Author Interview with Jennifer Sienes: Itty Bitty Faith

Today I’m thankful to introduce you to Author Jennifer Sienes and her book Itty Bitty Faith, can you help me welcome her for an author interview.

What inspires you the most?

I have always loved reading, and I believe the desire to write was put on my heart by the Lord when I was only twelve. Even though I took every writing class possible through high school and college, my stories had no depth, and my characters were one-dimensional. That all changed after a season of great loss and grief—the near-death of my teenage daughter (and months of rehab for TBI), my mom losing her battle with leukemia, and my ex-husband abandoning our 22-year marriage—all in the span of eighteen months.

But the Lord was not only with me, He elevated me above the pain and redeemed it all. Anyone who pursues Jesus with their whole heart will receive the same grace I did. This is what inspires me in my life and in my stories. Hope. Grace. Redemption. There are no greater gifts than these.

What are your hobbies other than writing?

When it comes to hobbies, the saying Jack of all trades, master of none describes me. I’m like a kid with shiny objects. I knit, sew, and create cards (to list just a few). But what truly draws me is working in my yard, home décor, and more recently, building a dollhouse. I usually get a second glance when I admit this one, because why in the world would a grown woman make a dollhouse? But it’s something I’ve wanted to do since childhood, and my husband surprised me with a dollhouse kit for my birthday eighteen months ago. Right now, because it’s summer and my flower garden calls, it’s sitting in my hobby room awaiting the next phase—the installation of electricity.

I intend to bring this particular hobby into my next series. Until I started working on mine, I had no idea there is a culture surrounded by “miniatures,” and I thought it would be fun to explore in a dual timeline with a quirky main character, post-Civil War mystery, and lots of romance.

Do you have a genre that you would never write? (In the Christian genre sphere i.e. speculative, historical, contemporary, etc.)

There are a few genres I wouldn’t consider tackling: fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative for various reasons. First off, I haven’t been blessed with the creativity these genres would require to be worthy of my readers. Secondly, I don’t read these genres—which may be why I don’t have the creativity to pull them off. If I can’t see myself in a story, I tend to have a hard time buying the plot. However, I am in awe of authors who do. They are exceptionally creative.

What is one thing in your life that you would say has had the greatest impact on your writing? Or in your life in general?

The one thing that has the greatest impact on my writing and my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Without His grace, I would never have even believed in myself enough to pursue this career. Without His grace, I wouldn’t have the kernel of an idea to start a book let alone finish it.

I cannot write a story that does not have the grace of Jesus woven through it. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, so if my main characters don’t start out loving the Lord, they will by the end. There is no happy ending for anyone apart from Jesus Christ.

Lastly, what was your favorite book growing up?

This is an easy one—To Kill a Mockingbird. I still remember my sophomore year in high school, each person in my English class was given the choice to read To Kill a Mockingbird or Lord of the Flies. Obviously, I chose the former. I couldn’t put the book down and read it so fast, my English teacher made me read Lord of the Flies, too, to keep me occupied while the rest of the class caught up.

At the time, I had no idea there were movies based on both books, and when we’d completed the assignment, our teacher showed us both. It’s rare to like a movie based on a book better than the book itself, but To Kill a Mockingbird was one of those rare occasions. I own it today—in fact, we just recently watched it. Again. I bet I can recite every line along with Gregory Peck. My son loved the book so much when he read it in high school, he used Atticus Finch’s courtroom scene for his theater production assignment. Guess it runs in the family.

About the Itty Bitty Faith

Book: Itty Bitty Faith

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, and Southern Fiction

Release Date: July 18, 2023

Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you…

As a single mama, Alyssa Mitchell learned to depend on no one but herself while raising her boy. She never even gave Jared’s daddy a single thought—well, not often anyway. Why would she when he left her behind to go off and save the world? It didn’t matter one little bit that he was unaware she was pregnant, she felt betrayed just the same. But when she overhears Jared lamenting over not even knowing who his daddy was, she tucks her pride away long enough to track him down.

Brandon Jamison spent years bringing clean water to third-world countries. It was downright confounding why God would see fit to bring him back to the States – with no job or clue what to do next. That is until Alyssa Mitchell shows up and drops a bomb – Brandon has a seventeen-year-old son. All his past failures and shame came to the surface just like the lemon in Mama’s sweet tea.

It’ll take more than itty-bitty faith to put the past behind them. Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies–two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

More from Jennifer

It’s easier for me to write an entire novel (or novella) then to come up with a title. I wasn’t impressed with Itty Bitty Faith, and hoped my publisher might change it. No such luck. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to fit.

I love that the Bible tells us in Matthew 17:20 “…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Faith as small as a mustard seed is what I’d call itty bitty faith.

Even though I was raised in the church, I didn’t come to truly know Jesus until everything I held dear was taken away, and I had nowhere to go but my knees. Some of us like to think we’re in control—and I was no exception. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”—Proverbs 16:18. And boy, was I proud. But it didn’t keep my children safe, or my marriage intact, or my mother from dying of cancer. And it wasn’t until I acknowledged the goodness and sovereignty of God (yes, that’s sometimes a hard one to reconcile) that I began to truly grow in my faith.

Alyssa Mitchell struggles with a faith-crisis of her own. A single mother to a teenage boy, living under the same roof as her own mama, she thinks her family is a victim of some cruel curse. The high school boy she loved left her alone and pregnant to serve the Lord. It’s enough to make her suspicious of the so-called righteous, and she’s held onto bitterness longer than a body should. It’s not until she hears her son Jared lament over never knowing who his daddy is that she takes a step of faith (although it’s not what she’d call it) to search out Brandon Jamison.

The key theme in this story is how God works in the background to give us the desires of our hearts long before we even know what they are. Isn’t that incredible? We just need to open our hearts and eyes to see His hand in every detail. Bitterness is poison to the soul, but when we can let go of it and trust in Him, life has a way of working out far better than we can hope or imagine.

I pray you will enjoy this journey alongside Alyssa, Brandon, and Jared. And that even if your faith is still itty bitty, the Lord will grow it to gargantuan proportions.

Giveaway in celebration of Itty Bitty Faith!

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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