Growing up, our family was a family of readers. Influenced by my mother, an elementary school librarian my entire life and even my dad was a librarian for a few before moving into IT services. So needless to say, reading was a way of life in our home. My sister and I always had a book in our hands, and we took one with us wherever we went. Even now, if we’re going somewhere (Doctor, Dentist, Restaurant) there’s a book in our purses to read while we wait.
When I sat down to write my first novel, Restoring Grace, I didn’t consciously think about writing influences. I just wrote down the words that popped in my head.
Only now, after learning about the writing/publishing process, I’ve been more introspective of my journey.
My writing influences fall into four categories:
- Style of writing
- Relationship with God shown in the story
- Realism in my characters and situation
INFLUENCE IN THE STYLE OF WRITING
My writing style for romantic fiction is a big NO-NO, because I do something called head-hopping, which is jumping from one person’s mind to another in the same chapter. I’m bad about it and I KNOW it.
It’s something one of my favorite authors does in his fiction series.
Clive Cussler is a contemporary fiction author who has sold MILLIONS of books featuring action, adventure, and the roaring seas. I read all of them from three different series available in 2013, shortly before I wrote Restoring Grace. This man has been writing FOR YEARS, and it was over thirty books I read that year. (Remember, I didn’t have a job at the time. See POST for more details.)
My favorite series he’s written books about the married couple, Sam and Remi Fargo. An adventurous married couple searching for treasure and finding trouble.
It wasn’t until I attend a few conferences and researched the next steps, I learned what not to do with your first novel, I realized I had done a BIG FAUX PAS in my writing.
I thought about revising, but as I learned more about self-publishing, I thought I could do what I want since I’m not accountable to an editor/publisher.
I had beta tested my novels, and received positive comments on my writing style, so I committed the full faux pas and head-hopped in all of my novels, focusing on making sure the reader could clearly understand who was speaking.
INFLUENCE IN AUTHOR’S HUMOR
I love novels which make you laugh and I’m someone who laughs easily, finding humor in most situations, and I wanted my books to make my readers chuckle. As a storyteller, I believe humor is healing and we all need to laugh a little more.
There are two novels I think of when it comes to humorous stories. The Princess Bride and The Diamond Key
I’m sure most everyone is familiar with the movie, The Princess Bride. It’s a great movie and there will always be a part of me that fondly remembers young Westley played by Cary Elwes. Sadly, many people have never read the book, only seen the movie.
YOU’RE MISSING A WONDERFUL TREAT!
William Goldman’s novel is utterly delightful. Funny, witty, and full of humorous tidbits the movie can never convey. I feel everyone should read it at least once, especially once you realize he made everything up… no S. Morgenstern, no son, no lawsuits and lawyers… FUNNY MAN!
The humor in the story was simple, real, and everywhere. Something I wanted to be said of my own stories.
The other novel, The Diamond Key by Barbara Metzger, I’m sure very few if any readers are familiar with the Regency romance book. It’s a story about young Lady Victorian Ann Keyes trapped in a burning building vowing to marry the man who saves her, no matter who he is, chimney sweep or fireman. Of course, being a Regency-era novel, she is saved by a Viscount and spends the entire novel convincing him of fate and her true love.
It’s a simple, quick read that had me laughing throughout the entire book. If you can find a copy, you should read it. It will make you smile.
INFLUENCE WHEN WRITING ABOUT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
If you read my first novel, you know I mention Grace Livingston Hill’s novels. One of her books was the inspiration for Delia Anne’s nickname, Grand, given to her by her granddaughter Viviane.
The part where Viviane says she has nothing to read, she’s not a baby anymore, and Grand takes her to the parlor to start reading Grand’s special novels is true.
It happened the same way for me. I told my mother I had nothing to read, she walked me to the bookshelf in the parlor where her Grace Livingston Hill series sat. Up until now, my sister and I weren’t allowed to touch them, but when she handed me the first novel, telling me I was old enough to read them now – that was when I felt I became a woman.
I read through all of them that summer and started my own collection soon after. Some of her books, I make sure to read every year. I know the stories by heart, but they take me back to a simpler time and child-like faith in God.
Even at a young age, I wished to have the same child-like faith the young women had in the Hill novels. Innocence and wonder seemed like something I couldn’t achieve with everything I’d already been through at a young age.
Writing my first novel, I made sure my faith was evident in each book. I wanted people who read my books to KNOW GOD IS ACCESSIBLE, waiting and willing to hear our every prayer, wipe every tear, and bring us closer to Him.
Grace Livingston Hill taught me to be real, authentic in my writing. I include prayers and thoughts to God continually because I find myself talking to Him constantly. I am in no way a perfect example of faith and hope, but I am a perfect example of GOD’S GRACE, every day.
INFLUENCE WITH REALISM OF CHARACTERS AND SITUATIONS
I’ve read a ton of Heartsong Inspirational books, the ones that are about 170 pages and usually involve a mystery. Our family of readers signed up for the four new Heartsong books a month for several years, and our house is still full of them.
Karen Kingsbury’s novel, Unlocked was set in Atlanta, Georgia, the backyard of my hometown of Cartersville. I loved her mentioning of local places in the novel. A good read, based on a true story, and while I cannot comment on the autism aspect, because I do not have personal experience, it was a story full of hope and realism in locations. The main female character and supporting characters felt like someone I would run into at the grocery store or church.
I wanted to make sure that realism was in my novels as well. I want my readers to walk into Scott’s Walk-Up barbecue and look to see if Delia Anne has stopped in for a meal, or walk around downtown to see if Bailey and Andrea are gathering ideas for their catering business.
FOR MY READERS
As a writer, I hope my novels speak to every reader showing the influence God has in my life. Whether it’s pointing out a new perspective of God, reminding them of God’s grace, or even making them smile as they take a moment to rest in one of my novels.
These are just a few authors who influence my writing. There are more people, situations, and life experiences that have played a part in my writing journey.
If you interested in learning more, please check out other blog posts and of course, read some of my novels. I currently have three novels out in the Grace Series and a new novel launching, April 30, Renewed by Grace, featuring Andrea Cabot.
Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,