Why does a writer choose to write in the genre they do? For me, my first love and passion is historical fiction, with a focus on the Middle Ages. This has been a period of history that I have always found fascinating, and the more I learn about this time in our human journey, the more my appreciation for it grows
If you have read my bio on this website you will know that after beginning my first historical fiction manuscript, I found myself lacking in my ability to do the research I needed to do. To gain the needed research tools, I enrolled in my local university and earned an undergraduate degree in Medieval Studies. Earning this degree has only fueled the fire of my passion for the Middle Ages. It has also given me fodder for further projects down the road. I loved being in school, and would have happily gone on to post graduate work if my local university offered it in my field but unfortunately they don’t. Maybe one day I can pursue this dream, but not now. I am content with the research skills I have gained and my purposes in getting my degree have been realized.
Now armed with the necessary tools, I am ready to tackle the research holes in my manuscript.
So, why then is my first project for publication a contemporary novel you might ask?
To answer that, I am going to tell you a little story.
I use to watch a television program called Inside the Actor’s Studio, where the host, James Lipton, ends the interview by asking the guest a series of questions based on a questionnaire created by Frenchman, Bernard Pivot.
These 10 questions originally came from a French series, “Bouillon de Culture” hosted by Bernard Pivot.
- What is your favorite word?
- What is your least favorite word?
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
- What turns you off?
- What is your favorite curse word?
- What sound or noise do you love?
- What sound or noise do you hate?
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
- What profession would you not like to do?
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
The particular episode I am referring to, the guest was Steven Spielberg, the film director. This was a fascinating two part interview and very informative about the directors process. (this two part episode is available on Youtube)
When asked the last question, “If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?” Mr. Spielberg answered, “Thanks for listening.”
When the questionnaire portion of the interview is finished, Mr. Lipton opens it up for the students in the audience to ask the guest questions. One of the students asked Mr. Spielberg to elaborate on his answer to the last question. In response he talked about the role of listening and in his upbringing how he was taught the most important prayer is “Hear Oh Isreal, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” He was taught from childhood that the most important thing he could do as a Jew was to listen. One of the things he said had a profound effect on me, and it is this, “if we don’t listen, we deny ourselves tremendous opportunities and glorious choices.”
Steven Spielberg’s response had a profound impression on me, as a man of faith (Jewish), he recognizes the possible relationship that is available to us with God. I have also found this to be true in my walk as a Christian, if our relationship with God is such that there is a back and forth communication, He will give us those opportunities and choices in conjunction with our particular gifts and callings, that will make our life richer and be a blessing to those He puts within our realm of influence.
That is the end to my little story, and now back to the question. Why, if I am passionate about historical fiction, am I also writing contemporary fiction? The simple answer is this, I endeavour to keep an open and listening heart to my Heavenly Father, and there are times that He drops an idea into my lap and I purpose to follow His lead and write accordingly.
The first project I am endeavouring to ready for publication is just such a story. I have fallen in love with the characters and their heartbreaking but grace filled stories.
My prayer is that I will continue to be open and honest in that which God has entrusted me with, and that they will touch the hearts of those who read them.
I would love to hear from you, please feel free to leave a comment. Also, for a fun evening with a group of friends, ask and answer the above questionnaire questions. It will reveal previously unknown aspects to their thoughts, feelings and beliefs.