Magical mystery tour
(Only it’s not a mystery, just a blog tour, but I like saying “magical.”)
Thanks to Alison Bliss for inviting me to take part in this. Her debut novel, Rules of Protection, will be released by Entangled Publishing in July and it.is.awesome. I know, because she let me read it. She generously gives me the title of critique partner, and while it’s true, it doesn’t feel accurate — because I had way too much fun reading it to pretend it was work. Check it out. Her sense of humor is killer, and her heroine does and says things most of us would only dream of.
So what is a blog tour, you might be wondering? This one is simple — I answer four questions about my writing process and then tag three other writers. It gives all of our readers a chance to check out some other blogs (and gives us something to talk about).
I tend to be long-winded, but if I’ve left out anything you want to know, just ask. I’ll be glad to share more!
1) What am I working on?
To be honest, I’m trying to figure that out right now. I turned in the manuscript for my upcoming book, The Art of Praying Upside Down, around the first of the year. My publisher (it still thrills me to say that) is in the editorial review process, so I’m waiting to find out if my manuscript lived up to their expectations and to see what kinds of changes they’d like to make. In the meantime, I need to focus on social media and branding — the dreaded “writer’s platform.” In other words, refine my long-term blog plan, become strategic about my engagement on social media and other blogs, and build relationships with people who are interested in similar topics.*
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
On the surface, it’s an easy question. I’m using art as an entry point for prayer. I’m not writing to artists, but using an artist’s way of seeing and working to help my readers explore prayer in new ways. The way I hope my work differs from others in this genre is that I’ve tried to be conversational and relatable. No pretension, and very informal. Some friends (who are now my very favorite friends) have read my book and say it’s like sitting down over coffee with me. I want to open a dialogue, to share my faith in a way that is true to what I believe but is non-threatening to those who don’t see it the way I do. Because I think that faith — and God — are so much bigger than we typically give them credit for. I believe religion is less about differences and more about finding common ground. I believe God reveals Himself to us in different ways — as many ways as there are personalities — and I delight in learning people’s stories. Because they always — always — reveal more about Him.
3) Why do I write what I do?
This question makes me laugh. I write what I do because it’s the first thing I’ve ever had inside me that feels important enough for me to share it widely. I’m thrilled — delighted beyond delight — that God is allowing me to do this. That it feels like He is in this, leading me here, making me ready to do this. But I don’t feel as though I chose this genre. I didn’t grow up wanting to write nonfiction (or specifically Christian inspiration). Where’s the glamour in that? But it’s where I ended up. Where I naturally default. And, somehow, although I didn’t make a conscious choice to be here, it’s exactly where I fit.
4) How does my writing process work?
This would be easier to answer if, in fact, I had one. Like many writers, I work full time. I have kids and a husband and a church and a book club and hobbies and friends and a life (sometimes almost too much of one, if I’m being honest). Most writers insist that routine is key — write in the same place, at the same time, every day, and your brain will learn to respond, helping you bypass writer’s block and preventing you from letting your moods dictate what, if and when you write. Because a writer is, simply, one who writes. I’ve never been all that disciplined when it comes to maintaining a regular routine or sticking with something in an intentional way. I do, however, follow my passions and rise to the challenge somewhat successfully when deadlines are involved. I love to write. That’s the simple answer. And the more complicated — but no less true — one is that it’s exhilarating to me to share the insights that seem to have been given to me by God. As I wrote this book, I discovered that my whole life was rolled up in it. The whole of who I am and the things that formed me. It’s all there. And it’s beautiful — not because it’s my story, but because I see and feel and hear God in the midst of even the smallest moments of it. And even if this book doesn’t touch a single other soul, it has been healing for me to realize how deep my faith goes, how much my whole life is built on that foundation, even when I may fall short in daily practice.
OK, enough about me! Check in next Monday to read inspiring words from these three fabulous writers:
HEATHER CALIRI I’m particularly excited to introduce Heather to you. I discovered her through Addie Zierman’s blog, and I love Heather’s blog, too. I love her perspective on life and faith and art. I think you will, too. Heather’s bio: Two years ago, I started saying little yeses to faith, art, and life. The result? Transformation. Get my free e-book, “Dancing Back to Jesus: Post-perfectionist Faith in Five Easy Verbs”, on my blog, A Little Yes.
CARA LUECHT I just had the privilege of reading Cara’s book, Soul Painter, which was released on March 15th. (I actually posted a review here. The short version: I LOVED IT.) Cara’s bio: Cara Luecht lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for Madison College. She is an active volunteer at Living Hope Fellowship in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where she leads the Sunday morning worship. Cara graduated Summa cum Laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
JOE ROPER Every writer needs an adoring fan or two, maybe even a fan club president. And I found both in the fabulous Joe Roper. (I’m not kidding about the fan club president. He even has a t-shirt to prove it — see?) Joe’s one of the best encouragers around — and he also happens to be a talented writer whose first book, The Hunter Awakens: Morus Chronicles Book One, will be released from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing on July 8th. His short fiction has been accepted into quite a few horror compilations, too. He never ceases to amaze. Stay tuned — I think great things are going to be happening to him.
*In the couple weeks since I drafted this post, I actually got the editorial comments from the publisher and have those underway. I have until April 15th – wish me luck!