WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION DRIVING THE STORY IN YOUR BOOK DAUGHTER OF LIGHT?
My desire to write came when I walked into a Christian bookstore years ago and asked if they carried any Christian fantasy. The lady gave me a strange look and pointed to a lone Frank Peretti book on the bottom shelf. I went home disappointed. Didn’t anyone write fantasy?
My husband suggested that maybe I should write. Um, no. I wasn’t a writer, I was a reader. But the thought stuck with me. Maybe I could.
Then on a trip to Seattle, I had this idea: what if I could see inside a person’s soul? What if God gave me the ability to see people the way He sees people: full of darkness, but also people He loves and desires to heal? Would I love people too, after I see the “real” them? What would my life be like with that ability? How would other people react? And why would God give this kind of power?
These questions eventually morphed into the story of Rowen Mar, a young woman who has this incredible ability. Through writing Daughter of Light, I lived inside Rowen, feeling what she felt. Every time she touched someone, I saw what she saw. I experienced the fear and loss she went through when people rejected her. I understood her question of why did she have this ability? What purpose was there? And was there any hope? Or would she always carry this burden?
Writing this series has been a thought provoking journey for me, and brought me closer to God.
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF WRITING THE BOOK?
The most challenging part of writing this book was the scenes where Rowen touches someone and sees inside his/her soul. For example, there is a scene where at man attacks Rowen in her room. In the first draft, I did not write what she saw when she touched the man because I was afraid to go there myself. I knew the man was evil. But to put his vile nature into words scared me.
My editor said I needed to show what Rowen saw. So I went back and wrote that part. I was careful not to be overly graphic about the evil. But I also needed to convey what looking inside someone would feel like, especially a man like this. So I wrote it, and felt the same way Rowen did: horrified and dirty.
But that is what this story is about: the journey of a woman who sees what God sees and how it changes her and those around her.
One other challenging part was weaving four stories into one. The main story is that of Rowen, the woman with the ability to see inside people. But as she goes through life, she impacts the lives of three other people, changing the course of their lives as well: a captain of the guard, an assassin, and a scribe.
I’m always amazed at how God brings along people who cross our path, and how we come away changed. The same happened with my book. What started as one book morphed into three when I came to realize these key people were changed by Rowen and the events surrounding her life.
It makes for a complex series, but a richer one as well.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE STORY WHERE YOU DREW ELEMENTS FROM REAL LIFE?
I once heard that to write powerful stories, one must first live life and draw from that. When I first started writing, I was 24 years old with a toddler and newborn. I hadn’t really been through a lot. As the years progressed, God brought me through some incredibly dark times including unemployment, cancer scares, almost losing a child, moving all over the country, and giving up on my dream of writing.
I drew on the fears I felt during each of those events: the struggles I had with my faith, the fear, and at times how lost and alone I felt. These experiences helped me write many of the scenes in Daughter of Light. I have not been through what my characters have, but I understand what they are feeling, because I have been there, in this world.
One of my characters, a scribe, grows up in a very religious order. Because of her upbringing, she believes if she just follows the rules and behaves in a moral way, then everything will turn out.
However, bad things happen to good people. At first she clings to her faith, still hoping that if she continues to behave, she will be rescued. But when she isn’t, she questions everything she was brought up to believe.
I went through a time where I almost lost my faith. I remember how devastated I was, how disappointed I was in God, and the anger. I drew on this time in my life to write this scribe’s journey.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS GET OUT OF YOUR WORK?
Following God is not easy. There are times we don’t understand what He is doing or why He has allowed us to be in particular circumstances. We are tempted to give up, and may have already done that.
But there is still hope. The title for my blog is In Darkness there is Light. That is what I believe. When everything seems dark and you have lost everything, God is still there. It may take some time to see Him through the pain and darkness. But He will not let you fall.
That is what I want readers to find in my books: hope.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I am currently working on the second book, Son of Truth. In Daughter of Light, readers meet a ruthless assassin named Caleb Tala. The book ends with him meeting the Word (God) for the first time. Son of Truth continues the story of Rowen, but now Caleb’s journey will be woven in. I love stories of redemption and this will be one. You don’t want to miss it!