Last month I hung a help wanted sign in the window of this blog. I tweeted and Facebook-ed about the job listing and even poked around at a couple of the discussion boards I frequent looking for help.
I'm happy to say I've found two blog partners who've signed on to ease some of my reading load. First up, is my friend Serena Chase. Please give her a warm welcome and then, come back later this afternoon to meet the second sweetheart joining our fold, Julia Dixon.
Joy: How do we know each other, again?
Serena: Ah, hearken back to the days long ago when you and I colored next to each other in preschool. You always fought me for the blue-green crayon. Or was it the green-blue? I don’t remember. Oh, wait. That wasn’t you. That was that other kid. Seriously now, I believe we met about two years ago within the not-too-constrained constraints of an online writers’ community. Shortly after, we bonded over a shared love of sarcasm, edgy Christian fiction, and witty banter -- as well as the desire to be published and to keep our sanity. The first four have remained constant. The sanity, however, is a day-to-day thing. At least for me.
Joy: So what’s up with the whole writing thang?
Serena: Some may consider it a mental disorder. I mean, I'm in my thirties and still play with imaginary friends!
In real life, however, I have a job, a husband, and two kids -- but if I average the hours I’ve spent writing over the past four years I'm pretty sure I could consider writing to be the most fulfilling, worst-paying full-time job I've ever had. I love it. I wouldn't give it up for the world -- even if I never make a dime.
So what have I done it all that time spent over a keyboard? Well, I’ve completed two novels through the proposal stage and am working on the proposal for my third. I have a fourth novel about halfway through the first draft and numbers five and six not far behind.
While my current project (a coming-of-age novel for young adults) is the first I would categorize as an “Inspirational YA Romance”, all of my fiction thus far has contained strong elements of romance. Regardless of the sub genre in which I write, all my plots are relationally driven and all, in one way or another, have a certain “fairytale romance” aspect about them. I can’t help it. It’s who I am.
Joy: What made you accept my offer to join Edgy Inspirational Romance-besides the desperation in my voice?
Serena: I must admit, the desperation in your voice was fairly persuasive. However, I believe it was the blatant flattery and bribery that sold me on the whole thing. (Just kidding.)
But seriously, now: I believe that romantic literature (especially Christian and/or Inspirational Romance) has a unique ability to speak truth into a woman’s heart. (On a side note: It is quite possible that romance literature speaks truth into a man’s heart as well; but not being a man – or even personally knowing a man who reads Inspirational Romance – I cannot, in good conscience, confirm that hypothesis.)
The ability to appreciate and long for romance is a divine gift. After all, we have a terribly romantic, relationally-driven God. He is our Bridegroom -- the True Wooer of our souls. Regardless of the labels we attach to stories of a romantic nature (Christian/Secular, Comedy/Drama, etc.) I think that when relationally-driven fiction is written well -- or inspired, rather -- we can catch a fresh glimpse of The Great Romance; a glimpse we may miss in the mundane busyness of our ordinary lives.
In short (really??? This is short? You’d hate to see me long winded, wouldn’t you?) I accepted your invitation because I want to help take these edgier stories to a greater audience and I think by joining you here I can be a part of that push.
Joy: Using each letter of your first name, create an acrostic that describes you (does this feel less like an intro and more like a hazing?)
Exercise avoidance issues
Necessary nom de plume
Joy: Name your top five books ever:
Serena: EVER????? Just five? Really????? Well, okay. These are in no particular order and some are series that I love, so they just get one listing.
1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
2. Evergreen Castles by Laurie B. Clifford
3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann (okay, the whole Michelli Family series. And a bunch of her other books, too. I’ll read anything Ms. Heitzmann writes. She makes me use the poetic part of my brain and I love her better for it!)
Serena Chase is the pen name of an aspiring author whose real name was already taken by another (published) writer. A lifelong reader, writer, and performer who believes in the innate power of Story, Serena is active in her local community theater, currently rehearsing for the role of “Eliza Dolittle” in My Fair Lady. Now a thirty-something (heavy on the “something”) mother-of-two, Serena lives in a small Midwestern town but dreams of someday writing her novels from a comfy seat on the deck of her dream-cottage on the beach. At this point, however, the cottage is just a dream and she’s keeping her day job. You can find Serena’s weekly (or sometimes daily) attempts at wit and inspiration at her new devotional-ish (heavy on the “ish”) blog. Serena’s new blog is aimed at teens, but welcomes romantic hearts of any age. Find her at: serenachase.com
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