“Someone They Can Trust”, my new novel, is available on Amazon. To receive news about what I’m writing, please subscribe to the author email at the bottom of this post.
I tend to look back and have some insight into why I chose to write a book. In the drafting phase, though, I’m far less aware, less conscious. People, situations and issues just show up in my imagination.
They’re kind of irresistible – beckoning me like an open door to a walled garden.
The other nine reasons I wrote Someone They Can Trust are all good reasons, but I don’t think many novelists just crank out books for logical reasons.
There are many logical reasons not to write a novel – they take a super long time, they’re hard to get published and even with healthy sales, you wouldn’t want to calculate your hourly pay. Probably about as much as someone who knit a scarf getting ten bucks for it at a craft show.
We pretty much do it for love – we knitters and novelists and artists of all kinds. Many of us feel like that’s what we were made to do and that’s the gift we can give people.
To have someone enjoy it – that’s compensation too.
Fifth of 10 Reasons I Wrote, “Someone They Can Trust”
I have a love-hate relationship with my neighborhood, which is also the setting for my new novel. We moved here to be near downtown, be near our church, and be present in an urban neighborhood that was struggling. We figured that at the very least, we could help by paying city taxes and keeping up a pretty old house.
That was 26 years ago, and the place is pretty much embedded in my heart, for better and worse. College Hill is a mix of beauty and despair, with crumbling public housing right next to fairytale old mansions. I love its huge trees, surrounding woods, elegant architecture and the outstanding kindness of many of its residents. I hate the poverty, the garbage on the streets, the emptiness in the eyes of young people hanging out on corners.
The novel I just finished,“Someone They Can Trust” is set in this neighborhood, with characters attending a church there that is grappling with the brokenness of the community. Belonging to a church a lot like the one in the novel has shaped most of my adult life. There I’ve learned everything from staging plays to running a tutoring program, to trimming hedges..
I’ve been enriched by the goodness of hundreds of people, hundreds of events, thousands of worship services. I’ve been tired out to a point of flatness by the problems of poverty, racism, violence and faithlessness in our community.
All those years of the best and the worst of this place have shaped the story arc of this novel. The fictional events take place in a real church, real houses nearby, a real coffee shop and a beautiful bed and breakfast down the road. Spring Grove Cemetary is as much as a gorgeous retreat property for the main characters as it has been for me.
“Someone They Can Trust” is a book about God showing up and healing people in a challenging neighborhood, because that’s what I’ve experienced here. It’s good to know that God does wonderful things even in tough places. That’s why I wrote this book.
Second of 10 Reasons I Wrote “Someone You Can Trust”:
“Someone You Can Trust”, my new novel, releases on Amazon on May 23. For more information, subscribe to the author email at the bottom of this post.
A psychologist in my writer’s group read some passages in my latest novel and said, “This is the first book I’ve ever read that has a passage incorporating prayer for inner healing.”
There aren’t too many novels that incorporate healing prayer of any kind, at least not that I’ve found. Leif Enger’s “Peace Like a River” is one luminous exception, and years ago I read a novel by Agnes Sanford, a well-known leader of the Anglican charismatic movement in the mid 20th century, but it was a pretty bad fiction (her non-fiction books are wonderful).
Through prayers, I have seen God straighten out a bent spine, reverse a spina bifida diagnosis, melt away a brain tumor, and salvage someone’s fading sight. I have experienced prayer for mental and emotional issues that substantially reduced my symptoms of depression and anxiety, and gave me courage to realign myself in messed up relationships. I’m convinced that God wants to heal us.
So in the course of this novel, two of the three protagonists, Maya and Janice, experience substantial healing in sessions with a therapist who also prays (therapists who pray in sessions are rare, but there are a few out there.) Maya, who spent time with missionaries in rural China, also prays for people’s physical healing, a normative practice among the Christians she knew there. My training as a reporter makes me scrupulous about writing true scenes – even in fiction, I only write it if I’ve seen it happen or heard of it firsthand from a credible source.
Many people assume that illness is caused by God, or that God is indifferent to it. My experiences have turned such theology upside down. That’s why I wrote this book.