The Making of a Novel

There are no conspiracy theories here. No one wrongly accused. Instead, I’d like to chronicle the birth and life of a novel as I work through my creation process. I’ve written six novels, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. I know what works for me, which may not work for you, but if I can impart anything to help anyone, I feel this is worthwhile. Also, I think it’s fun to see how things are made.

My seventh novel is entitled Grace of God. Let me get this out of the way first: It’s not a Christian novel. I don’t write religious material, but religion does play a central role in the novel, just not as you’d expect given the title. Some may be turned off by the subject matter, especially in the way I shine a light on it, but I think it’s important for writers to hold up a mirror to society and give it a glimpse of how it is perceived, which is what I do in this story.

I grew up in the Southern U.S. in the heart of the bible belt where things are not always as they seem. Amidst all the apparent niceties are some pretty ugly realities, and some people, who would have everyone believe they are nothing but a pious soldier on some holy mission, are as about a trustworthy and likable as a smarmy politician. These duplicitous people are often worse than the sins they claim to abhor. That’s the backdrop for this novel.

In my story, Grace, the protagonist, miraculously survives a plane crash when she is just six months old. Unfortunately, the crash kills her parents, so she goes to live with her maternal grandmother, Wilma. Her grandmother is as two-faced and unscrupulous as they come, but she knows how to manipulate people and conspires to take advantage of “Miracle Grace” for her own gain. She builds a ministry empire around her granddaughter’s story becoming ridiculously wealthy and renown around the world. As Grace nears adulthood, she begins to question her grandmother’s motives and doubt her own faith, and as her teenage rebellion unfolds, the world around her is exposed for what it really is.

Every novel I’ve written has an aspect of a message contained within it. The Vanishing tackles the subject of the right to die. All Things Certain confronts the foolishness of homophobia. That Which Binds Us explores the depths of denial and familial bonds. The Weight of Regret takes a hard look at human weaknesses and the choices we make. The Fire Within examines the strength of character and perseverance. Even my off-the-beaten-path science fiction novel is more about the characters than the science as it revels in a power struggle in a competition to survive.

So there’s a message in Grace of God. As I bring this novel to life, I hope you enjoy the ride. You don’t have to agree with me or even like the message, but I hope it makes you think. That’s the one goal I have for every novel I write. Aside from the process, I will be sharing excerpts from the novel here as well. Let’s get started!

 

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