. There’s a point where edgy can become explicit and teeter towards pornography. That’s not a direction I want to take.
2. Which of your novel's characters would you like to invite to dinner and why? (You can only choose one!)
If I were single, I’d choose Chris because while not perfect, he’s a genuine good guy, and I have an unfulfilled desire to ride on a Harley Davidson. But, being a married woman, I’d like to invite Rebecca’s sister Abby to dinner. You never know what’s going to come out of Abby’s mouth, so it’d be entertaining, and I think we could bond over our lives with several small children underfoot.
3. What's been the most exciting part about launching this book? Have there been any surprises along the way?
Seeing such a large project come to completion - or at least fulfillment - is exciting. Most of my days are consumed by managing small, immediate tasks such as changing diapers, wiping up messes, and shepherding older kids. Launching a book exercised some completely different parts of my brain and tried my patience in different ways. The biggest surprise has been discovering how gracious and supportive other writers are. It’s been said a million times, but writing a book and finding its niche are not things you can do alone - at least not well. I’ve been blessed by so many people who offered advice, encouragement, and so much more.
Carolyn Astfalk resides with her husband and four children in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart.
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Copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Astfalk. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is available now from Our Sunday Visitor.