It's no secret that I put different aspects of my own personality, history, and self into my characters. For example, Kennedy's college experiences closely mirror my own (minus the constant danger and life-threatening situations, thankfully).
Sometimes I intentionally draw on my own experiences, like I when I set my romantic suspense novel Identity Theft in the same part of Alaska where my husband and I lived ten years ago. But often, I don't notice the similarities until the story is complete and I go back and reread what I wrote.
Let me tell you, sometimes my subconscious surprises me.
Four years ago, I published my very first novel, a Christian suspense story highlighting religious persecution in North Korea. Little did I know that book would begin a partnership between me and Liberty in North Korea, aka LiNK, aka the best charity in the world.
What makes LiNK the bomb? First of all, I love the fact that LiNK is on the ground in East Asia helping North Korean refugees find freedom. We're talking underground railroads. We're talking brave men and women risking fines, imprisonment, and sometimes even torture for the sake of freedom.
Is it any wonder that a suspense novelist like myself would fall in love with folks like that?
Writing Christian fiction is an intensely fierce calling, but so many readers never see the fight that goes into their favorite books. Many people think of writing as a very relaxing sort of job. Long, quiet hours to yourself. Getting paid to daydream. Communing with your favorite characters all day long.
Even if novel writing was 0.000002% as peaceful as that sounds, it's even less for the Christian author.
Thanks so much for letting me wrap up the next Kennedy book last week. God, you really helped me with that one. So I'm at it again, fresh start Monday afternoon, a blank document staring me in the face.
I confess that I'm scared.
It's NaNoWriMo time, which means hundreds of thousands of writers (myself included) are frantically working to get their 50,000 words written before midnight on November 30.
It's hard to believe that one year ago I was participating in my first ever NaNoWriMo and meeting Woong.
Woong is an orphan from North Korea whose story grabbed my heart and captivated my imagination.
For those of you familiar with my Kennedy Stern series, you know I don't shy away from controversial subjects. Underage abortion, racism, police brutality, mental health issues, all these are fair game.
I follow a few different Facebook forums for authors and readers of Christian fiction, and every so often someone poses the question, What do you want to see more of in Christian fiction? And you know what? Readers are looking for deeper, messier, grittier reads about deeper, messier, grittier subjects. Which is one of the reasons why I wrote Straightened, a suspense novel about a boy whose father kicks him out of the home when he finds out he's gay.
Great news! Last night I finished the first draft of my next Kennedy Stern novel. This is a video I filmed (at 10:30 pm in the bright light of day!) to let you know how I tend to celebrate milestones like this.
I'm so excited to get Kennedy Book 4 in your hands ASAP! Thanks for all the encouragement and prayers you all lifted up. For my last NaNo Note of the month, here's a short snippet from last night's draft:
If you want a chance to get ahead in the Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense Series before book 4 is released, Unplanned is currently free on amazon!
Marionette is the first book in my Agent Ko Spy Thriller Series, and let me tell you, this has been my most difficult writing project by far. To give you some perspective, I wrote the novel Flower Swallow in eleven days. I started my Ko series in February of 2015. That's a year and a half ago, and I'm just now getting ready to release the first two books.
Well, you can tease all you want for it taking me that long. I'm just thankful it got written at all. The entire ordeal was similar to a bad dating relationship, with me giving up on the project at least a dozen times only to pick it back up again (often against what felt like the better side of reason).
Why was it so hard? What was so different about this series that made it such a challenge?
I'm not a controversial person. I'd much rather sit with someone over coffee or enjoy a walk outside with a friend than engage in a political or ideological debate.
As an author who's active on social media, I've been careful to keep my political biases out of the public eye. You're much more likely to read a funny quote from one of my kids or see a cute picture of my goats than ascertain which political candidate I support or my opinions regarding a particular hot-button issue of the day.
Publishing my Agent Ko Spy Thriller Series is one of the most controversial things I've had the guts to do as an author. Sure, I wrote a book about abortion when it involves a minor and suspected incest. I've published a novel about police brutality that raises all kinds of questions of racial tensions. But nothing has dragged me out of my comfort zone as much as making the switch from Christian suspense novels to secular thrillers.
In case you hadn't heard, book three in the Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense series was just released! Policed deals with issues of racism and police brutality, and I'd like to publicly thank those who helped encourage and support me while I worked on it.
Policed is a novel that wouldn’t have come into existence without the prayers, encouragement, and practical support of a whole team of friends. Annie, thanks again for the fabulous edits! If it weren’t for you, Sandy would still be calling Kennedy “Sweatheart,” and Willow would be struggling with the moose she put in her hair. Elizabeth, your proof-reading skills are exceptional, and I really have come to treasure our friendship. Thanks, Anne, for bringing the VW bus into existence and giving such helpful feedback, and Regi for always being such a great sounding board.
A big shout-out also to my prayer team for putting up with so many (sometimes rambling) emails when I need your intercession. My husband remains my biggest fan and encourager, and none of my words would ever be written or have any meaning whatsoever if it weren’t for the grace of my Lord Jesus.
I try not to shy away from controversial subjects in my writing, but I was worried when it came to drafting Policed. More than anything, I was afraid my readers would confuse my characters’ political views for my own. My purpose in writing Policed was to raise questions, not to espouse a certain ideology. Several characters in this novel have strong opinions on issues of race relations, the police force, etc., and I hope that the issues you read about in Policed spark some good discussions or internal musings. I also hope you find some encouragement and entertainment in the story itself. I had no other intention besides this.
I wrote the story of Spencer, the little boy whom the Lindgrens fostered, in memory of my friend’s son Spencer who died before his family could hold him and tell him how much he was loved. I’m convinced he knew it anyway.
I dedicate this novel to the men and women who selflessly and courageously serve on police forces, keeping the peace and putting your lives on the line to protect the public. May God bless you in your work and keep you safe indeed.
You can grab your own copy of Policed today. Available in ebook and paperback.