When I brows my local bookstore or page through the latest “new release” catalog and see pages and pages of Amish-set fiction, I often think, “Why can’t I write one of those stories?” Right now, “Bonnet fiction” as it’s often called, is one of the hottest-selling types of inspirational fiction. People can’t seem to get enough of stories that depict a simpler, quieter life.
But those aren’t the people and places that come to life in my heart and beg for their story to be told. My stories are less conventional; my characters are rougher around the edges, and my settings less gentle. I admire those who write Amish stories, or those who write Steampunk, or westerns or whatever other genre makes their eyes light up and sends them scurrying to the keyboard.
My stories are a little bit different, and that has caused me no end of frustration. I have had more than one editor say my writing was “ahead of the curve,” when it comes to Christian fiction. I’ve never been quite sure what to do with that statement.
My new book, Angel Falls, is one of those different books. When it releases in March, it will be TEN years from the time I first wrote it. It’s set in Brazil and my hero and heroine are not your usual story people.
When I first sold it in 2004, I was thrilled. But mere months before release, the publisher said I had to significantly change the story in order for them to publish it. My editor and I made big, sweeping, painful changes, but the publisher still wanted more.
So I had a hard choice to make: change the story so significantly that the heart and soul was ripped out of it in order to get it published, or say no. After much soul-searching, I said no. My agent spent the next year trying to find another publisher. Nobody wanted Angel Falls.
That hit me really hard and I didn’t write anything for a long time. I became a boat captain (which I love) but eventually, the stories called me back to the keyboard.
My next book was also unconventional—TRAPPED is about a gator-trapping heroine—and it released in 2009.
Angel Fall’s time has finally come and I am thrilled beyond measure at the wonderful endorsements I’ve received from best-selling authors who’ve taken time to read it.
I wish the process hadn’t taken quite so long, but I believe in the Great Creator’s perfect timing.
If your writing, or art, or music is unconventional, a bit off the mainstream, a little different, don’t be discouraged. Be true to the dream you’ve been given and follow it, even if the road is long and winding.
You’ll be glad you did.
Is your dream a bit different or unconventional? How are you dealing with that?