Conveying Tension Through Dialogue — Judy Hansen

Today I’m excited to welcome back author Judy Hansen as she shares with us how to convey tension through dialogue.

Background of book: This excerpt is from a family who struggles to communicate or have meaningful relationships. They often fight, rarely listen to each other, and go through life trying to force their individual agendas. Jane and Marc are the parents of three kids facing an impending move overseas. Again.

Getting into her gray metallic Subaru Outback, Jane left her cooking class still thinking about the Mediterranean chicken dish she had just learned to make. She loved playing with unique spices, seasonings and oils, finding the proper balance. Turning on the radio, she listened to the local conservative talk show host ranting about the latest crisis in the Middle East and what the US government should be doing about it. Yeah right. It’s so easy to criticize when you don’t actually have to make the decision, she mused.

Looking at the clock on the car dash, she saw that she was running a tad late to get the kids from school. Stepping on the gas, she turned down the radio when she heard her iPhone chirp. Glancing down, she saw a text from Marc. “Call me when u can. Important news!” Jane called back right away, curious what was going on.

“What’s up?”

“Guess what, Jane. The Air Force is sending me to Portugal to work with NATO.”

“Oh wow. How soon?” The news crashed over her like a cold wave, taking her breath away.

“In June, can you believe it?” Marc voice rose with excitement.

“What? When did this come up? It’s already nearly May, and I didn’t even know moving was part of our plan.” Jane felt a chill. Europe was so much closer to all the conflict. Would they be safe? But then she remembered the recent alert sent out by the FBI, stating there were concerns that US military families in Colorado Springs were being watched by Middle Eastern males, and at times approached, right in front of their homes. Nowhere was safe these days. Not even in her own back yard.

“Hey, don’t tell the kids, I want to announce it at dinner.” Marc sounded so happy; Jane only felt increased lethargy, her energy drained from her.

“Marc, I don’t know how the kids are going to take it. You were pretty sure when we moved to the Springs this would be our last move, you were going to retire soon.”
“I know, I know, but this is such a great opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up.” Marc replied excitedly. “I’ll tell you more at home.”

Just a minute ago, Jane had been happy, more so than she could remember in a long time. Now she could barely think. Driving on automation, she arrived at the school and picked up the kids. They all got in the car, arguing about something, but Jane barely noticed. All she could think of was how Marc seemed completely oblivious to everyone else’s needs or desires. Jane felt so conflicted. It wasn’t that Marc was mean; it was just that when he got an idea, he seemed to be on a fast train and everyone and everything that did not get on board faded from view. What Marc wanted Marc got. This time Marc’s insensitivity stung more because they had all finally begun to settle into life in the Springs. Jane felt depression like a heavy blanket weighing down on her. Trying to shake it off, Jane turned on the radio again, tuning it to the local Christian station, hoping to find solace in some worship songs.

And now Judy is going to answer some “tough” questions as we get to know her better:

What are your Hobbies? I love being creative, so when I get a chance, I paint—either with watercolor or some other medium. It feels like my life has been so busy lately, so this aspect has taken a back seat. I am taking steps to reinstate it!

What Accomplishment are you the most proud of? Raising four wonderful children to productive, intentional adulthood. I am so thrilled to be able to be a part of the next generation that is being raised.

Would you rather Cook or bake? I prefer to cook, mostly because I don’t have much experience baking. Recently I have been inspired to try more diverse dishes, such as Chinese. Anyone know of a good cookbook?


About Judy:

I grew up overseas as a missionary kid and experienced many confusing emotions related to the frequent moves.  After receiving a masters in counseling at Denver Seminary, I wanted to write a fictional book telling the story of two families: one that makes the transitions well and another that does not, but how God worked through it all.



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