I was tagged by a fellow author across the Atlantic ocean to take part in this Blog Hop: Scottish literary author John Logan, whose novel, “The Survival of Thomas Ford” I reviewed on my blog last year.
The fun behind this blog hop is to answer four questions and tag four more authors in hope to keep the hopping going. Maybe readers will discover somebody new along the way!
Let’s kick off with the four questions:
1) What am I currently writing?
I’m currently working on a Christian novel titled, “Jump” about a young man who grows up in a fundamentalist Christian household where he’s constantly tested by his parents to prove his faith throughout his youth, so he decides to go on a journey, while facing struggles with pornography, homosexuality and a lingering doubts over the value of theology. I groan every time I think about how long it’s been taking me to write this novel. I’m 70,000 words into the first draft, and I think there will be at least another 50,000 before I can start cutting it down and refining the story and prose. I started writing “Jump” while I was in Iraq in 2008, originally thinking it might just be a short story. But in a way, I’m also glad I’ve taken my time with it because I’ve been able to incorporate some depth and complexity into the story that might have otherwise landed the novel flat if omitted.
2) How does my work differ from others of the same genre?
I’ve blogged a few times about the lack of depth and complexity in Christian fiction in modern writing. I love reading theology and NON-fiction Christian literature because it’s often rich with thought-provoking material. And yet, Christian fiction is so often intellectually lazy, more interested in telling a cheap, predictable story rather than engage a wider audience into some complex human matters. Maybe I’ve been too critical in my assessment of Christian fiction. Regardless, my aim for “Jump” is to deliver a thought-provoking, engaging and beautifully written novel that can reclaim the glory and joy of fiction to the Christian genre. At the same time, I’m also afraid that I might be pushing boundaries that people won’t be comfortable with, but I guess that’s part of the purpose behind literature and writing.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I think that most of the struggles my characters face are internal, Man vs. Self type deal, because I’m really drawn to the inner struggle that most of us face. Especially with the topic of sin among Christian, there is so much inner turmoil and the battle rages every day. For those who are enslaved to sexual sin — whether pornography, sexual addiction, homosexuality, prostitution, adultery or other — this battle really diminishes our ability to love God, and therefore love another as well. I face this battle often because of my own personal addiction, and I wanted to write a novel that demonstrated that battle through scenes and characters that others could identify with.
4) How does my writing process work?
I often write in chunks. Since having a 2+ old boy and a newborn last month, the opportunities I’ve had to write have really diminished. So when I get a few hours here and there, I usually latch on and try to push through 2,000 words or more. For the most part, it’s difficult for me to think about my story or characters while I’m not at the computer. I really have to be typing to engage myself into my characters, and it’s usually such a stunning surprise because — like many other authors — I have no clue what my characters might do until they actually do it. For me, fiction writing is a study in humanity and a discovery process.
Laura Lee Anderson is a Pittsburgh-based, YA author whose novel, “Yellow Bike” is being represented by TriadaUS Literary Agency. “Yellow Bike” is a YA contemporary novel about a girl who wants a boyfriend who loves music as much as she does, but the boy she falls in love with is deaf. I met Laura by accident while I was trying to promote and spread the word of my short story collection, Amidst Traffic, and she was working at a coffee shop near my house in Pittsburgh at the time. I’m excited for her novel to debut!
Richard Ridley has published eight independent horror novels under his regular author name, R.W. Ridley, several of which have won Independent Publisher awards (the coveted IPPYs). Plus he writes southern-style dark humor under the pseudonym C. Hoyt Caldwell, landing awards on that side of the pen as well. Richard also publishes several freelance articles for Create Space, which is the independent publishing agency for Amazon. Don’t bother reading his personal bio on his website for factual content, but do read it if you want a taste of how entertaining and funny he can be.
Andrew Seward is the author of the darkly gritty and sometimes gruesome novel, “Some are Sicker than Others” which tells the intertwined stories of three drug addicts/alcoholics whose lives cross in the same recovery institution. His prose is firm and uncompromising, and his ability to narrate the pain of addiction can easily make you flinch or cringe. Andrew has also been instrumental in helping me promote my own writing and even produced the book trailer for “Amidst Traffic.”
Joshua Bellin is also a Pittsburgh-based author who has published several scholarly books but this year will release his first YA fiction novel, “Surviving Colony Nine.” He already has sequels in the works, and from some of the reviews I’ve read of his first novel, I know his series will become tremendously popular. He’s taught college english courses for 20 years, and I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at the Pittsburgh Authors Symposium.
(Feature photo is property of Zalas)