Whispers & Dreams Discussion Guide
***Spoiler Alert – Do NOT read this if you haven’t read the novel!!!***
These ten questions can be answered and discussed after you read the novel. These are great for book club discussion or just conversation starters for friends who’ve read the novel. You can also read the questions and comment on my blog or respond to me through social media. I’ve answered the first five questions.
- One of the characters is a metaphor for a Biblical person. Do you know which character that is and who the Biblical person is? What is some evidence of this?
Author answer: Dreamer is a metaphor for Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph had a coat of many colors that was given to him by his father Jacob because he was the favored child. Dreamer has a baseball cap signed by Adam Wainwright that was given to him by his father Jacob because he was the favored child. When Joseph was kidnapped, his brothers said, “Look, here comes this dreamer.” (Genesis 37:19) In the book, Dreamer is also kidnapped, and recognized by his ball cap. Joseph leads his father, Jacob, and the rest of his family to safety in Egypt. Dreamer leads his father, Jacob, to the Lord. I wanted to add this metaphor in the book to show how special it is for a young person to change the destiny of their whole family. I’ve known many young people like Dreamer, young people who have families that don’t know God, and those young people have made the decision to follow the Lord and led the rest of their family to Him, thereby changing the course of their whole family.
2. Who is the hero of the novel? The hero I had in mind when I wrote the novel, might not be who readers might guess. This person is not a major character. This whole story was made possible because of this character.
Author answer: I wrote this story with the idea that Sierra is the hero. Sierra became so sick after she gave birth to Whisper that she became bedridden. When she was on her sickbed, Sierra started listening to radio preachers and started praying. She prayed that Jacob, Dreamer, and Whisper would come to know God one day. She also prayed that her house would be home to a loving family. Because Sierra prayed, God called Kirk and then Melissa to Diniyoli. If Sierra hadn’t prayed, this story wouldn’t have happened. At the end of the book, Melissa is looking at the clouds. The novel reads, “High above the others is a cloud that has a series of peaks, like a range of sierras watching over all the others.” This refers to Sierra being the hero of the novel, looking down from Heaven, seeing her prayers finally answered.
3. The last paragraph of the novel uses the images of clouds to remind the reader of things that happened earlier in the story. The cloud images also tell the reader something that happened that was not described in the story. What was that?
Author answer: The last line of the novel, “The biggest cloud in the middle of the sky is tall and thin with wispy pieces sticking up and out of the top, like a bride wearing a halo of flowers around her head as she walks through a field of flowers to meet the man of her dreams under the big Oklahoma sky.” describes Melissa and Kirk’s outdoor wedding.
4. Did you identify with any character in the book? Why did you identify with that character? Who is your favorite character in the book? Why do you like him or her?
Author answer: I identify most with Melissa. I’m an introvert who acts like an extrovert when necessary, and I recharge by being alone. Like Melissa, I keep a journal with random thoughts, prayers and poetry, and I would die if anyone ever read it. I don’t draw like Melissa does, but I wish I could. I like to have a plan and follow my plan to the letter, but God has been teaching me that I need to grow in my trust of Him and not always have to have a plan of my own.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m also a little like Chelsea. I’m a girly-girl. I love make-up and fixing my hair and getting dressed up. I also have some air-headed tendencies sometimes, like Chelsea. I think Chelsea has some good qualities too, though, like being quick to love and quick to forgive.
Devin is one of my favorite characters. I am nothing like Devin at all. She is tough, strong, and unafraid. She kicks rear and takes names! I love how she is so fearless and wants to make a difference. I wish I were more like Devin.
Dreamer is my other favorite character. I am a mother of three boys, and I want my boys to be like Dreamer. He stands up for Whisper and takes a big brotherly interest in her before he even knows she’s his little sister. He protects kids who are weaker than he is. He is a leader, and he changes the course and destiny of his family. Wow. What a kid.
Kirk is modeled after my husband. He is a hard worker, the life of the party, always has a story to tell, has a passion to lead people to Christ, and is extremely messy. (My husband also always has stains on his clothes.) Kirk is not perfect, but I love him. Just for fun, I gave him a name that starts with K, like my husband Kevin, and I gave Melissa a name that starts with M, like my name.
5. What is The Whisper?
Author answer: The Whisper is the Holy Spirit guiding Melissa. The Bible says that (John 10:27) the Lord’s sheep with know His voice. Melissa is definitely one of His sheep, able to hear and distinguish His voice. Because she listens and obeys, her life is blessed, as are the lives of the people around her. Prayer is a conversation, not one-way talking, and Melissa realizes that over the course of the novel. I think we can all get to that place where the Lord whispers to us and we hear and recognize His voice. The more we obey, the louder and more distinguishable His voice becomes.
6. What did you think of the poetry included in the novel? Why do you think that is included in the book?
7. Do you think this book should have a sequel? What would a sequel be about?
8. What does this book have to say about the spiritual need in rural America?
9. What do you think of the racial issues in this book?
10. What does this book have to say about the impact of an active church upon a town?
I hope you enjoyed Whispers & Dreams! – Martha