Please welcome Christian author Robin Johns Grant.
She shares my appreciation for C. S. Lewis and had included some awesome quotes below. You can read my review of her book Summer’s Winter on Amazon.com HERE.
Help her spread the news about her Christ-honoring book by sharing this post. You’ll find the share buttons at the end.
Now available on Amazon: Summer’s Winter
When preacher’s daughter Jeanine meets her obsession, movie star Jamie, his dark secrets threaten her faith and her life.
C.S. Lewis, Longing, and Summer’s Winter
Robin Johns Grant
I just published my first novel, Summer’s Winter. People ask me what it’s about, or what kind of book it is. Generally these are hurried conversations, so they want a few words, or a sentence, or maybe a genre, to know whether it’s the kind of thing they read.
So I tell them it’s a love story and a mystery—a romantic suspense. It’s about Jeanine, who became obsessed at the age of ten with Jamie Newkirk—and the character he played, Danny Summer—and longed to meet him for the next eleven years. At its heart, Summer’s Winter is about longing.
C. S. Lewis talked a lot about longing. In Till We Have Faces, he said, “It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
He’s even clearer in this quote from The Weight of Glory: “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
That talk resonates with me. From the time I was a child, I would have strong bouts of the kind of sentiment he talked about.
Like Jeanine in Summer’s Winter, my longings for beauty often came through books and movies that fascinated me. Many times, I’ve become entirely too wrapped up in some fantasy world, in such strong desire to visit “a country we have never yet visited” that I could hardly breathe. Like Jeanine, I have been drawn to an actor who brought a favorite character to life for me. Sometimes I found it fascinating how strongly I felt I knew these people, but even as a dreamy teenager, I understood I really didn’t know these movie stars at all.
But I knew the characters they played so deeply—I think I wanted to meet the actors who played them as a way of finally, physically touching that make-believe world. I longed for a land that was somehow larger, brighter, more eternal and satisfying than the one I lived in.
I invented Jamie and Jeanine way back when I was an adolescent, as a way of living out my fantasies, I think. After all, Jeanine actually does get to meet the object of her obsession—and just as in a good fairy-tale, they fall in love. She gets to enter her land of make-believe.
But since Jeanine inhabits a fallen Earth just as we do, reality rears its ugly head. That’s where the suspense elements of Summer’s Winter come in—all the ugly realities of Jamie Newkirk’s life that threaten to destroy her dream. Jeanine finds herself in the kind of danger Lewis warned about when he said, if the earthly shadows of what we really long for “are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.” Jamie Newkirk has become her idol, and when she starts to uncover the reality of his frightening secrets, she’s in danger of losing everything.
This may sound like one of those stories where we learn the danger or having our heads stuck in the clouds—a warning against daydreaming and not living life. But to be honest, I don’t like those kinds of stories. Like Lewis, I think the dreams and the longings and the make-believe lands have a great purpose, if we understand it.
They help us realize we are aliens in this world. That we were meant for something greater. Our imaginations allow us to picture, at least a tiny bit, the eternal home with God that is at the center of our deepest longings.
As Jeanine says at the end of Summer’s Winter, “Even though everything in this life is temporary, I think the glimpses that we get of something that’s beautiful and eternal and beyond…they’re so important. They keep us trudging along. And those glimpses can come from so many places. Our dreams and our stories, to name a couple.”
I hope Summer’s Winter gives you one of those beautiful glimpses.
Robin Johns Grant has been writing for most of her life. In fact, she’s been following her publishing dream so long that she crowned herself The Queen of Perseverance on her blog, where she encourages other weary dreamers. While waiting for her writing to pay off, she wrote and edited university publications; managed an office for a firm of private investigators; and worked as a university financial aid counsellor. She now lives in Georgia with her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral feline, Mini Pearl. And she has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.
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Website and blog: http://www.robinjohnsgrant.com
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