Today I’m thrilled to welcome Julie Arduini as she shares the writing process for her and her daughter, Hannah. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.
Last month the second book in our Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series, You’re Amazing, released for females of all ages. My teen daughter, Hannah, is the brainchild as she started telling me a story about a group of girls. She said she wanted to help girls younger than her so that when others say things that hurt them, the girls will be armed with God’s truth. The more she talked about these girls, I realized Hannah had a story, and a good one. I offered to write it if she would see the process through with me.
Hannah plotted a three-book series.
You’re Amazing was more of a challenge than You’re Beautiful because we featured different characters from the Linked mentoring ministry. In You’re Beautiful, the middle school aged girl was loosely based on my experiences growing up, as well as things Hannah experienced and observed around her. In You’re Amazing, Jazmin is loosely based on a friend from church we adore. In real life, the friend loves food and is an incredible dancer. That meant to build a well-dimensioned character, we had to develop other characteristics about her and research the dance part.
I volunteer with our youth group and am naturally a people observer, so creating Jazmin came easy as I watched teens interact. Jazmin is respectful and obedient, but there’s a touch of sass to her, and when she’s had enough, she’s done. Family is important to her, and she treasures her friends. I was able to use phrases for that age group because Hannah kept me in check. What sounded crazy to my adult critique group readers was right on track for Hannah and her real-life friends. Those were things they said daily in their conversations.
Lena Calloway is our other main character, she represents the adult in the mentoring group who also struggles believing a lie about themselves. Lena is a composite of the feelings moms with young children struggle to have. There were things I could relate to, or I observed. A lot of my research came from my own time in the wonderful ministry MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers. There’s a scene about hiring a maid service when Lena’s mom comes to town. That was something I heard a group of moms confessing in a locker room. Feeling unworthy and not good enough is a theme all ages deal with.
As far as the dance, that is definitely not something I’m well versed in. I approached a college friend because what was going to be asked of Jazmin was going to be in advanced of her age group and even skill level. Our friend Alanis is a talented dancer in Upstate NY who graciously looked over the manuscript and gave me amazing suggestions on how to make the dance scenes more authentic. I also had Lena try a clogging class as an homage to Hannah’s sister, Mandy, a mom who enjoys clogging.
I think you could ask any author and they will tell you no two stories come together the same way. Although You’re Amazing was more of a challenge, I enjoyed the process. Hannah and I both believe readers will be encouraged by the message You’re Amazing gives.
I’d love to put a copy of You’re Amazing in your hands. Please leave a comment about a middle school memory or one where you were a parent of a young child and I will choose one randomly. US winner has a choice of print or eBook. International winner automatically receives an eBook.
Thanks for letting me visit today!
About the book:
Book 2, Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’
Jazmin’s a natural at dance until a series of changes make her wonder if she should even keep up with her favorite hobby.
Lena’s a mom with young children overwhelmed with her schedule when a woman remarks that what Lena does isn’t even important.
Both Jazmin and Lena belong to Linked, a mentoring ministry where all ages encourage each other and build friendships.
Can these two surrender the lies they are believing and realize they are amazing?
A novella for tweens, teens, and women of all ages by mother and daughter team Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini.
Order You’re Amazing:
About The Authors
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series SURRENDERING TIME, (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her latest release, YOU’RE AMAZING, is a book for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenaged daughter, Hannah, and is book 2 in their SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ series. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, as well as monthly with Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.
Hannah Arduini is in the ninth grade and lives outside of Youngstown, Ohio. She loves fashion, Starbucks, and serving at church. She has a brother who lives at home, and siblings that live in Wisconsin. She also has two nephews. You’re Amazing is her second published book.
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The last of the firetrucks pulls away, and the smell of destroyed dreams fills my lungs. Mom’s hand on my back is the first sensation I’ve had since Miss Elena called with the news.
The dance studio is gone.
Mom reaches for my shoulders and turns me so we’re face to face. “Jazmin, this isn’t the end of your dancing life. This is a terrible setback—nothing more.”
My lip quivers, so I clamp down with my teeth in hopes I can control something, anything. Like my ocean of tears ready to fall.
Miss Elena, Dance Academy founder and my teacher, approaches us. Her usually tight bun is loose, and wavy strands of black hair frame her face. Her brown eyes seem dulled, and not by the smoke. “Sweet Jazmin, it was so kind of you to come and make sure I was okay. There’s nothing we can do here. You should go home.”
“Do the firefighters know what happened?” Mom leaves my side to give my teacher a hug. Miss Elena pauses as a sob escapes and she covers her mouth with her hand for a moment.
Her words are slow to come, probably marked by exhaustion. “Nothing definitive, but the chief mentioned possible faulty wiring.”
I kick at a pebble on the sidewalk before looking to Miss Elena. “What happens now?”
She stretches her hand toward me, cupping my cheek. “We rebuild.”