Francine Rivers’ novels have been an inspiration and a challenge in my spiritual life. But they’ve also impacted my writing. In 2012, I was staying in a friend’s home in the Philippines. On her book shelf was a copy of Francine Rivers’ ‘Sons of Encouragement’. Having already read and appreciated others of Francine’s books I pulled the book off the shelf and started reading.
Five years before …
During a day of prayer the idea for two Christian novels popped into my mind. At the time I knew the task was well beyond me but I told the Lord, “If this idea is really from you then you’ll have to pressure me to do it and provide all the resources I need.”
Between the birth of the idea and 2012 the pressure to start writing had been slowly growing but I had no idea how to start. But that day in the Philippines the thought came clearly into my mind. “You’re a Bible storyteller. Write a biblical novel like Francine has done.” That thought made sense to me because it meant that I didn’t need to provide the story. Rather I needed to be faithful to the scriptural story. It would give me all the main points of the story and even some dialogue but I’d have the scope to practice plotting, writing dialogue and description.
I sat down and started researching the same day. I loved the research as I had a chance to delve deeply into scripture and consider things like the motivations of characters and to wrestle with the why questions. Why did the characters do and say what they did? After a first practice novel on Samuel, I followed it up with a second novel about Jacob.
On to the real novel
After two practice runs I finally started to write what I regarded as the ‘real’ thing. The journey has taken four years so far but I hope the gestation period will soon be done and expect the birth to be in November this year.
Why write a contemporary Christian novel?
Again Francine has been an inspiration. Others of her novels that I appreciated took contemporary issues and looked at them from many sides. I especially appreciated:
- And the Shofar Blew – about a young pastor and his wife. It asks the question – what is success?
- The Atonement Child – about unmarried pregnancy
- The Scarlet Thread – tackles divorce
- Loeta’s Garden – old age, bitterness and disfunctional families
So, I too wanted to look at a contemporary issue. Mine will consider the issue of what is God there for? Is it to make our lives smooth and comfortable or something else entirely?
Who has influenced you in your life and ministry? Or in your writing if you’re a writer?
****I will run a giveaway on this novel starting on the 12th***