Fiction Forward

I love to read. Ever since I was a small girl, there was no better way to spend my time than in between the pages of a book. Stories sparked my imagination, provided context for life, and sent my senses soaring to new worlds. The first book I could read was a small picture book of Sleeping Beauty. I was so proud of myself, but more fascinated by the reality that these letters strung together could hold such power and be so entertaining.

I was hooked and I’ve spent my life reading. Fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, romance, thrillers, classics. I read them all and loved them all. It was hard to find a book that I didn’t want to race through and then immediately pick up and read again. The books on my shelves are well-cared for, but they’re a bit battered from use. There’s nothing like reading a book again . . . unless it’s reading a book for the first time. You can’t make me choose between the thrill of exploring a new place and the comfort of revisiting a well-beloved home.

Yet, with all my years of reading, I never read much non-fiction. I can’t say never. I’m a big fan of all of C.S. Lewis’ apologetic works and I loved reading Old Hollywood film star biographies. But I’ve never gravitated toward non-fiction on purpose. It had to be connected to something else I loved or I would never have thought to pick it up. Of what use were words that were describing something that was true? That was boring? I wanted the possibilities.

You can imagine my surprise that my first published book is a memoir—a very true story—one that I agonized over making sure was a good narrative structure while still maintaining the complete truth. Non-fiction is hard because you can’t make anything up. There are strict rules. But I did it and I’m grateful for it. In the few years I spent making the book, I read all the non-fiction I could get my hands on, wanting to make sure I understood how it was done. And I uncovered a love for it and an appreciation for the good that it can do. True stories are powerful and contain messages of hope and freedom.

But my first love will always remain fiction and I’m eager to get back to it. So I am announcing a shift for you, but a gentle shift. I’m planning my next book project, and this time it’s going to be fiction. But there are true stories I still want to tell—stories from my family—so the next few ideas I have are fictionalized versions of those true stories. They will hold the core element of what is important about the amazing real-life people they are based on, but I will have the freedom to temper them into a better narrative structure. Life doesn’t always give us a perfect beginning, middle, and end.

I will be taking a few months hiatus as I work on these changes, so be prepared to not see me post again until July at the earliest. This space and these monthly posts will change into behind-the-scenes looks at the writing process, at the research I’m doing, and updates on where I’m at. Peace Prayers will remain here as well, so don’t be afraid that will end. But my writing bent is going to slant fiction forward.

I hope you will join me and participate in the fascination of how novels are created. Watch as I turn the real romances I’ve known into historical fiction. Please support me in pursuing my life-long dream of taking the words and ideas in my head and helping them to become reality. In so doing, I pray others will learn to love to read and admire words and stories for the truth-revealing, imagination-inspiring, anything-is-possible tools that they are.

Join me, friends.


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