Shannon here: Christian Fantasy author, Angie Brashear shares her inspiration for her debut novel, Of the Persecuted. Comment on any post dated June 23 – 27 to enter the drawing for a copy. Choice of e-book or print for U.S. E-book for international. Deadline: July 5th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Angie:
Venturing to Other Worlds
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, a childhood dream, a secret tendency for romance, and a journal. What do they have in common? Take a short venture with me to find out…
My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world, for when I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read aloud The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.
I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. Yet, I still feared the ways in which the Lord planned to use me.
But I held on to my childhood dream of becoming an author, of escaping to another world and taking readers with me, though I kept my aspiration a secret. At least until my assistant, Terry Malovets, gifted me a beautiful journal filled with scripture for Christmas. In those moments between friends, she shared a surprising observation—she believed I should pursue a career as an author. Can you imagine my joy and shock? How in the world did she know my deepest childhood desire? The one I never revealed to her, or anyone else for that matter.
I spent the next three months wondering whether or not I was willing to take the risk. Was I even capable? I possessed absolutely no professional training in the craft of writing. Through prayer, I decided to take the plunge anyway. After all, I didn’t have to tell anyone, right? Before long I filled my journal with ideas and Of the Persecuted was born. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers. Particularly nonbelieving teenage girls.
Seven months later, I finished the manuscript. Or so I thought. I learned the difficult way (through lots of rejections from literary agents) that my manuscript was flawed. I wrote in omniscient narrative, used passive voice, and filled the story with stilted dialogue—all rule breakers in current fiction trends. The entire manuscript had to be rewritten.
In the months after I finished my first manuscript and sought representation from literary agents, I believe God called me to ask my Sunday school class to pray my work would glorify Him. But that required telling other people I had written a book. I felt vulnerable and feared ridicule. I mean, people in our nation suffered in multiple ways—abuse, poverty, and addiction, just to name a few. What right did I have to ask my class to pray for the publication of my novel? And how would I describe my novel to fellow Christians? Um, yeah, it’s a love story filled with violence, but I promise the content is clean and the story will glorify God. So…please pray for its publication.
The more I ignored God, the more he filled me with courage until I finally sought support from my class. No ridicule. No awkward silences. Just praises and thoughtful prayers. Blessings abounded.
I joined ACFW, as well as a critique group, and studied the writing craft. Fellow writers began to recognize the potential in my voice and story, and took the time to help me. And, believe me, I needed a lot of help. Honestly, I still do. But Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And with the fellowship of Christian writers, I can.
One of the most difficult aspects of my journey…admitting that I’m a romantic at heart, which is the complete opposite of the touch-me-not introvert I am on a daily basis. “Hello, my name is Angie Brashear and I’ve a weakness for love stories, especially if the hero and heroine have to battle the fantastical.”
Now, after heartbreakingly opting out of a traditional publishing contract, my debut novel has been released through my own Indie Publishing label, 4:13 Publishing. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to help another writer fulfill a lifetime dream someday. To help another love story unfold. To help nonbelievers realize the true love story lies in the Trinity.
In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth no matter the type of persecution I’m forced to confront.
In the meantime, you can find me venturing to other worlds in His name, striving to reach nonbelieving teenage girls through fantastical romances.
About Angie: When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.
About the book – Of the Persecuted: Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.
Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.
Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?
Links to Of the Persecuted:
Come back June 25th for Angie’s romantic excerpt!