What an exciting rollercoaster ride! Am I in Africa or India or the USA? Is it back in history or today?
As I prepare for the February 1 release of The Triumph of Grace, book 3 of the Grace in Africa trilogy, I am also doing the final edits of book 1 of the Blessings in India trilogy and also working hard to get book 2 of the series in by its March 1 deadline. Whew!!
My first couple dozen books were way different. They were set in the world I knew, among my own friends and neighbors and the people who sat next to me at church. I liked writing those books. They were good and, I believe, helpful—very much like lots of similar books that crowded bookstore shelves.
Then came the infamous events of 9/11. I will never forget the Sunday after that disaster. A wonderful man in our church, a respected elder and city leader, stood up to ask for prayer for the families of those who died. Then he added, “How could such a thing have happened to us in this country? We are so good to the world. You would think they would love us!”
What I realized that moment was that I had no idea what anyone outside our borders thinks. Such a consideration had never occurred to me. Maybe… just maybe… the time had come for that to change. I decided that Sunday that I wanted to travel the world and talk to others in the family of God. Yes, I wanted to go to the most difficult places. I wanted to meet my spiritual sisters and brothers, and I wanted to introduce them to my friends at home. That quest, and the subsequent travels and interviews, turned out to be a book–Daughters of Hope: Stories of Witness and Courage in the Face of Persecution, co-written with Michele Rickett of Sisters in Service. It came out in 2003.
To the amazement of editors, people really wanted to know! We really do care!
Since then, I have written five other non-fiction books with international themes. And now… ta da!… fiction as well. (I call it “Cultural Historical.”)
People say to me, “You write about Africa. Have you ever been there? And now India. Have you been there?”
Oh, yes! And when I’m writing, I see the land in my memory and think of unforgettable individuals I’ve met. I hear the lilt of their voices. I see their faces: the smiles, the tears. I feel hands clinging to mine. Oh, yes! I’ve been there.
People ask me, “Some of the scenes are so hard. Are they true?”
Oh, yes! And I left out the hardest ones. They would be too much to bear.
Thank you for shedding tears with me. Thank your for caring. Thank you for lighting your candle and helping to brighten the world.
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say, I did not know.”