Fiction with a Message

When you think of Christian fiction, what comes to mind? Romance, comedy, light entertainment? Or perhaps it’s something more. Some Christian fiction goes beyond predictable entertainment and escape by delivering thought provoking messages that can even transform lives. That was my goal when writing the three novels in my Sandy Cove series.

Growing up, I didn’t aspire to be a writer, and I wasn’t a Christian. So how did I end up becoming the author of novels that tackle tough topics in our culture, pointing the reader to God’s truths as the answer?

It started when I left behind a false New Age belief system at age 29. My father, a ruggedly self-sufficient agnostic, committed suicide, and it rocked my world. My New Age thoughts and practices could not sustain me through this devastating blow. Thankfully, God reached out His hand of grace and mercy and taught me about His Son, inviting me to join Him on a new life journey to Truth.

Although I could leave behind the lies of New Age, I could not relive the many years I’d wasted with the trappings of that false religion. Tarot cards, horoscopes, séances, and lots of psychobabble had robbed me of walking with Jesus through my teens and twenties. Reflecting on that loss, I remember expressing my regrets to God one day in prayer.

His answer astounded me. I will redeem the years the locusts ate away.

I had no idea at the time that He was speaking words of scripture into my life from the Old Testament book of Joel. After that promise, He instructed me to write a novel exposing the lies of the New Age movement and opening eyes to His truths.

Initially I balked. Me? Write a novel? I didn’t even know where to begin. Little did I realize that He’d already started the work in me by giving me the theme of this first story. Within a few weeks, He gave me the entire first chapter of the book. I awoke one morning with it pouring out of me faster than I could type.

Bit by bit, He fed me the characters and plot, which later became my first novel, Out of a Dream. Through the experiences of the main character, Michelle, God enabled me to use the venue of fiction to communicate some very real messages about false religions, suicide, temptation in marriage, and the one true God.

Before I knew it a second book was unfolding with the same main character, this time examining the issue of abortion from the perspective of her heartbreaking struggle with infertility. Michelle’s very real pain and its impact on herself and her marriage spoke volumes about the devastating results of abortion upon our culture. Over the past few years since its release, Through the Tears has resonated with readers on both sides of this issue – those who have suffered the trauma of abortion as well as those who know the heartache of yearning for a child they may never have.

Soon after the release of Through the Tears, the inspiration for the third book in the series was born. Having spent fifteen years teaching 7th and 8th graders myself, this story gave me the opportunity to communicate the rewards and hardships of teaching, the many broken kids who struggle to stay afloat in life, and the issues like fractured homes, the foster care system, and teen pregnancy that challenge many of their lives. Into Magnolia and Michelle’s teacher-student relationship with a troubled young teen exemplify the power of God’s love to transform hearts and minds.

As a junior high English teacher, when it came time to help my teens learn to write fiction, I always told them to start with a theme. I wanted them to learn to build their stories around life lessons that would impact their readers. Just as Jesus used parables to teach important truths, we as writers have the opportunity to use our stories to communicate His messages to our contemporary audiences.

God’s truths address the gritty, edgy areas of our lives outside the pews. His word encompasses every trial -- when our marriages are struggling, our kids are pushing us away, and our health is failing. None of our battles are waged alone. He is there. 

It’s been said that nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Let’s take those mistakes, hardships, and tragedies from our own lives and allow God use them to help others find their way to Him and His answers. That is the ultimate purpose of my Sandy Cove series – helping readers navigate some very real trials, challenges, and deceptive mindsets in our culture from the perspective of God’s grace, mercy, and truth.

I hope you’ll join me on that journey.