Before writing, one reads first, of course. After writing and further developing the skills needed to do it well, however, reading is never quite the same. That epiphany is a seed of thought especially relating to what I write, which is fiction from the perspective of a conservative and a Christian.
Characters I encounter in the writing of others—nearly universally now—seem to have little regard for the spiritual aspects of their existence. Plot lines develop, conflict is engaged, and crescendos pass … often without any soul-searching, spark of enlightenment, or flashes of revelation in the minds of the people with whom we travel through their story. The result can be constructed as well as fiction can get, be presented in flawless elegance, and yet for me is one notch away from truly satisfying … because an element of completeness is missing.
When someone asks what my fiction is “about,” the short answer is: “people, and the perspectives that guide their decisions.” Conflict, challenge, adventure and romance are all elements as well, but as my character Jon Anthony says, some questions are essential. This means we will all answer them in some fashion, whether or not the subject is ever intentionally addressed.
Whether one proceeds from a faith-based perspective is one of those attributes. We are all encouraged in polite company to avoid talking about the subject, along with politics, and that reserve spills into the world of literature as well. I cannot help but think it is as limiting there as it is elsewhere in life. In writing Political Fiction, I cannot avoid the latter. As a Christian, I have a Commission to engage in the former … come what may.
In Stephen King’s novel The Langoliers, the test of dimensional validity is the “rightness” in the taste of foods and vitality of materials for the passengers of an aircraft “out of synch.” So, in a way, is reading the works constructed out of a secular perspective.
Certainly, judging from the state of the world, too many and an increasing number of people are living their lives in that same, flat, unfulfilled state King described. Blaise Pascal, in his Pensees, wrote:
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?
This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
The results in fiction and in life are the same. Absent a foundational quickening, no recovery can be made without addressing one’s most fundamental deficit. As Christians, it remains our burden to watch and pray and counsel where we can. In fiction, I present the internal struggles and dialogues that steer a soul on a bearing toward Home. That likely is the primary distinction between my fiction and the majority of authors in my genre.
We need a nation and a world revived in Spirit through valid faith, and thus given to acts of love rather than self-indulgence. I believe that we need novels written just that way as well. Toward that end, we here at Single Candle Press will continue to do what we can.
In production news, May promises to see Novel6/Boone2 The Bonus Pool complete primary editing and the title move into pre-publication on a schedule for release next month (June 2015). Boone’s first, Absinthe and Chocolate, is an absolute prerequisite to her latest novel.
Doctor Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt returns in style. The Bonus Pool, as did the second novel of Jon’s Trilogy, brings together characters and set pieces established in the introductory volume into a storyline and presentation so energetic and excellent that we truly feel it shakes the blessed earth.
You will not want to put this one off, people. My advice is: get started now. Boone’s File Book One, Absinthe and Chocolate, is available now where your ebooks are sold and linked on the sidebar.
Choose to Love, -DA