I’m certainly not Stephen King, though I must confess to having read many of his books. (Don’t shoot me…the man’s writing technique is amazing, and so are his fictional worlds.) I’m not even close to his level of expertise, but I do sit around and think up people, places, and situations which become actual published books, so I think it’s all right to call myself a writer. Since Stevie’s mind isn’t open for discussion, we’ll have to settle for mine.
It isn’t a scary place...well, not usually, but I do have a vivid imagination, so you never know what you’ll find wandering the halls of my mental castle. Behind each door is something different. From behind one entrance, you might hear the cries of a lost, wounded, lonely child, crying for its mother. The next room could be packed with people—laughing, happy people; sad and bitter ones; men in crises of faith or integrity; women resisting the temptation of infidelity; innocent children and evil predators. Another portal might open onto a stage on which angels and demons battle for the precious soul of a human being.
One bright spot in my inner world is filled with all the love, hopes and dreams for and memories of my loved ones—family and friends. That area is private and heavily guarded against unwanted intrusion. Funny how we’re like that with folks we love, isn’t it?
So here’s the question: How does a Christian writer come to include within the pages of her books situations often non-conducive to a godly lifestyle? Sin in all its ugly forms. Addiction. All manner of temptation and possible pitfalls. In short…things one wouldn’t expect to find in the mind of a Christian.
Here’s why it works. Because the biggest, brightest, most important room in my mind—you’ll recognize it on your tour because it’s the “lived-in” space—belongs to Jesus Christ. He is the Source of all the surrounding activity, for it is He who provides fodder for the mill of my imagination. He shines onto the walls of my mind moving pictures in vivid techno-color, with instructions on how to word-paint them into the pages of my books. He draws the outline and provides the various hues and shades of color with which to fill them. He provides the details that show how my characters got themselves into the spots we find them in—undesirable, questionable, ungodly places.
And then He reveals what they need to do to escape. Funny thing is, the way out always leads to the same destination…the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Yep, right back to the Big Room. The bright room. The lived-in space in my mind where Jesus dwells.
In summation, it seems that within a Christian writer’s mind is an endlessly revolving Circle of Life. It isn’t always perfect and pretty and free of sin. It contains a few things that might make a Child of God shudder, because we know they’re doubtful, deadly or undesirable…and they lead to destruction.
But the hard, unflinching reality is that in the real world—the one where you and I live and breathe and have our being—these situations exist. Temptations abound, and people are caught in them. Addictions take root, and our neighbors and friends are imprisoned by them. These “undesirables” are, and people with souls are trapped there, seeking a means of escape.
Perhaps one of these tortured, seeking souls who would never consider darkening the door of a church house, will pick up an edgy Christian fiction novel. And maybe she will find, within those pages, a Way of escape.
Because within that churning, twirling, twisting circle I mentioned are a generous number of spokes. Life-changing, soul-saving, hope-giving spokes—because each of them is attached to the Big Room where Jesus dwells, and where Philippians 4:8 is in full working mode: …whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I hope you enjoyed your tour, and that it helps you understand a little better what goes on inside the mind of a (Christian) writer.
Here's an excerpt from Kylie's Kiss by Delia Latham:
Rick settled into a seat across from Kylie and Clay and sat in silence for a moment, a slight frown drawing his dark brows together. Finally he looked up, first at Clay, then in her direction. “Kylie, I haven’t had a chance to share with you about Lea, though I believe Clay knows a little.”
Her heart sank and her gaze flew to her boss, who nodded. Yes, he knew about Lea, whoever she was. This didn’t sound good. “Who’s Lea?”
“She’s my little girl.” Kylie drew in a slow, deliberate breath, forcing herself to stay calm. So he had a daughter. As long as a wife wasn’t the next announcement, she could handle that.
“You have a child. How old is she?”
“She just turned six.” Rick’s expression softened as he spoke, and Kylie knew without a doubt that Lea was his life. His green eyes, startling against the olive of his skin, met hers without flinching. “She’s a special child, Kylie. Smart, beautiful, charming….” Kylie found herself fascinated by the adorable little self-derisive grin that played about his lips. “And sweet as cotton candy.”
Kylie couldn’t help smiling. “You don’t like her much, huh?”
“She is my heart and soul.” A little sheepish, but unrepentant.
“When do we get to meet this perfect child?” Clay’s grin lit up his craggy face. “Destiny’s already looking forward to it, but be warned—she’s going to try to keep her. My wife has a thing with kids, man. She loves ’em, and they always love her right back.”
Rick laughed a little, but his tone was serious. “I hope she still feels that way after she meets Lea.” He pulled a wallet from his pocket, then sat for a moment, saying nothing.
Puzzled, Kylie watched him run slender fingers through his thick black hair. Again and again he invaded the thick waves, managing to somehow leave them only slightly mussed. Finally he opened the billfold and pulled out a photo.
When he raised his head, revealing the torment in his eyes, her heart nearly stopped. What was wrong with Lea? Whatever it was, did Rick think it would make a difference in how she or Clay might feel about the child? If so, he certainly didn’t give them much credit.
“This is Lea.” He handed the photo to Clay, who smiled and passed it on to Kylie.
“She’s a cutie all right, my friend. You weren’t exaggerating. So what’s the problem?”
Kylie wondered the same thing. The photo showed a partial silhouette of an extraordinarily beautiful child. Unlike her olive-skinned father, Lea was a vision of light. Golden hair, porcelain skin, eyes the color of a robin’s egg. Kylie met Rick’s gaze, mystified by his obvious unease. “She’s lovely.”
“Thank you. I think so.” He pulled out another photo and handed it to Clay. “In spite of this.”
Kylie’s stomach clenched and threatened to revolt. Her boss’s flinch was slight, but unmistakable. Oh, dear God, please help me handle whatever this is with grace. How ironic that her first real prayer in years would be one of such a pitifully begging nature. Somehow she knew her reaction to this photo could mean life or death for her relationship with Rick. How strange that she’d be thinking in terms of a relationship now, when only moments before she’d been ready to concede defeat.
Clay nodded slowly, then met Kylie’s eyes. He held briefly to the picture even after her fingers closed on it. His words were directed to his friend, but his gaze held hers. “You’re right, my friend. Nothing could make this child anything less than perfect.”
He released the photo into Kylie’s grip. By now she did not want to look at it. Something in Rick’s eyes and Clay’s voice told her she could be in trouble. But what choice did she have?
Her eyes moved in slow, jerking movements from Clay’s face to the photo in her hands. She gasped, overwhelmed with sympathy—and total panic.
Another silhouette, shot from the opposite side of Lea’s face. Long, lumpy red welts stained her exquisite skin, puckering her cheek into an inhuman mask. Kylie had no idea she was crying until the tears tickled her face, even as her throat closed and her stomach lurched.
The photo fluttered to the floor as she leaped to her feet. Sending the two men a desperately apologetic look, she flew out of the room with a hand over her mouth.
Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham moved from California to Oklahoma in 2008, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her simple country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. The author enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia AT delialatham DOT net.
It's giveaway time!
I have a PRINT COPY of Delia's newest book, Kylie's Kiss to give to one lucky reader. Leave a comment for Delia between now and May 31 to enter. Be sure to include your email address if it's not in your profile.