Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guest Blog with Diane Ashley


When Aaron and I wrote our first book together, Under the Tulip Poplar, we created “bad girl” Alexandra Lewis. She had the wrong priorities and she wanted to steal the hero’s heart from our heroine. At the end of that book Alexandra’s whole world had fallen apart, and we felt sorry for her. We talked about her future and decided she would return to her mother’s family living on a plantation in Mississippi. We discussed what her relatives would expect of her and how she might be redeemed. Then we realized she would need the example of a strong Christian man in her life, a man who knows what is truly worthy of our dedication and love. That’s how Jeremiah LeGrand came into being. We saw him as a man searching for God’s leading. He resists falling in love with Alexandra because he recognizes her shallowness. But he is increasingly drawn to her as she begins making her journey to salvation. So we pitched the story to our editor as the first of a series based in Mississippi.

It was a great deal of fun to take a character who is cold and calculating and show how Jesus can change anyone who is willing to surrender to Him. By the end of the story we hope all of our readers will agree that Alexandra has gained more than a happy ending, more than a hero. She has gained the true peace that comes whenever we give our hearts to Jesus.

Aaron and I were so excited when we received feedback from a Heartsong reader who asked us to write Alexandra’s story because we were able to tell her we had already done it and she could read it this month.

Question from Diane: Have you ever read a book with a secondary character who intrigued you? What book and character? Please tell us about any of our characters you would like to read more about.


  1. I loved to hate Alexandra in the first book! But she is a good example that none of us are beyond redemption. Glad you gave her a second chance. And from what I've seen of Jeremiah I know I am going to love him too. Congratulations, Diane and Aaron!
    Ginger Vaughan

  2. I often find myself looking at villians and wondering how they could be redeemed. It's going to be fun reading Alexandra story :)

  3. Thanks Ginger and Rhonda...We had a lot of fun with Alexandra and we hope everyone enjoys her story. Falling in love with the characters seems to be one of the pitfalls (or bonuses) of being a writer. Don't y'all agree?...Love, Diane

  4. I love secondary characters. :) I love playing the "what if" and "I wonder what happened..." with books and movies, continuing the characters' stories beyond the end of the book. I'm so glad you continued Alexandra's story so readers can have their "I wonder what happened to..." question answered.

  5. Ginger, I think you will like Jeremiah, but probably not as much as you did Adam. Jeremiah is not a bad boy gone good. Rhonda, isn't it great that we know the One who redeems so we can write that?! I do the same thing, Erica! It must be the writer in us. I like to imagine the characters living everyday lives. Is that too boring of me? Oh well, thanks for posting everyone.

  6. Great post, Diane. I usually always want to write a story about my secondary characters. And it is really rewarding when you can write about that bad girl turning out good! :) Can't wait to read it!

  7. Thanks for this post, Diane. As I commented to Aaron yesterday, I'm really looking forward to reading this story! Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  8. Hi Janet Lee! It is always tempting to continue with characters we've already created, so I'm thrilled when we get a chance to do it. Patti Jo I hope you enjoy the story. Thanks to both of you and all the others who have visited our blog this week. Please feel free to let us know what you think about our books. We love getting feedback.

  9. AnonymousJuly 30, 2014

    I love this cross stitch picture of the regency lady in the yellow dress....can you tell me where you got it.