An interview with Judy Baer, Author of Forever Hilltop
Q: Is there a “moral of the story” that you would like readers to walk away with? If so, what is it?
Q: What makes this series different than previous books and/or series?
Surprising Grace and the Forever Hilltop series are very different from my previous books. I’ve written romances, young adult books, non-fiction and woman’s fiction. These new books encompass an entire community and the interactions of many characters. I wouldn’t define it as a saga, but it is a story that chronicles the lives of many people and their deep interrelationships.
God often allows us to be in new circumstances or relationships that stretch us and make us grow. He wants us to be more Christ-like in our everyday lives and often the people we meet or the situations in which we land are great tools for that. That’s what happens for the protagonist Alex Armstrong as he finds himself a fish out of water in Hilltop Township, a spot in the road in rural North Dakota. As died-in-the-wool city boy from Chicago, he’s stretched and forced to grow on a daily basis as he learns to love rural life and the people that inhabit it.
Q: Was there a certain event in your life that you drew from in writing Alex’s story?
I have a particular fondness for rural North Dakota since that’s where I grew up. What’s interesting, though, is that after people from many stations in life read the first book in the Hilltop series, An Unlikely Blessing, they, almost without fail said, “I grew up in a place like that,” or “I know those people, I lived with them!” I think the books hit chords that resonate with a lot of people—it’s about good but quirky people who are trying to do their best, often with surprising, and occasionally dismaying, results. One can learn lessons through fun and joy as well as trauma and sadness. All of this is incorporated in Surprising Grace.