A bit of a ramble. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
As many of you know, not long ago, I was offered my first publishing deal not long ago- A deal that would place LIVIAN strictly on the Christian market- and I turned this deal down. I have gotten some feedback since then that has almost made me question my decision as well as my dedication to my faith.
I am making it clear that I did not turn this offer down due to thinking I am going to get a million dollar deal nor was it because I am in any way denying my faith. LIVIAN is a book of faith. Real faith- the desire to know why one exists, the dealing with teetering faith, the not understanding the bad things that just happen.
I debated long and hard- and honestly, when I submitted to this publisher, I didn’t think my book stood a chance due to the darkness of the story and the obvious doubting of faith through out- which will continue through the series. But my decision to turn the offer down is not something that I regret. As faith based as the book may be- I recall a conversation that my husband and I had with my sister in law some time back. Her husband is a pastor- sometimes- and they both attended Christian college. She is the sort of Christian that will randomly send you a greeting card telling you that you and your family will burn in hell because you do not worship God the way that they do. You know the type. Anyway, in this conversation all things evil in modern movies were the topic. I recall that Harry Potter was the start of her rant (rolls eyes) and then it went onto a rant about Narnia. My husband and I were shocked- as readers of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe- the thought of this being “of the devil” was laughable to say the least. We explained to her the plot of the story, the characters, and the faith. We must have been lying because it was a topic at one of her little church groups about the witch-craft and how demonic the story/movie is. I am by no means saying that all Christians are this way- I am a Christian and minds can’t get much more open than this one right here- but still. I know that my book will be judged, torn apart, loved, hated, and then some- but the one thing that doesn’t bounce off of me is when someone questions my faith or how I display my faith. Placing one of my books on the Christian market alone simply will not give LIVIAN the chance that it deserves. This has nothing to do with God- just many of his followers.
Every single book that I have in the works (9 if you count the entire LIVIAN series) happens to be faith based books. Faith is the most important part of me. And I thank God every day for my imagination and love of writing.
Another example as proof of my point of view-
I have a pastor that I talk over lots of my religious pondering thoughts with. I value his opinion deeply- though, I always come to my own conclusion after our conversations- Recently, I was lucky enough to discuss one of the books currently pounding at me to get into print. Another YA novel- more modern, and comedic- As I discussed this book- and even one scene that has been hounding me to write- his response was,
“You will be branded as a pagan by the Christians if you write that book.”
He is absolutely correct. 100% and more. I will. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about that. “Branded.” Ouch. My faith -my morale- all of me- will be judged and most likely banished. I can not write that novel. I have to trash the thought of it. But wait……
I talk over every spec of writing that I have ever done- from editorials, to the articles that I did as a journalist- poetry-and most surely- my books- with the one that it matters most- God.
It may sound insane- but he lets me know what to put out there and what to leave alone. If it is good, I normally get a warm breeze- no matter the season- and a familiar smell- my dad’s burnt popcorn- my grandmother’s sanitizer and Avon parfume- or those soft orange peanut candies- My great Aunt Missy used to share with me when I visited her in the nursing home.
If it is a bad idea- I normally feel sick to my stomach- or God gets more obvious- and a random acorn may fall from the sky and hit me square between the eyes. No joke.
So, what is the conclusion?
Normally, those that judge usually do so from a lack of understanding and/or lack of being properly educated on the topic. My book will be judged by readers, reviewers, other authors- for my grasp of plots, characters, twists, and use of the English language- A writer sends a book into the hands of the public expecting this. My faith- that is my own. As long as acorns stay away from my forehead- my thoughts will be written. I have one judge. Everyone else is free to brand what ever fills their own voids.