Today Wednesday Writers welcomes Alice K. Arenz to the blog. Alice will be talking about her book Portrait of Jenny, and why this edgy mystery suspense is a bit different than her other inspirational mystery/suspense/cozy books. Welcome, Alice!
BTW, I love the Gothic look of this book cover!
What would happen if Christians only wrote books that appealed to other Christians? The searchers might not find what they need—no, make that WHO they need. And if a book has a character who is also searching, well then maybe . . .
That said, though Jenny isn’t inherently a Christian book, what I write, “my” words—the stories all come from God. I am literally not smart enough to do the writing on my own. Not nearly smart enough!
Portrait of Jenny is a crossover book which contains edgier language and situations. During the four previous readings, I’d changed many of these for others—on my own—only to realize that I had to change them back. There was a lot of prayer going on here—A LOT OF PRAYER—and a lot of time spent agonizing over things. But I finally got it, LISTENED, truly listened when He said “Stop preaching to the choir. Let it stand.” That’s when I was finally able to finish what we’d started. I know the book isn’t for everyone, my publisher has a warning on it so people used to my other books won’t be surprised. But as with all things, it’s subjective.
Portrait of Jenny
Not even a beautiful woman can save Richard Tanner from his past.
Following an explosive—and public—argument with his ex-girlfriend, artist Richard Tanner races into a rainstorm, gripped by a powerful migraine. He wanders to the gazebo in University Park, where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Jenny—a brief encounter that leaves an indelible impression on his mind—and in his paintings.
When Detective Jack Hargrave accuses Richard of the brutal assault on his ex, he finds himself confronting demons of a past he doesn’t remember. A time when little Richie Tanner walked into University Park whole, was beaten and left to die…a time that may hold the key to his future.
Excerpt from PORTRAIT OF JENNY
by Alice K. Arenz
I was held transfixed as she appeared to float across the gazebo with her eyes downcast, their long, sweeping lashes and her secret smile making it impossible to catch my breath. Coming to, I ran nervous fingers through my hair in an effort to make myself more presentable.
“You should use an umbrella next time.” She stopped a short way in front of me near the edge of one of the picnic tables. Lowering herself gracefully onto the seat, she clutched absently at her pendant as she regarded me with obvious amusement.
I felt the heat rise from my neck into my face, and wondered idly about the last time I’d blushed. It wasn’t a normal reaction for me, my response to the girl seeming to prove just how special she was.
“I didn’t mean to embarrass you,” she said softly, lowering her eyes from mine once more.
“You didn’t, er, well.” I laughed. “You’re right. I should’ve used an umbrella. Actually, I had one when I started out. Guess I left it at my last stop.”
I made a futile attempt to straighten my wet clothing, quickly realized the uselessness of the effort, then sat back to drink her in.
The blush came readily to her face, touching the high cheekbones and adding to her overall beauty. Her eyes seemed to take on a darker hue as the rosy glow spread across her face, and she looked at me frankly, completely aware I studied her every move.
“I’m being rude—”
“No, no. It’s all right. Really. I,” she smiled broadly. “I’m flattered. It’s not often a girl sees such honest admiration in a man’s eyes. I like it.”
She nodded. “Completely. No come-ons, no overt acts to seduce me. Why, you actually seem quite shy, even a little embarrassed to be so interested in me.” She drew her legs onto the bench and hugged them to her as she’d been doing earlier. “Whether you know it or not, you’re really quite sweet. And, I’d imagine, very nice looking when you’re not soaking wet.”
“Thank you. I think.”
“My name’s Richard Tanner.” I held out my hand, but she made no move to take it. Seeing her hesitation, I withdrew it and made a show of tucking the book back inside my jacket pocket.
About the Author:
Portrait of Jenny is the newest book of 2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz. This follows last August’s release of An American Gothic, also a mystery/suspense. Cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (2009 Carol finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 Carol winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (2011 Carol finalist), have been re-released by Forget Me Not Romances.
Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com