I try not to talk about my Catholic novel Finding Grace (or the WIP called Erin's Ring) all the time on this blog, because it feels like self-promotion and that makes me really uncomfortable. (I also worry that readers will get bored and say, "Okay, okay; we've heard enough already about your books!") But my publisher encourages me to use any and all social media at my disposal to get the word out, because the bottom line is that this is not about me at all. It's about Him. And He deserves all the promotion He can get--anywhere, anytime. Especially in this increasingly God-less world of ours.
Dreams of fame and fortune, or of 7-figure movie deals, are not what motivated me to start writing fiction. (Good thing, too!) Aside from the fact that I enjoy the process (I just love to edit and re-edit, to switch words around until they sound the way I want them to!), the main reason I write is to give greater glory to God. The last thing I want to do is to write something that's "popular" or a "bestseller," if it includes storylines that I'll be ashamed to explain to Him on Judgment Day. I might not have had this focus if I'd tried to write a novel when I was young, so I'm actually glad I never had the inclination (or the time!) to work on one until my sons were almost all grown up. Having raised children, and having been a witness to all the ways the world comes at them with lies and half-truths meant to destroy their souls, is what gave me the inspiration to write Catholic fiction for teens and young adults--fiction that tells a good story, but more importantly, ends up inspiring them to have the courage to stand up for what is right and to fight the good fight. Fiction that inspires them to ultimately become saints in Heaven.
When I decided back in the summer of 2007 that I wanted to write the novel I'd dreamed about writing my whole life, this was my prayer during a daily Mass with my husband: "God, if I'm meant to do this--and it will be for the good of my own soul and for Your greater glory--then please inspire me." That very day, I started to write. When my husband and I got home from church, I furiously typed up about 20 pages of notes. Within 2 months, I'd written the first 8 chapters. True, it took me over 4 years to finally finish the next 24 chapters; but I was just taking my sweet time--with weeks off here and there if I needed them, because back then I had boys coming and going around this house. Besides, I never really thought it would be published. Finding Grace was just going to be for me, and for my family. I pictured running off copies for my grandchildren. I never in a million years thought it would be sold on Amazon, and I certainly didn't imagaine that copies of it would show up on a shelf in an actual bookstore.
After more than 2 years in print, I now have proof that Finding Grace has made it onto a bookstore shelf. Not too long ago, my daughter-in-law Regina sent me this picture, which she took while visiting a bookstore in downtown Kalamazoo, MI.
I know this doesn't mean that I'm going to find Finding Grace listed in the New York Times alongside YA fiction supernovas like The Fault in Our Stars or The Hunger Games. But if even just one young person (or adult--it's for big people as well) picks it up and not only enjoys it, but is edified by it, that makes me the happiest writer on God's green earth.
Endorsements of Finding Grace make me happy, too--like this recent review by Tiffany over at Life of a Catholic Librarian. Tiffany's lovely blog has a Catholic Book Club on Wednesdays, and if you love to read as much as I do, you might want to check it out.
Thanks for indulging me here, once again. I promise I won't turn String of Pearls into one big advertisement!