About Heaven Sent
Author Amanda Bews explained some of the process of how and why Heaven Sent came to be.
What was the beginning moment or experience of Heaven Sent?
My husband and I were driving and discussing a disturbing article we had read in the newspaper about the choices some young people were making, choices that were ending very badly for them and leaving them hurting in ways they hadn’t foreseen. There was a map in the pocket of the car door and I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a map for life!” We began reflecting on some of our past choices and during this discussion the rough plan for a series of books was born, the first of which is Heaven Sent.
What inspired you to spend the time developing this story?
The high number of young women who are sexually assaulted while under the influence of alcohol. We do not live in a safe place. Our society is all about “me first” and unfortunately there are people who will prey on the unsuspecting—and sometimes those people can be closer to us than we think.
What did you learn or what most surprised you in the writing process?
I guess what shocked me the most was the number of people who, when I told them what I was writing about, could identify with Heaven’s story. There are so many people who are our friends, colleagues and part of our church family that have suffered through soul-damaging experiences and say nothing. We can live alongside them unaware of their hurts. Stories give people an opening to share.
What of your life experiences have you drawn on in telling this story?
A collection of unwise choices that I and others have made. Sometimes watching other people fall can be more painful than stumbling yourself. I hope Heaven’s story saves a few young people a grazed knee or two.
You address serious social issues in this book. Why do that in the form of a story, rather than a textbook for example?
I hope that Heaven Sent will be an entertaining story, while also allowing an opening for discussion, for the reader to ask the questions they have “through” Heaven and the other characters, making any potential discussions less sensitive and personal.
With a study guide available on this website, how would you suggest this book be best used?
I hope teen and youth small groups and school groups might consider reading this story and working through the study guides together. There are 13 discussion guides covering topical issues so leaders can run with it for an entire church quarter or school term—or pick and choose from the discussion what is most relevant to their situation.
What are the most important things you hope a young person might take away from reading this story?
Throughout the story, Heaven moves from a life where God is largely irrelevant to a place where she begins seeking His leadings in her decisions. I hope young people will think about what it means to be “with” God in everyday life choices because He wants to do life with them.
I also hope they ask themselves, “Is this wise?” Sometimes we spend time considering what we would and would not like to do. That is all nice but sometimes the things we feel we want to do are really not wise or safe. Life can pivot on what felt like one small choice. Since we cannot foresee the future, we need to play life like a game of chess and consider where our next move will take us.