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Thursday, October 04, 2007


This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)


Kristin Billerbeck


Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.

With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisers, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet, somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.

But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

Q & A with Kristin Billerbeck

1. Does the Trophy Wives Club represent a departure in any way from your past books?

It does and it doesn’t. There’s romance, humor and a feisty heroine – which is normal for my books, but in this one, there are also some serious issues: a neglectful husband, an emotionally battered wife, and the fear of the unknown.

2. How did you go about creating the character of Haley?

I watched a husband take his wife for granted as though she were a plotted plant, and I thought, what would happen when that wife wakes up to her life? What might happen if she never did wake up and her life crumbles around her? I thought about the type of wife who tries to do everything right, but still can’t keep her marriage together, since it ultimately consists of two people.

3. Haley is able to draw strength she didn’t know she had from the refreshing example of a group of independent, professional women friends. What made you decide to focus in this way on the importance of female friendship?

Now that I’m older, I’ve watched marriages flourish, fail and flounder. One thing remains constant and that is your girlfriends. They will support you no matter what the situation is, and I wanted to pay homage to that.

4. Haley isn’t a committed Christian at the beginning of the book – she’s actually a skeptic. What do you think are the advantages to portraying a character who initially has no spiritual or religious leanings?

I don’t really think of it in terms of advantages, or crossing over. I just thought it went with Haley’s character. She was walking through life asleep and one day she’s forced to think about her actual opinions. Someone else has been telling her what they were and she was too weak to realize it. The stronger one person gets in a relationship, the more unbalanced, and the weaker the other person feels. That seemed to be where Haley was in her life. I wanted to be true to her, not preach a message. I write for women and I try to look at the harder questions in life and provide a humorous, lighthearted read at the same time. To me, story comes first.

5. The Trophy Wives Club has a clear inspirational message but isn’t heavy-handed in its use of religion. How do you think this helps the crossover appeal of the book?

I think this is indicative of my faith in general. I believe God meets us where we are. Some of us live godly, straight-and-narrow lives and some of us have to mess life up fantastically for Him to get our attention, but really, God doesn’t send floods or whales very often. He’s subtle.

I ended with this question because this is one of the reasons I loved the book so much. Kristin is right when she says God meets us where we are. Even among other Christians, we can be so different. We are so similar, yet so different. Something I allow my son to do a friend of mine might think I’m horrible. Then again, I may not agree with something she does with her children. I liked that Kristin’s heroine, Haley, was real. She spoke and acted like I would have acted. She was angry, and rightly so. Her scumbag ex-husband kicked her to the curb and she had no say over her situation whatsoever. I think the way Kristin had Haley progress from victimized wife to strong single woman was not only fabulous, it was believable.

If you love quick witted, snappy dialog, along with a great character driven plot, then be sure to pick up The Trophy Wives Club. I’d go so far as to say, if you know someone who’s been through divorce recently, even if they weren’t considered a “trophy wife”, they would enjoy this book. :)

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