Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bratwurst and Bridges

Bratwurst & Bridges: A Look at What Goes Into a Story and why it was written
by Susan M. Baganz

I wrote Bratwurst & Bridges two years ago. Before it released I read it again and was surprised at how much of myself was in this book. The story resonates more with me now than ever before.

I’ve been in ministry in paid and unpaid positions for years and it seemed too coincidental that as my book released I would find ministry and life to become overwhelmingly challenging. I’ve shed Dan and Skye’s tears in real life over the burdens I’ve had to carry over choices I’ve made. Even good choices have consequences and not all of them are always pleasant. So was it prophetic or is it a spiritual battle that ensued as this book was about to come out to be read by others? I don’t really need to know the answer to that. I only need to cling to Jesus and to the family I have in the body of Christ, the church.

That’s why this is the Orchard Hill Romance series. Orchard Hill is a fictional church loosely based on the churches I’ve been a part of that have been so instrumental in my spiritual and emotional growth. Every book in the series: Pesto & Potholes, Salsa & Speed Bumps, Feta & Freeways, Root Beer & Roadblocks and now Bratwurst & Bridges, take place with the church
being a touchstone for growth and support through the trials and joys of life. Each story stands on its own but characters from previous novels do appear in later ones.

For many people, the church is not a safe place and I read articles all the time about the reasons people don’t want to go to church or excuses for why the church isn’t all it should be. But the church is more than a worship style or charismatic pastor. The church is the people who attend, who seek to follow and honor God and grow in their faith—not just in spiritual knowledge either, but emotionally. If we grow in one and not the other, we are not going to have the impact on the world that God desires. Not that he can’t use us in our brokenness. All my stories prove that is false. Sometimes God uses us most in our broken places. He never wants us to stay stuck there though but shine a light for others who come along behind us, limping and bleeding from the slings and arrows life on a sinful world throws our way.

My hope and prayer is that those who read these books, no matter where they are in their walk of faith, or even if they don’t believe in God, would see the broken beauty of the church and the power of God at work in and through her members. I pray they would be encouraged, comforted and challenged to persevere in their own journey of growth in becoming more like Christ and find a healthy church to be a part of.

I think Paul summarizes the idea of our collective and individual growth in maturity in Colossians 1:9b-12: “…we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” [

My hope and prayer is that my books will have an eternal impact on those who read them—spiritually and emotionally as they grow more to be who God created them to be. It’s what I pray for my children as well. My heart is in all my books, and I hope you find some of your own there too.
            ~Susan M. Baganz

About Susan
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Editor with Pelican Book Group’s imprint: Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.
Susan speaks, teaches and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones—snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

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  1. Susan, thanks for being my guest today. I always enjoy these peeks into the creation and writing of a book. And I love your creative titles!

  2. Having read some of Susan Baganz's other contemporary romances, I will surely be reading this new one! thanks for having her on.

  3. Thanks for dropping in, Susan. I have yet to read Any of Susan B's books, but I think I'll have to remedy that soon!