Interview - Flora Reigada
A little about Flora: She is an award winning journalist from New York. She currently lives in Florida where she continues to contribute articles with her husband/photographer. Where Your Heart Meets God's is a devotional filled with a lot of research and spiritual exploration, not to mention, plenty of pearls and nuggets.
MW: Let's start off with a personal question. Considering your devotional is an examination of Christian beliefs, are you a life-long Christian? And how have your beliefs changed throughout your life?
FR: I grew up in a loving but unbelieving family. However, I always sensed someone I could not see, watching over me and whispering my name. Only after encountering evil during teenage drug use, then suffering a mental breakdown as a young wife and mom, did I recognize the one calling my name as Jesus. I turned to Him and began a journey of healing and communion with God.
MW: That is a strong testimony. Not something to take lightly and I'm sure you've had a lot of help along your journey. I imagine you've had a lot of influences, but who, specifically, has influenced your writing?
FR: I have been greatly inspired by masters of English literature such as Charlotte and Emily Bronte, authors of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The subdued Victorian passion so beautifully captured in their work taught me that intimacy is best expressed through subtle mood and setting, rather than vivid description. John Bunyan, author of the great Christian classic The Pilgrim's Progress, helped awaken my heart to that "world to come." In his literary masterpiece The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis taught me the importance of child-like faith. Then there is the mad genius of Edgar Allan Poe and the perfect cadence in his poem, The Raven.
MW: Lewis and Poe are a couple of my favorites, too. Of course, Lewis is well-known for his academic writing beyond his fiction. Are you a fan of his popular fiction or more of his non-fiction?
FR: Albert Einstein has said that "imagination is more important than knowledge." In The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis exemplifies this, utilizing imagination to tell salvation's story, as well as that of alternate realms and universes. I much prefer Lewis' fiction. It stokes the fires of my imagination.
MW: A couple of your chapters discuss Lewis. You also explore the concept of sehnsucht. Where is your sehnsucht on this plane of existence?
FR: For me, sehnsucht is a place, event or moment that captures something of heaven. On my plane of existence, this is best illustrated by the secure Victorian home where my mother and I lived with my grandparents and aunt while my father was overseas with the military. I can still hear a fire crackling in the fireplace and feel its welcoming warmth on a cold winter's day. The aroma of soup cooking on the stove, still drifts into my memory, as does the pine fragrance of the Christmas tree my grandfather would set up beside the grand stairway. The love of my dear family members surrounded me like a wall. Except for my mother, that wall is now gone and our home has fallen into ruin. However, I anticipate a family that death can never claim and a home that will be forever beautiful, in the Father's house where there "are many mansions" (John 14:2).
MW: Selah. That is quite a transportive illustration. If your fiction is anything like the description above, your readers will be very happy with you. I suppose everyone has their own version of sehnsucht. The last question I have for you is about the pearls and nuggets throughout your book. What is the difference between a Pearl to Ponder and a Love Nugget?
FR: APearl To Ponder is a question related to each devotion in Where Your Heart Meets God's. It helps the reader search their heart about what God is saying and how it might be applied to their life. A Love Nugget is a reassuring truth for the reader to personalize.
MW: That's great. There is so much to take away from you book. The anecdotes from your own life make it easy for the reader to make a personal connection. Thank you so much for taking your time to visit with us.