Monday, September 4, 2017

Prisoners of Hope and other Spiritual Themes by Annette M. Irby

"Hope" spelled out in tiles*

Each of our lives is layered with unique experiences, and as writers, we can insert those elements into our stories. I included certain spiritual themes in my latest book, which released over the weekend (whoop!), and I wanted to share some of them with you.

Wooed by a Passionate God

One of the ways God has touched my life, beyond the merciful power of salvation, is through wooing me closer to Himself. In Finding Live in Friday Harbor, Washington, I wanted God to woo my hero after he suffered losses. I described God revealing the truth of His character in a way that touched my hero’s life/heart, and drew him to God. This was one of my favorite elements of this novel.

Because we’ve each lived through spiritual lessons ourselves, we have confidence and passion to share those elements with others through our writing. Here’s another example:

Prisoners of Hope

Have you ever been in a deeply painful season of loss where you felt confused, even lost, and desperate for mercy? I have. Before I finished writing FLI Friday Harbor, I experienced such a season. I couldn’t give up, yet I couldn’t see a way to victory. I had to hope. Yet hope was my enemy because for a while, nothing was changing, nothing was improving. I wrote the emotions of irritation, resentment, impatience into my brooding hero’s story. He feels stuck and hopeless, but hope is all he has. He's a prisoner of hope, just like I was.  (Tweet that!)

But look at this fantastic promise to the prisoners of hope:

Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
Zechariah 9:12 NKJV


Double! After so much loss, my character is ready for relief, release, and restoration of some of what he’s lost. God kept those promises in my life. You’ll have to read my book to see if God keeps those promises for my characters. 😊

We mine many things from our life experience, including faith stories. As writers, we can then apply them to our fiction, without preaching (ideally).

Your turn: Share some of the spiritual elements you’ve included in your stories. Did they come from your own life? Or as a reader, has your life been changed or encouraged because you read about a faith element in fiction during a challenging season?

Write on, friends!


Will keeping his promise lead to another broken heart—or help them find love again?

FLI Friday Harbor by Annette M. Irby

Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancĂ©. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. She’ll have to face her past and overcome her concerns about the future to make it through the summer.

Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and debts. He’s hoping the incoming stodgy professor will help resurrect the failing business, but he’s not prepared when that professor turns out to be Mikaela, his former fiancĂ©e. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue her if she ever returned to the island single. The more time they spend together, the easier it is to keep that promise, though she still plans to leave at the end of the season. How much will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela?


Annette M. Irby
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more on her Seriously Write Page.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:

Photo credit: *hope tiles (c) Annette M. Irby  
Author photo credit: Sarah Irby of Irby Photography