Happy Monday, friends. Not sure why we say that, really, since most folks I know aren’t all that jacked about Mondays. Me included. But hey, maybe it helps the motivation pick up a little speed, who knows. Positive thinking is always a good thing, right?
So, April 2017. Which means I have survived the release of my second novel, The Memory of You, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Whew. What a ride. Can I just say again that a few years ago you could have knocked me over with that proverbial feather if you’d told me I’d actually be published by one of the Big 5.
But here we are, with the books and the smile on my face to prove it. I won’t bore you with a photo of my smiling face, because it’s at this point in a book’s release that I get a little tired of looking at myself and reading about myself and hearing myself . . . not saying you will, I hope you don’t, because that wouldn’t sell me any books, would it, but I need a little breather from the buzz. But here’s the first bookstore sighting, taken over the weekend by my son in Boston!
Here’s what I want to talk about today –
Interesting term, don’t you think? I like it. It says to me, hey, I’m telling you this because I want to be honest with you. I want you to know the truth.
I had an interesting thing happen last week. I got this email. From a reader who’d picked up my novel, The Things We Knew. And she was kinda annoyed. Because she didn’t know it was a “Christian” novel. Didn’t know there would be references to God and Jesus and maybe even the Bible on occasion. And she. Was. Not. Happy.
Okay, so I got over the email. I have to admit, full disclosure and all, those things sting. Nasty reviews are one thing, you know, the hold nothing back I’m coming at you with a pitchfork kind – yeah those little suckers sting too. But for the most part, I think there’s a little cuckoo crazy in those reviewers that’s not too hard to pick up on. But when a reader goes out of their way to send an email, a rather lengthly detailed description of all the things they hated about the book . . . suck town.
I know, I know. Don’t take it personally. It’s not about me, it’s about them. I’ve taken all the advice from my fellow author friends and agent to heart. Advice from my kids was appreciated as well, but probably not the best way to respond . . . though I loved them for it. 🙂 And no, I didn’t reply to this person, because sometimes there is no need for a personal response to that kind of emotional attack. Because here’s the thing.
With each book I write, I pray for the words, and I pray that once those words are out in the world, God takes them where they need to go. So I believe that particular pissed off reader had my book for a reason. I don’t need to know the rest of the story. But something in that email got me a little twitchy, so I want to tell you what it was.
This reader accused me of not being honest about my faith. She was ‘deceived’ she said, because she hadn’t intended to buy a book that delved into spiritual matters. Or specifically, those of a Christian leaning. Okay, fair enough.
I could point out that my books are currently listed on Amazon under the Women’s Fiction – Christian, and Fiction -Religious and Inspirational, categories. I could also point out the name of my publisher is Harper Collins Christian Publishing. But I also know that my books are cross-marketed to reach not only readers in the Christian market, but those in the general market as well. I know that right now my books are sitting on the Fiction/Literature shelf in Barnes & Noble in Boston. And I’m not going to apologize for that. It’s one of the many things I love about my publisher.
I don’t have to compromise.
I am a Christian and I write from a Christian worldview. Which means that at some point in any one of my books, you will encounter some brush with faith, be it through a believing character or as subtle as the dawn rising over the tree tops after death. I infuse my beliefs into my writing because it’s who I am. And I don’t believe those stories would be the same without that.
Some of my characters have a strong faith. Some have very little. Some have major doubts. Some have no faith at all. Bet you know a few of all of those kinda folk, don’t you? So yes, you will find faith in my stories. You will also find hope. Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. All those necessary but hardest thing we’ve ever done things . . . all the stuff of life. That’s what I write about. The ugly, the messy, the crazy, the unconscionable. Because come alongside that with some truth and love and opportunity for healing . . . and I think you’ve got yourself the makings of a truly good book. Life is hard. Life changes us. For better or for worse.
And reading about the hard stuff, that’s not for everybody. I get that. I appreciate that. If you decide my books aren’t for you, well, that’s your choice and I respect it. But I don’t ever want to be accused of trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Trying to peddle a product disguised as something they don’t really want.
I’m not whomping anyone over the head with bible verses or profusely praying characters. I’m not saying you have to believe the same things I do or identify with any of my characters. I’m just telling you what you might encounter. In the spirit of full disclosure. You will find God in the midst of every book that has my name on it. You may not even know it, but He’s there. Because the stories all come from Him first, the greatest Author of all.
Just wanted you to know.