Never being a fan of Christian fiction, when I started writing, I didn’t plan to write a Christian novel. But I soon realized that there’s no story worth telling other than “the old, old story of Jesus and His love.” That’s why you’ll find that theme in everything I write.
I wrote five full-length novels and was putting the finishing touches the sixth before getting my first publishing contract. Here’s an overview of what the world will never see.
In the mid-90s, I wrote
Declaration of Independence
This sounds like a historical, and it is. But it’s not about the Revolutionary War. Instead, it tells the story of a young woman who seeks to get out under from the authority of men — an abusive father in particular, but all men in general. This independent spirit includes an unwillingness to submit herself to God.
Writing this was a good learning experience, but that’s all it was. A few years later I tossed it, page by laboriously-typed-on-a-typewriter-page, into the burn barrel.
I followed this up with a sequel — Dragonslayer
What looks like a fantasy and sounds like a fantasy but isn’t? This book. It was the fantastically terrible story of the grand-niece of the protagonist of my first book, who shared her great-aunt’s stubborn, independent spirit, and the man who set out to tame her.
The image here is not representative of the book’s content. Did I mention that this feisty gal was a tuba-playing small-town band director, and that the story takes place in the 1980s? What was I thinking? Don’t worry, I burned this one too. And I try not to think about it any more than I have to.
After trying to kick the writing habit, I fell off the wagon in 2002 and wrote
This is where I finally began to figure things out. My marketing efforts, however, were woefully ill-conceived, beginning with pitching it as Historical when it should be in the Women’s Fiction category. This horrifying cover sheet for a proposal didn’t help matters.
False starts aside, it’s not as terrible as my first efforts. Here’s my new pitch:
When Lydia hears her mother’s story, it shatters all she’s ever believed.
Mom’s Mirror is a reflection of Lydia Ellison’s mother as she tells her once-estranged firstborn her life story. Once Lydia learns her previous image of Mom is distorted, she must reevaluate her own life.
In this 100,000 word novel, Lydia’s mom tells how she went from young widow in World War II to spy, prisoner, and skilled interrogator, all the while failing to be the mother she longed to be. Learning the often shocking truth behind the closed doors in Mom’s past, and seeing the faith that sustained Mom in everything she did, the reluctant Lydia catches a glimpse of God’s relevancy in every real-world situation.
Mom’s Mirror tied for third place in the Historical Fiction category of the 2007 Genesis contest. After major revision, was again a finalist in 2008 before I finally realized it was in the wrong category.
Mark of a Man
I haven’t burned this one yet, but that’s on my to-do list. It has its moments, but overall, it’s irredeemable.
I’ve used Gregory Peck’s picture for this because Mark Mallory looked like him, and I needed to put a picture here. And who could object to looking at Gregory Peck?
Frustrated with the whole process, I tried to quit writing. Couldn’t do it. Next thing I knew, I was writing a fantasy, just for my own entertainment. Had no intention of ever showing it to anyone. But when you’re having that much fun, you want to share it with somebody. Turns out, I get to share it with the world! See Gateway to Gannah Series.