Recently, after editing one of my books, my editor mentioned this particular book was her new favorite of those I’d written. How good that made me feel, knowing how much she enjoyed the story!
Later, I started thinking if there’s a favorite book then there must also be a least-favorite. Honestly, I don’t want to know which of my books is my editor’s least favorite. Writers are such an insecure lot, as it is, and knowing that would only add to my insecurity.
I thought back to books I’ve written and I definitely have my least favorite books. Of course I put my heart and soul into writing each of them, but they have not always come out the way I hoped or planned.
But here’s the cool thing—thinking back on one particular least-favorite book—many readers have told me that story was their favorite of mine. Imagine? Actually it’s kind of like when you get a new haircut and you just hate it—but others compliment your new do, and they mean it! What are they seeing that you can’t see?
Reading and writing is all so subjective. (And hairdos too) My point is that God uses everything. What speaks to one person, might not speak to another.
Over the years and through the novel-writing experience, I’ve finally learned that writing is my ministry. That God can use my struggles that subtly make their way into my stories, though metaphorically rather than literally.
The letter I write to readers at the end is where I usually give a glimpse into why I wrote the story, or what it’s really about. I’ve heard from so many readers about that letter. How the story PLUS the letter has had a positive impact on them, reassured them in some way. Some have even mentioned it served as a confirmation of something God had been trying to show them. I’m here to tell you there’s nothing better than hearing that your work can help people, through God’s transforming power, of course.
Can a novel really speak to someone? Change them in a positive way?
I’ve had a few book signings where curious individuals have approached my table of books. When I explain that I write Christian fiction, these individuals appear astonished that such a things exists. What purpose could be behind telling stories? Why read a story when the Bible is available to read?
Um . . . hello? Jesus told parables.
But WHY did he tell stories?
A good story has a way of disarming a person, opening up their mind and heart to understand a deeper truth they could not otherwise comprehend.
God called me to write years ago. He put that dream in me and, yes, it took years to get there, but I answered that call and He made my dreams come true. But it was all for His purposes. I now understand that writing isn’t about my dreams, it’s about my ministry. It’s about furthering God’s kingdom even if the spiritual nuggets can be found in escape. Or romantic suspense.
Isn’t He everywhere? Doesn’t He go everywhere to find us wherever He can?
I’m just a vessel, a writer and I hope and pray He uses me. (My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45)
What are some of the stories that have “spoken” to your heart?
Here’s an excerpt from the Dear Reader letter at the end of Deception, my latest release.
Have you ever made a simple decision that turned out to be a mistake with far-reaching repercussions? If you’re human, of course you have. We all have. We often carry the weight of that mistake around like a heavy burden that affects other decisions, as well.
If only we could know the future, there are probably many decisions we would have made differently. Though we can’t know what will happen, the good news is that we can trust God for our future, and we can also trust Him to take care of our past. Sometimes there are still repercussions, but those are easier to bear when we give the burden over to God and accept His grace.
I love this scripture: As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12, and often meditate on it to remind me that I am forgiven as far as God is concerned—and He is the only One who really matters. He is the One we answer to.
Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES–a 2011 Carol Award winner. She’s a double finalist in the 2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for her books BURIED and BACKFIRE in the Mountain Cove series. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time. She currently makes her home in Minnesota with her husband and children