Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Exploring the Hard Truths by Jessica R. Patch

As a writer, I often learn as much, spiritually, as my characters. Today, author Jessica Patch encourages us to dig deep into the "hard truths" for our characters, for our readers, and for ourselves. -- Sandy

Jessica: Coming up with a story question or theme can be difficult when writing, especially if you’ve written several books/manuscripts. We pray and ask God where He would lead us and I’ve found that He often sends me on a personal journey. Sometimes it’s one I’ve already been through and sometimes it’s a journey while writing.

It’s important to explore spiritual truths in our books as Christian writers. Even the hard truths that we aren’t sure we have answers to. That’s what happened to me before I wrote Final Verdict. As a suspense writer, I use many characters in law enforcement. After writing Concealed Identity, I knew I wanted to pair two minor characters together from that story and give them their own. He is a sheriff, working to put away criminals. She’s a defense attorney, working to set them free. My big question was how could a Christian be a defense attorney and feel okay about it?

It was right after I thought of this question that God brought up a past situation in my family. Several years ago, my brother-in-law was killed by a teenage drunk driver. Someone had to defend that boy. Did they try him as a minor or an adult? All of these things came up. All the emotions I felt, my family felt all came back up and I knew this would have a place in the book. It was tough. It was a struggle. I explored reasons why someone would defend a criminal. During this exploration and time of prayer, God showed me so many aspects of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. He also showed me what bitterness and resentment looked like. Those real feelings came out authentically in these characters. Answers to my questions were laid out through this story.

I encourage you to write and explore the hard truths. The difficult questions you wrestle or struggle with. It will give authenticity to your characters and minister to readers who ask the same questions. You can give them a new perspective through the pages of the story.

Could you be a defense attorney? Why or why not? (No wrong answer here!) Have you ever learned something compelling and personal as you've written your stories?


Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She is the author of the Seasons of Hope series and several Love Inspired Suspense novels including, Fatal ReunionProtective DutyConcealed Identity, and Final Verdict. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her spending time with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

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