When I was first published, my debut novel, Ruby Among Us, was released by Random House’s Inspirational Division, Waterbrook Press. At the time I wrote it, I didn’t know how much my heritage of faith would play a part in the story, but we can’t hide who we are. What I ended up with was a Women’s Fiction novel with strong inspirational elements, and when book two came out, it followed in the same genre footsteps of my first novel.
When my friend Amy Nathan read the second book, Rose House, I was a little bit nervous. My dream was really for my book to cross over into the mainstream, because it really wasn’t only a Christian book and I knew it was missing a good portion of the broader audience I was hoping for. What would Amy think? We had a lot in common, but our religions were very different.
Well, Amy loved it, even though she is Jewish and I am a Christian. To me, it was an affirmation that my story itself really did transcend a religious barrier and I was able to communicate a story to a reader who may or may not be like me. On an even bigger level, the experience is indicative of Amy Sue Nathan’s ability to see and appreciate a story not in a non-judgmental way, but in a human way.
I am so glad Rose House touched Amy and seeing the book through her eyes has reminded me that our religious roots are important when they are included in our fiction, no matter what genre. They are part of our history, part of daily living, and inform the lives of readers in many ways, although not always the same. These are, of course, my words based on how Amy’s reaction made me feel as an author, a woman, and as a person of faith.
Even though my recent novels are part of the women’s fiction genre instead of inspirational, I’ve learned that readers just want a good story. My goal is to take my readers on a journey that makes them hope, dream, and feel happy.
I’ve always hoped my first two novels would find new life and a new audience in mainstream Women’s Fiction where my other books are, but if that never happens, the experience of having my books published through Random House/Waterbrook Press‘s spiritual fiction line has had a huge impact on me in many ways. Amy as a reader has been one of the biggest, and it is really a beautiful picture of our friendship, but you will have to read her posts to know why. I hope you’ll click over to the Tall Poppy Blog and read her post: Reading Outside Your Comfort Zone and Where Stories Intersect
After you read her post, be sure to look up Amy Sue Nathan’s books. They are beautifully-written and have some Jewish elements that I find fascinating, human, and more commonality with than I ever expected. I suppose I could write similar posts to the ones she has written about my books. Almost same story. 🙂