January is always a relaxing time for me after the Christmas holidays, and this year is no exception. After two weeks of celebrating with family who came from Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta, and doing a little traveling of our own, I’m settling back into my writing schedule.
Isn’t Christmas a wonderful time of year? I always watch it with my writer’s fascination, as the work world seems to slow down, and everyone you see is focused on buying that special gift that will make someone’s face light up. Families come together to bless each other and feed each other—all in honor of Christ, whose birth changed everything. And then they move into the new year with hope and excitement, as if things are fresh and new, and anything can happen.
That’s how I’m approaching this new year. It didn’t hurt that last week I had the opportunity to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania for a booksellers’ conference, and I stayed at the Hershey Lodge on West Chocolate Avenue. (Doesn’t it just make you salivate?) I think I got hooked on chocolate—not a good thing when you’re trying to lose those extra pounds after Christmas. I filled the booksellers in on Dawn’s Light, the fourth and final book in my Restoration Series, which is undergoing its final touches before it releases in May.
As I worked on the first three books in this series, I took the Brannings, my Christian family, through panic and near starvation as they suffered through a global power outage. And as they experienced these things, their faith in God’s provision and goodness were strengthened, so that, even though the power had not yet been restored, there was a profound restoration of their sense of family and community, a restoration of their absolute faith in a God who never fails them, a restoration of the spirit.
Having taken them to that level, I wanted book four, Dawn’s Light, to continue that restoration. My question for the last book in the series has always been this: When technology is once again restored, will the Brannings go back to the way they were before? After three books, I felt that their growth was not yet complete. So in Dawn’s Light, I decided to explore something that I’ve struggled with myself as a Christian, and that’s the question of unanswered prayer.
I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I begged God for something for a long period of time for something that I truly believed would be glorifying to Him, only to have him say no. Any of you who have prayed for a sick and dying loved one, believing that your prayer in faith for recovery would be answered—only to have that loved one die—know what I mean. Or you’ve prayed mighty, earnest, heartbreaking prayers for something NOT to happen … and then it does.
Because I needed to understand the nature of prayer and faith, so that I could better understand the nature of God, I chose to make this my theme for Dawn’s Light. In it, Beth, the Brannings’ 13-year-old daughter, witnesses a murder on the day that the banks re-open, and the terror that ensues takes the family on a journey deeper into this “stripping away” that God is doing in their lives…and results in their learning, once and for all, the holiness and righteousness of a God who sees the big picture, and has a symphony of purposes for each of his children.
I believe that anyone who has struggled with the issue of unanswered prayer will find healing in this book. And I hope that when readers come to the end of this series, they’ll have learned the lessons that the Brannings learn, and that they, too, will find their spirits restored.
As that book is in production, I’m hard at work now on my next book. It’s a hardback, stand-alone novel. It’s set in Nashville and features a young, Christian singer/songwriter who’s trying to make it big, even though she’s not particularly gifted vocally. As she rides the wave of a famous friend who offers her a big break, she’s caught up in a murderous plot that makes her second-guess her desire for fame and fortune. Through it all, Christ teaches her what her real purpose is, and the significance of her ultimate Audience of One.
May all of you have a wonderful 2008, full of possibilities and endless blessings, and may each of us learn special ways to bless our Father and Creator this year.