Tuesday, November 15, 2016

So....before you read it...

Some of you have already ordered copies of my book and I am nearly choking as I read your messages of excitement.  I am equally extremely terrified and terribly excited just to think about you reading Bestow On Us Your Grace.  But before you do...a few thoughts.

They say that writing a book and having it published is little like having a baby.  I disagree.  Mostly because you don’t immediately put your baby on the stage of America’s Got Talent so that the world can judge whether or not they like him or her.  And that’s more what writing a book feels like to me.

Writing is opening a window into your soul. 

It’s one thing to take the very contents of your wild imagination and type them down on a page.  It is quite another to actually allow other people into those musings. 

Admittedly, there is a part that feels a little thrill.  Because if you like it then I am so happy and I don’t worry so much about my vivid imagination running amok.  Also, we can talk about imaginary people as if we know them.  You can ask me all kinds of questions about my characters and I could talk about them for hours and hours.  After years of hiding them in a closet.  Or a computer, as it were.  Now they are free.

Of course that is another scary thing.  It’s not just the story that is my “baby”, but I really want you to love the characters.  And it frightens me to think (to know) that there will be some who just don’t care for them.

I want you to know that I am what I call an “honest writer”.  I learned this from people like James Schaap and Anne Lamott.  If there is a scene where someone would swear, then you write it that way.  It shows their character.  It shows their humanity.  And I personally have trouble believing books where everything is too perfect, too neat, too tidy.  The things in my book are not neat and tidy.  There aren’t a lot of swear words – two, I think.  I didn’t put them in for shock value.  But they are there because that is what that particular character would say.  It reveals their truth – truth you need to know for the story to work.

I’ve done my research, but I am not expert.  I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent reading about, researching, studying, and listening to recordings of the Amish.  But even so…these are still hypothetical  situations and fictional characters.  They are New Order Amish which allows for much more freedom than being part of an Old Order district.  So I realize you may read this and say “Oh the Amish don’t do that!”  While that is possibly true for most of them, it isn’t for all.  And this is a made up story.  All that said, I have a deep admiration and respect for the Amish people.  It is my hope that even if this story does not represent lifestyles for the majority of them, that it still honors them and helps you to love them as I do.

Please note: the characters in this book are not actually representative of the people in my life.  I am not Kirsten.  Brian is not Silas (not quite tall enough – hahaha).  The Amy in the book is not my sister, Amy.  I was blessed to grow up with the best Mom in the world so Elizabeth is not my Mom.  If you see your name in this book, don’t think I am writing about you.  I am not that obvious.  At least not in this book – ha! 

Will there be more someday?  Maybe.  I have learned to never say never!  I have written another book in this series about Silas’ sister, Amy.  I have outlined another book about Silas’ brother, Caleb.  So there could be more.  But for now I am just enjoying this very uncharted territory of self-publishing.

Lastly, I cannot say enough good things about my publishing company – The Write Place.  I love that they host a book writing contest.  I am so honored to have won it.  And I have immensely enjoyed working with them on each and every detail – from the editing to the book cover design to the page layout to the marketing plans.  They are patient and capable and amazing to work with. 

This is actually not the first book that I have written, but it is the first to be published.  And as such I plead for grace and understanding.  Look at it like I’m in kindergarten and not so much like I should be giving my dissertation. 

So each and every one of those little books that lands in someone’s hands is just a story about a God who specializes in taking crazy situations and redeeming them for His good.  To me, this was never just an Amish love story.  This was a story of God’s goodness and His grace.  He is good even when life is painful.  My prayer is that this book will help you see His goodness and His grace in your own life as well.  

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