Losing…and Finding My Voice

Losing…and Finding My Voice

“Voice,” in literary terms, refers to the attitude or personality of the author, narrator, or point-of-view character in a piece of writing. Voice shows up in both fiction and nonfiction. It can be comical, cozy, sophisticated, simple, intellectual, down-to-earth, edgy, monotonous, etc. But what if I lost my voice? I already know what that’s like…

Book Quest

Book Quest

What to write next? I’ve never before had “writer’s block”—that infamous cork-up of creative flow. And perhaps even my current experience can’t technically be labeled that, either. I just have so many ideas that instead of pouring out of my pen, it’s like they’re flooding from a fire hydrant. So today, while I’m on a…

Book Reports

Book Reports

Didn’t you just dread writing book reports as a school kid? I did, at least. Though I loved reading from an early age, I had no idea how to identify the important elements that make up an appealing story. But I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. Because a book that touches your…

The Books of Our Lives

The Books of Our Lives

“You should see the library where I come from,” I tell people here. Hey, I rarely boast about “back home,” but in this one area I’m guilty of horn-blowing about those endless shelves of books and periodicals at the wonderful library in my little Maine hometown. The first time my daddy walked me up the…

A Crisis of Character

A Crisis of Character

It happened again last week—I read another Christian book that started out with SOOO much potential. Until it petered out in a light gloss of forgiveness and a pinch of repentance. Well, okay. We surely need to forgive and sometimes we ought to repent. But whatever happened to a life-changing crisis of character? Without a…

The Longing for Love

The Longing for Love

Part of the dynamics of a good story focuses on a desire. Sometimes it’s a physical plot goal, sometimes it’s more of an emotional yearning. The romance shelf, of course, features the longing for love. But the not-so-odd paradox remains that 99% of the books you read—whatever their genre: mystery, fantasy, thriller—have a love thread…

6 Educational Secrets

6 Educational Secrets

“I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry,” says the Apostle Paul (Phil. 4:12). That pretty much sums up my educational secrets: Abundance and hunger. Fullness and need. Prosperity, humility. We stuff our minds with new facts and ideas, and still we know, there’s always more to learn. A good story always…

This Homesick World

This Homesick World

Among the many themes in my books, the motif of HOME—or perhaps more precisely, houses—surprises me most with its broad-spectrum presence. I never planned to weave those ideas into the writing, was hardly even aware of them. But in this homesick world, maybe that’s not unexpected at all. Recently I suffered an attack…of nostalgia. Did…

Do You Believe in Destiny?

Do You Believe in Destiny?

“Do you believe in destiny?” Nicolás Serrano, up to his elbows in apple mash, asks halfway through my first book Destiny at Dolphin Bay. His friend Melissa has questioned his self-identification as a Chiloé islander, knowing he grew up a city boy. As she watches him make cider in an antique press, she sees him…

7 Novel Ideas About Love

7 Novel Ideas About Love

Good sport that he is, my husband cheerfully endures watching the occasional chick flick or romantic comedy with me. But as Lord Byron said: “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart, ’Tis woman’s whole existence.” There’s a reason why love stories creep into (or take over) most of what I write–and why Romance continues…

Mountain Music

Mountain Music

We’re familiar with many of the precious names of God, such as El Elyon (Most High God) and Adonai (Lord), because of their use in some contemporary Christian songs. El Shaddai–All-Sufficient God–is another of these, and in its complex Hebrew meanings of both “mountain” and “breast,” we discover the majestic protection and tender provision of…

How Soccer Rules the World

How Soccer Rules the World

If Michael Jordan and Pelé (if you have to ask, the joke’s for you) were walking down the street together anywhere except North America, 99% of the people would ask, “Who’s that guy with Pelé?” That’s how soccer rules the world. Because everybody from Manchester to Moscow, Montevideo to Melbourne, knows soccer. Everybody may not…