Today I’m the next stop on a “blog tour” from Vanessa Johnson’s God’s Beautiful Mess. Next week the blog tour will head to Caris Adel.
Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What am I working on?
Well, I do have a novel and a few smaller projects on the drawing board right now. My overarching focus though is on Story 201, an e-course with Elora Nicole, that really focuses on developing a manuscript and fine-tuning your creative process. As I’m learning and working through the course, it’s serving as a springboard for developing my ideas, getting them out of my head and into actual words.
The novel I’m working on deals with the themes of human trafficking and illegal immigration. It follows the story of a young Mexican teenager who ends up the victim of traffickers when her father decides to sneak his family into the U.S. and her unlikely but life-saving friendship with an American runaway also in captivity. It is all at once heart-wrenching and hopeful.
Why do I write what I do?
Human trafficking is in many ways the “trendy” human rights issue of our day, but for millions it is the bitter reality of their every day. I have worked on several awareness initiatives, including one that involved in-depth research on the issue specifically between the US and Mexico. The stories were real and heartbreaking and desperate to be heard. There are also many heroes laying their lives down every single day, and their stories need to be heard too. I am weaving as many real life accounts into the novel as I can in hopes of giving voice to as many of the voiceless as I can.
With my other projects, I am really passionate about helping people move from the concept of intimacy with God into the reality of it. We can know Him deeply, but it doesn’t always happen through the religious formulas we’ve been taught. There’s more, so much more. He really is concerned with practical, seemingly mundane details of our lives because His sacred mystery is so often revealed in those unlikely places.
How does your writing process work?
I almost want to laugh at this question. Developing a writing process is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. I have two small children, a part-time job that demands a lot emotionally and spiritually, and my husband has started a new job that is requiring a complete overhaul of our schedule. Which before the new job was total insanity, but we had learned to cope. So a lot of my “process” right now is making sure I am getting words out on a consistent basis, at least 4-5 times a week. I am also learning the importance of daily fueling my creativity – reading new fiction, immersing myself in music (my first love), doing lots of artsy and creative things with my kids, etc. If I weave these things into my regular daily routine, then when I do finally have time to sit down and write, I don’t have to fight as much writer’s block; my creativity is already brimming and it’s just a matter of channeling it in the right direction.
And however silly it may sound, when I do get to sit and write, pouring a cup of tea or a glass of wine and lighting a candle really help me clear away the chaos and focus.
I want to say specifically to other moms struggling to find space for creativity and feeling like they’re losing themselves in the process of raising kids sometimes – I absolutely do not have all the answers and I struggle with this too, but something has been happening over the last three months that has surprised and delighted me. The more I focus on developing and feeding my children’s creativity, the more it fuels my own. I am NOT suggesting neglecting yourself or not feeding your own creative soul; it’s the complete opposite. Watching them embrace and run with creativity actually inspires me to do what I need to fuel myself. It’s been the most breathtaking cycle – I invite them to be creative, they blossom, which makes me want to be more creative, which empowers them to be more creative and on and on. A lot of days we create together – they paint, I write. We art journal. Instead of seeing them as an inhibition to my process, I am making them partners in my process. It’s amazing.
How’s my work different from others of its genre?
Truthfully, I’m not sure what genre my novel falls into yet. But I do think one thing that could set it apart is that I am not merely going to tell a story or bring awareness to an issue through the story; I am also weaving into the story the tools ordinary people like you and me can use to make a difference.
And spiritually, my relationship with God has been anything but ordinary or stereotypical. I think I’ve had some very unique experience both within the church and outside it that help me understand and speak to a wide range of perspectives.
I mentioned having several ideas on the drawing board. These include a YA coming of age type novel, some children’s books (both picture books and chapter books), Christian non-fiction and a fantasy-type story. So I really don’t know what genre I belong in!
Next week – the blog tour stops at Caris Adel‘s space. Caris sees the image of God in people where others might miss it. It’s a beautiful gift she has. Definitely be on the look out for what she has to say!