From the moment I signed the contract with New Hope Publishers for my four-book Extreme Devotion fiction series, I began hearing variations of the same question: What’s the genre?
The writing and production of this series was an exciting shared adventure, as I partnered with New Hope Publishers in their first fiction launch even while I learned about the unique aspects of writing fiction in international settings. Of the four countries highlighted in the books, I have been to only one—Mexico—but I have never set foot in the area where the Mayan culture is so strong and where much of that book takes place. Can anyone say RESEARCH? Online research, library research, books and videos and movies—and people. My greatest resource for authentic research was connecting with people who either currently live in the countries where my stories occur or had recently lived there. Though I began the writing of the stories based on much of my online and book research, the majority of personal touches that make readers say, “Wow, it’s like I’m right there!” came about as a result of feedback from those who know the areas and culture firsthand.
And now we are in the midst of the Freedom series, a “fiction with a mission” trilogy based on the topic of human trafficking. Though much of these three books will take place right here in the States, as I wanted readers to understand that human trafficking doesn’t just happen in faraway lands, the books will also contain a strong sub-plot set in the Golden Triangle area of Thailand. (Yep, more research!) Even our stand-alone 2011 Christmas book, A Christmas Journey Home, has an international setting, with the story going back and forth between the Baja area of Mexico and the Arizona desert.
As an author of Christian books, this is my way of “going into all the world” to fulfill the Great Commission—and calling others to do the same. I pray my venture into international fiction will truly prove to be “fiction with a mission” for all who read it—and who may find themselves called to expand their own writing into this exciting and growing genre.