I had been wondering what we were doing in the desert, why we were living in the land of cactus and rattlesnakes. Standing in the kitchen doing dishes, the hot water running, the heat of the evening descending, I had a thought.
What would happen if a cowboy in Tucson came upon an illegal in the desert. And instead of turning her over to the authorities, he helped her. And what if he fell in love with her.
I had the basis for Borders of the Heart before I dried the silverware. Not bad for an evening of work. My wife suggested I could get a new idea every night that way. She's funny like that.
The book comes out of our move to Tucson a few years ago. We were transplanted here in the midst of a Cowboy Church and farmers' markets open year round. Organic farms that use WWOOFers. So I tweaked the story to use a transplant, not a real cowboy, but someone who had come here to learn. Someone in pain.
Then I added a few current events, like a presidential campaign that swings through Tucson. And the border battle between those who want to control the drug trade. And the failed Fast and Furious program.
But the real story here is J. D. and Maria. What happens to them in the middle of Tucson and on the outskirts (they make it as far as Benson) will hopefully keep you turning pages to discover what happens.
I think it's my most thrilling story to date and will hopefully satisfy those who like romance, adventure, and intrigue.
For more of Chris' thoughts on Borders of the Heart, download the Author Q&A from Tyndale House Publishers.
Every life has a turning point, where one choice changes everything. Once that line is crossed, there's no going back.
J. D. Jessup finds his line in the desert near Tucson, as far from his home as the moon. He's traded his guitar and the songs in his head for the daily grind of an organic farm—a mind-numbing existence that dulls the pain of his memories.
His boss has one rule: if J. D. sees an "illegal," call the Border Patrol.
But when an early morning ride along the fence line leads him to Maria, a beautiful young woman near death, J. D.'s heart pushes him toward another choice. Longing to atone for the mistakes that drove him to the desert, J. D. hides her and unleashes a chain of deadly events he could never have imagined. Soon the two are running from a killer and struggling to stay alive. As the secrets that haunt him collide with Maria's past, J. D. realizes that saving her may be the only way to save himself.
Part thrill ride, part love story, Borders of the Heart is a tender yet gripping odyssey of hope.
Borders of the Heart released in October 2012 and was named a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award in the Contemporary Standalone category. For a complete list of 2013 winners and finalists, please visit the Christy Awards website.