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Liz Curtis Higgs adores Scotland. After eight trips to the Bonny Isle and purchasing 775 books on the subject, she may be the perfect person
to write historical novels set in 18th- and 19th-century Scotland. Now that she's completed her Scottish historical trilogy -- Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose and Whence Came a Prince, based on the biblical story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel -- Higgs has moved on to Grace in Thine Eyes (Mar., WaterBrook Press), a stand-alone novel that is loosely connected to the previous trilogy.
Grace in Thine Eyes follows the story of Davina, the child born to Jamie and Leana at the end of Whence Came a Prince. "The story takes place 18 years later," says Higgs. "It's a compelling tale of a young woman involved in an 1808 version of date rape." Davina is taken advantage of by a young man who doesn't know she's innocent. Why doesn't he know the truth? Davina is mute.
Higgs wanted to recreate the story of Dinah (from the book of Genesis), which doesn't include any insight into Dinah's view
of the situation. "As a writer, to take on a character with no voice is a supreme challenge," says Higgs, adding that her book explores the theme of forgiveness. "There's a great deal of intrigue, and it's a real page-turner. The man who violates Davina is immediately repentant and realizes that they must marry before anyone figures out what has happened. Can he win her heart despite interference from Davina's overprotective brothers?"
Family is a key theme in Higgs' books, just as it is in real life. This mother of two teens says that one way she stays connected
to her children is by taking them on vacations, just one-on-one. "Exploring and experiencing things together makes us grow closer," she says. "When a child doesn't have to share you with others, it creates a tremendous bond."
Though her books are inspirationals, Higgs' meticulous research and attention to detail have helped her build a loyal readership beyond the Christian audience. The author notes that her fan base is made of two different groups of readers -- those who know the Bible stories and those who don't necessarily know them but want a good historical read, especially ones set in Scotland.
Higgs began her career in radio broadcasting and public speaking and, eventually, moved on to writing nonfiction. In 1995, she turned her attention to fiction, which she adored as a child. She hasn't looked back since and plans to focus on fiction in the future.
So what's next for Higgs? A series of three books set in (where else?) 1740s Scotland and inspired by a woman in the Bible. The first novel will be released in Mar. '08, so readers will have to wait a little while for their next journey, which Higgs promises will be another captivating odyssey.
"I believe a novel has the power to penetrate our hearts more quickly than a nonfiction book," she says. Higgs' Scottish historical novels are testimony to this credo. With her complex plots and characters, she can transport readers to another world and reach the soul at the same time. -- Melissa Parcel
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