Carre Armstrong Gardner is a former worker with children at risk in Russia. Now she lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and three teenagers, where she writes books and works as a nurse. Visit her at carregardner.com.
A few Q&A with Carre:
Life doesn’t always go as expected for the characters in your book (and for us in real life). What are some ways you’ve learned to respond when this happens?
Living and working in Russia was a great training ground for this: life hardly ever went as expected there, both in small ways and big. There were constant curve balls; lots of disappointments and also wonderful, unexpected surprises. I learned to roll with it; I had to, in order to save my sanity. When I came back to the States, a pastor friend said, "Wow, Carre, you’re so much less uptight than you used to be!" How’s that for a back-handed compliment? But I took it in the spirit it was intended. I think there are a couple of keys to how to handle life not going as we expected. The first is to get your own expectations out of the way from the start: expectations that you’re going to get what you deserve; that your kids are going to turn out well; that other people are going to live the way they should live. Disappointed expectations are the root of all bitterness. In fact, we are promised very little by God: we are owed even less. When our expectations are low, it clears the way for gratitude. And gratitude is the second key: it has the power to change our outlook on everything. Paul’s injunction to give thanks in everything means that sometimes we have to give thanks even when we don’t understand a situation; even when there seems nothing to be thankful for. It can be a real discipline. Like all disciplines, the gratitude muscle should be exercised during the less-than-dire times. Then, in times of crisis when we need to call on it, the habit will be there.
What is next for you, writing-wise?
I’m working on a young adult series. Sort of a futuristic mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Very different from the Darlings! I’d like it to be an allegory of the Gospel for people who would not read the Gospel otherwise. And I’m working on some short stories.
*Thanks to the Tyndale Blog Network for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*