Say, can my teenage daughter read your book?

My novel has officially been released for a week now, and one of the most fascinating and enjoyable parts is hearing all the different reactions to the story. Aspects of the story emerge which I’d never considered while writing it, such as quotes and character quirks and even whole themes. One of those I’m most thrilled about has been arriving in my inbox as a question:

“Is this something my teenage daughter could read?”

After all, two of the main characters are teens: Anniston is 13, quirky and precocious, though somewhat of a loner because of the lies and turmoil brewing in her family. Her best friend, Jed, is a teenage boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but with a heart of gold.

While I defer to the parents to ultimately make that decision, my personal answer is unequivocally


A small part of me might have been hesitant about this, initially. After all, the book, set in 1980, is a modern-day allegory of the rape and subsequent murders which occurred between King David’s children, in II Samuel 13. Though not graphically or gratuitously depicted in any way within my novel, it is obvious that these things do occur within the story.


…consider that Scholastic targets 11-13 year olds for the Hunger Games series.

…consider the frightening statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice about the horrors teens are experiencing in their daily lives.

…consider even more statistics, of which teens are largely impacted, from RAINN, one of the most highly respected organizations focusing on the prevention of seal assault and abuse.

…consider the number of teens in our schools and churches you probably already know who are dealing with things like cutting, domestic violence, sexual abuse.

Now, think about where these teens can find hope.

How Sweet the Sound is a novel written to give readers hope.

Hope that God is in the midst of pain.

Hope that the wounded can recover.

Hope that someone will believe in us when we can’t believe in ourselves.

Hope that beauty comes from within, no matter how scarred and ruined we may feel.

And hope that love wins.

So yeah, I’d say your teenage daughter can read this book.

I dare say, considering all the other forms of media vying for her attention, that she should.


“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” I Timothy 4:12




“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” I Timothy 4:12


What’s been happening during release week?!

Release week is a busy one, and the best part is seeing what folks think about the story, reading reviews, and participating in author interviews. I try to post them on twitter and my author Facebook site as much as I can, but thought it might be helpful to list the fun posts and reviews (and GIVEAWAYS!) which have going on so far this week. I’m so grateful for the warm embrace this story is receiving, and that readers are really finding hope within its pages.

A review by Josh Olds at Life is Story:

Interview with Kathy Harris and Divine Detour:

Review by Kay Quintin at Fresh Fiction:

Review and GIVEAWAY at Relz Reviewz:

Review at Kathryn Svendsen’s blog, Shelf Full of Books:


Pick up a copy of How Sweet the Sound today, in stores and online at your favorite bookseller nationwide! I’ll be much obliged!


Emerging from frozen pain

I was thrilled to see “Let it Go” from Frozen win an Oscar last night. Not only is it beautifully sung and scored, but the lyrics have become a sort of personal theme for my just-released novel.

How Sweet the Sound, at it’s essence, is about emerging.

Emerging from pain.

Emerging from darkness.

Emerging from lies.

Emerging from shame.

Because, as difficult as the opening scenes of this novel may be to read, they work together to demonstrate the power and beauty of the truth when it sets people free.

As Comfort, one of the protagonists hurt most deeply, says,

I feel like the disciple Peter, knowing I am called, hearing Jesus tell me that opening the door will bring freedom and not pain … that pressing through the mist will bring relief and not more shame.

Letting go isn’t about erasing or dismissing the past.

It’s about living free in spite if it.