At my age, you’d think I’d rest on the laurels of the books I’ve already written, yet here I am with another deadline and deep in research. Writing is a joy and an occupation not confined to an age group. To see the words spring into being on the pages and trusting God to inspire me, is fulfilling in ways I cannot describe. Reading through previous books, it seems unreal that they came from my trusty laptop. Writing is a gift, like any other gift. I may have no success with gardening, or painting a picture. I’m sports and electronically challenged, and while I love to sing, the best instrument I play is the radio. I’m not a hiker, walker, runner or physical training enthusiast. I enjoy cooking, but with just the two of us, find myself staring at the refrigerator more frequently than a cookbook, hoping for inspiration. My active imagination has gotten me into trouble from time to time, but if I could not imagine or dream, I couldn’t write. My books portray women in ancient times that modern women can identify with; The Samaritan Woman, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Claudia-Wife of Pontius Pilate, Ruth, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Each one has become real to me as I delve into their history and bring them to life. Age is only a number and I want to encourage those of you who feel you are too old to start that book you’ve always dreamed of writing … My first Biblical Fiction was published when I was 71. You can do the math. Start that story today!Read More
At workshops I often tell the story of how my first book got published. It was the result of many years of trial and error and chasing down editors at conferences. It was Journey to the Well and no one was doing Biblical Fiction. It was finally suggested to me that I get an agent. “No problem” said I, naively. No one in Southern California was taking new clients, especially someone writing Biblical Fiction. I flung up my hand towards the heavens and said, “If you want this book published, you have to find me an agent!” In looking through the Christian Writer’s Market Guide one day, I kept coming back to an agent in Pittsburgh and felt strongly I was to call her. Cross country, cold turkey. To my amazement and delight, she liked the idea of my book and asked me to send 3 chapters that would stand her on her ear. Whew! I must have picked the right chapters for we signed a contract and she’s been my friend and agent for 12 years. She couldn’t place that first book, due to the market, so I went through Xulon Press so I could take the book with me on my speaking circuit for Christian Women’s Clubs. That’s where the ego trip began. I forgot who the real author of the book was. When I finally came to my senses and acknowledged Him as the One who had inspired me to write the book, the doors opened and Revell published Journey to the Well. I never forgot after that to give glory where it was due! Seven years and ten books later, I am more than happy to give God the credit. He is the author and finisher of our faith, and giver of gifts.Read More
I did a couple of Christian Fiction books, House of the Forest, Smoke Before the Wind, and Shadows on the Mountain, but have had the best success with Biblical Fiction. I have learned so much about that era, Jewish customs and the people, and the research has been a pleasure. I used to wonder how people who wrote historical fiction knew all that information, say about life in the 1700’s, and realize it required hours of reading and searching for facts and information! Years ago one of the ladies in my critique group said to me, “When you write Biblical fiction, you write differently.” It’s true. I feel the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when I write in that genre. Characters move across the pages with ease and it is if I know them personally. I don’t do story boards, or outlines, I just sit down and begin writing and the story seems to weave itself. What a joy. There is nothing that gives me so much pleasure as putting a story together. This new book coming out, Mary, Chosen of God, was what might in a way be called a divine commission. I hadn’t planned on writing a book about the mother of Jesus, but in writing an e-mail to a former editor, I mentioned I was working on a book about Mary and stopped and stared at my computer. I was not working on a book on Mary at the time. I hadn’t even thought of it. I knew it was my next book and it was the most wonderful challenge, to take a familiar story and tell it through Mary’s eyes. I pray my readers will enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.Read More
My college sojourn lasted only a year and a half. By that time I was given a new respect and love for the Scriptures. God’s Word was imbedded in my heart and a hunger was birthed to know His Word deeply and intimately. I had learned what God sought to teach me, to know His Word intimately and see the people presented in the Scriptures for the human beings they were. I had spent hours studying, taking notes, taking tests, and hardly seeing my husband as I immersed myself in studies. Finally He released me from college studies to begin writing again.
As I began to write other books (six were Biblical Fiction, and I am working on my seventh) and delve into the Scriptures for insight into the women I was writing about, research became a joy. I promised myself, and God, that while I had poetic license to add characters and dialogue, my stories would be true to incidents actually spoken of in the Bible. I felt the burden God had put on my heart was to take women who had been maligned, either in Scripture or in the well-meaning pulpits of the world, and show them as God saw them, with love and understanding. I saw the woman at the well in the Gospel of John not as a prostitute or loose woman, but as someone who was a victim of the circumstances and times she lived in. She was an overcomer, as Jesus urges us all to be. Martha, a mover and shaker, was also a woman with a heart; Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, the Scriptures never say that about her. I had to then create the circumstances whereby Satan had access to her life—the seven demons. Claudia is mentioned in the Bible in only one paragraph, but her background in history was fascinating and the story emerged. Ruth was a joy to write and research, with a slightly unusual portrayal. The Lord, who in a way I could not miss, put the subject of Mary, the mother of Jesus, firmly on my heart as my next book. With some reluctance in regard to the subject, I obeyed. Mary, Chosen of God, was challenging, enlightening and written with reverence.Read More
In re-assessing the use of my gifts, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps they do indeed build the community. If the words to a song can life someone’s spirits and encourage; if my testimony can draw the hungry soul of a woman to Christ; if reading about the woman at the well and her triumph over tragedy can cause the reader to reassess their life and realize God’s redemption, then I am doing the work God gave me to do.
If being willing to set aside other activities and accept instruction as a student, that I may know the Word of God in a clearer way, then my writing will reflect Christ.
I am giving back the gifts God has entrusted me with. I am benefiting my family, God’s household, by growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. Towards the end of my college sojourn, should I take the Bible proficiency test once more, perhaps I will find my thirst quenched by the waters of knowledge.
(to be continued)
In response to this reader’s question, my answer is, MOST of them! Along with my personal Bible, The New Living Translation, I use the Message Bible, the Amplified Bible, The Living Bible, and of course The Complete Jewish Bible, to name a few. Seeing the same Scripture in several ways often clarifies the passage for me. Sometimes an editor will prefer a particular version for any Scriptural references. There is not one version I consider holier than another. Just as the four Gospels vary in their content, from the different writer’s viewpoint, so the Bibles will vary. Sometimes when I read a Scripture in my personal Bible, the meaning is not clear. Reading it in another version helps to open my eyes to what God is saying to me. Just as the popular book, Jesus Calling, paraphrases the words of the Lord, it’s a short, clear message. If we want to delve more into the Scriptures used, we can look up the references at the bottom of the page. I don’t wish to advocate one version over another as we are all coming from different backgrounds with different needs, but please beware of any “Bible” written for a particular denomination. I am referring to versions written by certain people who come to your door. There is error there, so be discerning. Your Christian bookstore can be of assistance in helping you find the right one for you. God will make His Word clear to you, no matter what version you use! The most important thing is that you read His Word every day, prayerfully and consistently. Happy reading!Read More