What’s the message? God, what do You intend as You author the pages of the book I’m writing?
Those are important questions to ask, and usually I feel a solid Spirit push once I create a story. In general terms I know the conflict, the theme, character arcs and resolution. That’s not meant to imply the message God puts on my heart is easily expressed, or drifts from my brain to the printed page in a perfect free-flow…no way, and don’t I wish!
But then came The Fairytale. I recently clicked ‘send’ on this manuscript and delivered it to my editor. The Fairytale centers on a princess and the commoner with whom she falls in love. Crafting this story was quite different for me. The words and scenes flew from my fingertips, and that was a joyful surprise. Usually there are points where I struggle to finesse the plot, or properly align conflict with a realistic resolution.
Here’s what startled me as one scene built and flowed into the next: I had no idea what was coming to be until the book was finished and I began to read it through with a stronger editorial eye. It was then that I realized there was no physical villain. No bad man or woman bent on causing chaos within the lives of my protagonists. Rather, the villain of The Fairytale is modern culture. The crux of its conflict comes from invasiveness, from societal perception, pressures and expectations that are often in direct opposition to my hero and heroine’s Christian perspectives.
That’s a heavy conflict to overcome, and here’s what else struck home. You don’t have to be in the public eye to feel the weight of those burdens, which makes the story relatable. After all, I’m nobody’s royal—although I readily confess to a love affair with sparkly tiaras—however, I feel increasing and hazardous pressure from the world around me to conform, ‘play nice’ and ‘go with the flow.’ Many times as a Christian I’m expected to deny my beliefs and follow culture’s secular lead. If I don’t, I run the painful risk of being marginalized as judgmental, bigoted or self-righteous. If I don’t support ‘this’ agenda or ‘that’ idea, I’m wrong, intolerant and way out of step.
The only way I know to change that tide is to live my life honestly, but in a manner that demonstrates the power of God’s loving redemption and grace.
So those realizations I stumbled upon as the result of writing The Fairytale aren’t just for future readers. They’re for me, too. After all, Jesus was royal to the highest power—yet he was common. He served. He had no armies, no official governance, yet he became a leader who turned a handful of followers into billions. He gave himself away out of unconditional, perfect love.
Therein resides my most powerful and enduring barometer of true royalty.
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Aiden Balfour has always craved stability, independence and security. He’s led a rocky life but always treasured his summers in Northern Michigan with his best summertime friend, Olivia Masters.
Olivia is dedicated to preserving the life she’s known and always treasured at her grandparent’s home high on a bluff overlooking the pristine waters of Avalon. With their blessing, she’s turned the expansive piece of property into a quaint, restful bed and breakfast.
But developers are circling—and they’re led by none other than Aiden Balfour.
Now an ambitious businessman, he’s determined to turn the lake into a tourist mecca. A successful business owner, Olivia is equally determined to stop him...no matter what his hold on her heart.
Can the innocent joy and love of their youth be reclaimed? Can Then…and now…ever be reconciled to a future overflowing with love, and hope?
Then & Now is part of the Pure Amore imprint at Pelican Book Group. Pure Amore is a ‘book of the month’ subscription service featuring Christian romances centered on the concept of pre-marital purity and abstinence that doesn’t surrender one moment of the thrill to be found when two people fall in love. Check out Then & Now and the other wonderful Pure Amore titles at Pelican Book Group.