First Place Winner for Christian Fiction in the Pencraft Awards
How far can grace go?
Ava Sanford longs to be known as more than the pastor’s kid. When the opportunity arises to study abroad in Scotland, Ava jumps at the chance to leave the Texas coast and the pressures of Grace Church behind. But she never meant to leave God, too.
Her roommate’s partying lifestyle promises the fun Ava has been missing out on—until a traumatic assault leaves her faith and pride in ruins. As her life in Scotland begins to crumble, rumors race back home, threatening her relationships with her family and friends, including Jack Shields.
A former athlete, Jack keeps his head down, working through college and coasting through life. After losing both his mother and his scholarships, he knows the things you love can disappear at any moment. But when his best friend seems to be next, the nonchalance and security he carefully guards are broken. Fighting for Ava will mean risking it all, and he can’t do it alone. Only God can show them both how far grace can go.
Praise for Outside of Grace
“A delicate, but honest handling of a pervasive issue among young people, and others, who find themselves entangled in a situation they are not prepared to combat. As a first novel, Outside of Grace is exceptional.”
- Annette Geroy, author of Built with Stones of Turquoise
Book Quotes and Popular Highlights
We Too, How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis by Mary DeMuth
Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
Built with Stones of Turquoise, Learning to Live and Walk in Freedom by Annette Geroy
What inspired the story?
The heart of the story comes from my own experience of wrestling with my faith in college. Having grown up in the church and then faced isolation and bullying as a young adult, I wanted to explore the lost feeling many Christians have when their faith is tested. I also wanted to honor the stories of friends who have experienced assault, and tackle the way purity culture adds undue baggage and shame to women.
How did you get published?
Lots of rejections first, of course! I even set the manuscript aside for a while and considered giving up. But I truly believe God meant this story for someone else, not me. He convicted me about it, and I tried again with small, independent publishers and ended up with two offers!
Are there any triggers?
While the book avoids gratuitous details, there are indications of sexual assault and alcoholism. The book has been reviewed by the co-founder of Mount Horeb House, a Christian counseling center in Austin, TX, to ensure a sensitive and accurate representation of trauma and recovery.
How do you find time to write?
Yes, this is a popular question. I'm a mom of three little girls, ages 6 and under. So my answer is always the same: I don't sleep much. I avoid social media and other internet time drains, do housework during the day, and stay up way too late writing!