If you want to write fiction you have to adjust to the fact that all fiction is autobiographical…to a point. You’re going to bleed emotionally on the pages. You will need plenty of hankies near your computer.
When I first started writing 15 years ago, I understood any non-fiction I hoped to write, especially the book on my birth-mother experience, would be autobiographical. But later when it seemed that particular true-life account might never be published, I felt the Lord urge me to put the spiritual and emotional truths I’d learned into Christian Fiction.
Whew! I thought. This means I don’t have to bare my soul. I can hide behind my “untrue” historical epics with plenty of action and romance that God-willing might help readers think about the Lord while they’re being entertained.
Here’s the true scoop.
When I wrote Shadowed in Silk I don’t think readers had a clue that I was plastering my heart and soul into my heroine Abby Fraser, into my bad-guy Russian spy, and especially into Abby’s enemy the Muslim woman Tikah who kidnaps Abby’s child.
The title Shadowed in Silk shows all characters feel invisible for their own reasons. The two women feel no one sees their heartaches or hears their cries in the night. As a woman who was hurting over the relinquishment of my firstborn to adoption, I felt like invisible Abby. I also felt like my Russian spy who chooses to be invisible on purpose. But I also felt like Tikah who steals Abby’s little boy, because part of my heart longed to turn the clock back so that I’d never relinquished my child in the first place. I took the bare truth of my soul and painted that longing into my character Tikah as she does the reprehensible.
Shocking, I know. I’m not saying my emotions were right or honorable. Emotions are emotions, but that’s what books are, a baring of the soul. Of course I didn’t take back my true-life child, and the Lord helped me through my heartache.
Thankfully, God didn’t leave me in my spiritual immaturity, and my second book Captured by Moonlight shows some of that spiritual growth.
One of my heroines, the beautiful Indian woman Eshana is living her Christian life, energized as she does the work she believes God has laid out for her. But then, her fanatical Hindu uncle pops out of the past and kidnaps her. He imprisons her in a ruined jungle palace, has her head shaved, her lovely saris taken away, and dressed in course white cotton like that of a Hindu widow. Though Eshana has been abandoned, the work she loves seemingly taken from her, she says the following, straight from my heart from my true life, “I will sing your praises, Lord. Though you have dressed me in funeral clothes, I will sing your praises with joy.”
I could go on and on—how Veiled at Midnight shows what I learned the 2 years my brother lived with my husband and me, as my brother went through rehab for his alcoholism. This book breathes the message that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God.
The message of Londonderry Dreaming is to speak the truth in love, no matter how hard it hurts. And in the soon-to-be-released Sofi’s Bridge is about being true to the gifts God has placed in our souls. All deep spiritual and emotional lessons that I have learned in my true life.
God has done some amazing things for me. Sure, I’ve suffered, who doesn’t, but I’ve experienced that scintillating feeling when
God makes everything new. That’s why I always write happy endings.
That’s also why 15 years since I first starting writing, I’m seeing my original dream come to pass. Remember that non-fiction book on my birth-mother experience that started it all? Well, it too is soon-to-be-released. But in all honesty, there is just as much of me in my fictional novels as there is in this account.
Hold tight to God, and believe in the ultimate happy ending for you through Jesus Christ.
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