Each and every one of us has felt unattractive or awkward at one time or another. Our insecurities often give us the false impression that we are not worthy of the unconditional love and acceptance that we all desire. This sense of love and security is something Margaret O’Brien thought she would never find. In Safe in His Arms (Thomas Nelson/January 29, 2013/ISBN 978-1-59554-914-3/$15.99) by best-selling author Colleen Coble, readers follow Margaret’s journey from never fitting in to realizing the love and acceptance we can only find in the safety of God’s arms.
Q: The heroine of Safe in His Arms feels very awkward and unattractive, as we all do at times. Did you draw on any of your own experiences as you wrote Margaret’s story?
There’s a lot of me in Margaret. Growing up, I always felt awkward and unattractive. I was taller than every boy in my class until I was in the seventh grade. I hated my wavy hair and ironed it when I got to high school in the sixties. I wanted blue eyes, not brown. My feet were too big, and so were my hips. Sound familiar?
Women are indoctrinated from infancy about beauty. We feel we must be superwoman and have it all: beauty, brains, a good work ethic, great with children, a good cook. I think it’s particularly hard for women to accept the unconditional love God offers. We are so used to being held to such a high standard—and failing—that we feel we can never measure up.
What a blessing when we realize we don’t have to. God loves us, warts and all. We are safe in his arms. Safe to tell him our dreams, our fears, our failings. Safe to relax in his unconditional love.
Q: What is the message you hope readers will walk away with after reading Safe in His Arms?
We women are an insecure bunch, aren't we? We wish we had a different color hair or eyes, we look at our thighs and see only fat. We look at other women who seem to do it all, and we feel we don't measure up. It shouldn't be this way. But God doesn't make a mistake and each of us is worthy of unconditional love. I want women to see we can let this issue drive us crazy if we let it. But we can let all of that go and learn to rest in the knowledge that we were created just the way we are. And we're lovable just like we are.
Q: Safe in His Arms features different lead characters than Blue Moon Promises. How is the Under Texas Stars series tied together?
The main character in Safe in His Arms is Lucy's best friend. Lucy is the main character from Blue Moon Promise. There are many familiar characters from town as well. I hope the reader feels she is coming home when she goes back to Larson, Texas in Safe in His Arms.
Q: Has something happened in Margaret’s past that spurs on her independence as well as her suspicions about Daniel?
She's had to fight society and stereotypes all her life about a woman's role on the ranch. She fears he'll take all that away from her. And her father doesn't hide how much he admires this big, capable new foreman. Daniel didn't even have to earn her father's respect—it was just there. She's tried and tried to earn it and has failed. When she first meets Daniel, he doesn't react to a bank robbery the way all the other men in town do either, so her suspicions rise.
Q: Why has Margaret given up hope on finding love, having a family and living a life of her own away from the ranch?
In Blue Moon Promise, Margaret's only hope of a family was Nate whose family owned the next ranch over. Their families assumed they would marry and merge the ranches, but Nate's father brings pretty little Lucy home as a bride to Nate. Lucy is everything Margaret has never been--womanly, sweet, and totally admirable. The contrast cements Margaret's belief that she's not good enough for any man. She's too tall, too competent, and too red-headed.
Q: You have written both historical and contemporary romance. What’s your favorite time period to write about?
I love both. I love the turn of the 19th century for a historical time period. But I do love contemporary. The fun thing about historicals is seeing how humans don't really change. Women still face many of the same challenges. No matter what era, we look at ourselves like Margaret did in Safe in His Arms, and wish we were better.
Q: Is it difficult to keep up with your characters when you are in the middle of writing more than one series?
I have to keep focused. When I have to stop to edit another series, for example, I generally jump back to the earlier one only after rereading several scenes. It can be challenging though, because I'm usually writing one book, editing another, and thinking about yet another. It can get crazy! But I do love it.
Q: This isn’t your first series written in Texas. Do you have a special connection to the Lone Star State?
I cut my "writing teeth" on westerns, and nothing is more western than Texas! While I've never lived in Texas, I love the Lone Star State. It's a happy time whenever I get to visit. You can visit so many different types of things in Texas too, from the green hill country to the gorgeous West Texas desert. And the history of Texas is so unusual.