Torn Asunder definitely contains more romance than any of my other books to date. (Ironically, it also had a higher death count than any other of my books to date.) There's no way I could have written Hannah and Simon's story if I hadn't already known what it was to love (and risk losing the love) of a man as wonderful as my husband.
My husband and I have been married for a little over ten years. Our marriage has weathered its share of storms, especially during our first year when we moved to a different state, started a brand-new youth ministry, and suffered two miscarriages. But even though we’ve had our rocky seasons, I am blessed to be able to say we are very much in love.
Unlike Hannah and Simon, we’ve never had to sneak across international borders for the sake of the gospel. We’ve never had to choose between divulging mission secrets or watching the other get tortured. However, during our courtship, we experienced some trying times that often made us wonder if we would ever be together.
When we met, I was in college near Boston, and he was living in southern California. His job was to recruit me for a short-term mission trip to Russia, but the more we talked about missions, the more we realized we shared the same passion and life goals. Long story short, we were seriously courting a full year before we ever met face-to-face, and he bought my engagement ring before even seeing a picture of me. (Obviously, this was in the days before Facebook!)
I was a senior in college at the time but was still only 19, so you can imagine there were some people who freaked out at the idea of a long-distance romance like ours. At one point, we called off our engagement and gave up contact with one another completely. For months, I doubted I would ever hear from him again. (To this day, I have nightmares where we are separated and I can’t remember his phone number.)
Our relationship wasn’t as dramatic as Hannah and Simon’s (although I do believe it would make a very enjoyable Christian romance), but I can still sympathize with Hannah and her fear of being torn away from the man she loves.
Years later, I can't imagine where I would be as a writer if it weren't for my husband's encouragement. If he weren't cheering me on and believing in me every step of the way, I doubt I would have found the courage to write at all. And I know for a fact I couldn't have written Hannah and Simon's story if I hadn't been blessed with a love like his.
Be sure to check out the newly-released audiobook version of Hannah and Simon's story.