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JUST TELLING STORIES

by guest author Golden Keyes Parsons

Thanks for having me as a guest blogger on fiction day. One of my favorite topics to discuss is Christian fiction, simply because I think it is an issue that is not as easily defined as we think it might be. My opinion is that many readers and even perhaps authors don’t have a good, solid working definition of what it is.

However, I’ve discussed that on several blogs and taught it at several conferences, so I wanted to take a different, lighter approach to the subject matter of writing fiction. I thought I’d just give a little testimony of how I came to write fiction. After all, that’s one of the first questions that we authors get asked, isn’t it? How did you start writing?

When I started speaking professionally, I was told that I needed to get published. My spiritual gift is teaching, so naturally I began to write non-fiction—Bible studies, general inspiration books, a book on marriage. I began attending writers conferences to try to learn how to write a proposal, how to submit a proposal, how to make a pitch to editors and publishers, etc. I felt my experience as a conference speaker and Bible teacher and my maturity in walking with the Lord perhaps lent itself to producing books that might be of help to people and would lift up Jesus.

Now, at this juncture, I have a confession to make—and I beg the forgiveness of all my fiction author colleagues. I hope you will still love me! :) I admit that I had a rather elitist view about my non-fiction writing attempts, although I had not even snagged a contract. Came close on several, but never got a contract. My attitude was: fiction writers are just telling stories—I was writing biblical truth. Ahem, ahem. (Can’t you see me blowing on my nails and busting my buttons?)

Then I attended a fiction workshop led by the editor of a major publishing company. He made the statement, “In fiction we can embed a spiritual truth in perhaps a more palatable manner than in a preachy non-fiction book.” He told us that many people will pick up a novel who would never read a Christian non-fiction or Bible study.

That pierced my heart. And I realized that Jesus taught truth through telling stories. He was the Master Storyteller.

In the meantime, I had come across a family genealogy published in 1907 which chronicled the story of my Huguenot ancestors back to 1695. The story of their sacrifice and courageous faith needed to be told, and I wanted to “tell the story.” When I took my first efforts to my critique group, they confirmed that this was where I needed to be—writing fiction. The rest, as the cliché goes, is history. I told the story in my Darkness to Light series, In The Shadow of the Sun King, Prisoner of Versailles, and the concluding book, Where Hearts Are Free, which released a couple of weeks ago from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Bridget is in love with one man … and promised to another. Amid the liberty and promise of the New World, Bridget Barrington and Philippe Clavell fall in love. But nothing about their love seems possible. To pay for the Clavell family’s passage from France, Philippe, a former member of French royalty, worked as an indentured slave to the Barringtons. Bridget is the heiress of the prominent plantation.

When Bridget’s parents discover the budding romance between their daughter and their servant, they quickly orchestrate her engagement to an older, more advantageous match. But Edward Moorehead has a secret. And he’s anything but a good match for Bridget.

Separated from her true love and in danger from her betrothed, Bridget must rely on God to deliver her from Darkness into Light.

Availabe at Thomas Nelson.com, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, LifeWay, Mardel's, CBD.com,     Amazon.com.

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Golden Keyes Parsons is a popular retreat/conference speaker and best-selling author who issues the challenge: dare to take God seriously. In her deep plowing of the heart, Golden peppers her sessions with personal illustrations moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful—keep on trusting Him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to Godly living.


Golden is an ordained pastor, and she and her husband, Blaine, have just retired from the senior pastorate in Red River, NM. They enjoy leading marriage conferences where they share their marital struggles and victories born out of the fire. Golden’s testimony and myriad of life experiences—including surviving cancer twice—lend a touch of authenticity to her speaking, teaching and writing.

Her first novel, In The Shadow Of The Sun King, (The Darkness To Light Novel Series, Thomas Nelson Publishers) was a finalist in ACFW’s Debut Author Book of the Year. The sequel, A Prisoner Of Versailles, released September ’09, and was a Daphne finalist. The concluding book in the series, Where Hearts Are Free, released September 14, 2010, and is now in bookstores. She also has written and published a Bible study for women, entitled The Wise Woman Builds, and has had numerous articles published in such periodicals as Marriage Partnership, Angels On Earth, Just Between Us and Lookout Magazine, as well as several compilations.

http://www.goldenkeyesparsons.com/

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Hi, Dina here. Sorry I'm late in adding this, but Golden would like to offer a give-away of Where Hearts are Free. Please leave a comment with your email (add spaces or brackets to protect from spammers) over the next three days to enter.

Comments

  1. Thanks for having me today. I'm popping in early because I have a meeting this morning and will be gone most of the day. I trust my "true confessions" will be accepted with grace and forgiveness. I feel so privileged to be able to write fiction that honors Jesus. Looking forward to your comments.

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  2. Hi Golden!
    Great to have you visit. We love true confessions over here in Inktropolis.
    I enjoyed hearing your transition from non-fiction to writing both AND I'm awfully glad you did. I love recommending your books!

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  3. I like how your fiction writing flowed out of the same place as your spiritual gifts. I found this really inspiring!

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  5. I love it when a writers work flows from his or her spiritual gifts.I haven't read any of your books yet Golden but am going to make it a point to do so very soon.I just finished a wonderful Karen Kingsbury book titled Shades of Blue I would highly recommend this book.

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  6. Hi Golden!

    Love that you made the switch!

    I've been to some of the same writers conferences that you have and unfortunately, many or most, do not focus on helping the attendees find their passion and purpose, and how to apply their gifts to speaking and writing. They try to pigeon-hole people into fiction or non-fiction before the attendees even know what their options are. The result, many good writers do not get published because they are in the wrong genre, not tuned into what their message really is, or not encouraged to take the road less traveled.

    I'd like to know this ... what was the catalyst that caused you to attend that fiction writer's conference? People who write non-fiction usually don't write fiction, and visa versa. So something, someone, the Holy Spirit, etc. caused you to be intrigued enough to check out fiction. What was it?

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  7. Hi Ladies,

    I added late to the post that Golden would like to offer a give-away of Where Hearts are Free. I will enter Louise and Cheryl since I know we have their contact info. Karen, I hope you'll be checking back. Please leave your email if you would like to enter!

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  8. I love fiction for the very reason that lessons of all types can be in the stories. In my journals, I have many quotations from novels -- comments a character makes, etc., that struck me just at the right time and helped me through my experience at the time. I've also learned more about history through novels than any textbook I've ever read!!

    Stories are great!!
    Elaine
    elaineking1 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  9. So good to read how you moved from nonfiction to fiction, Golden. Looking forward to getting acquainted with your books! Blessings to you, my friend.

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  10. I'm reading Where Hearts are Free right now, and it's really awesome.

    Golden, like you, my primary spiritual gifts are teaching and encouraging. I've been very active in church ministry, and my fiction is always driven by themes and premises I want to teach.

    Funny thing is, I'm the opposite of you and never even considered nonfiction, mostly because I don't enjoy reading it.

    Then last year a full idea for a Blue Like Jazz style narrative nonfiction popped into my head. Turned out, I really did enjoy writing that one. And not surprisingly, many of the themes matched my novels: intimacy with Christ, worship, the true meaning of love, and inner healing coming up in all my writing.

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  11. (Can I come back as anonymous and get in the drawing?)

    And oh, yes, Dina's non-fiction is a very compelling read.

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  12. Golden, thanks so much for sharing your story with us today. I appreciate your transparency and your service to the Lord using the gifts He's given you! You're a gifted storyteller and I can't wait to pick up your newest release.

    You know, you and I may be related through out Huguenot relatives ;-) What courageous souls they were.

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  13. Christian fiction novels have inspired, encouraged, and changed me. I'd love the chance to win this one. Thanks for doing the interview, Golden, and for offering the book!

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  14. Okay, I'm back home now and ready to answer some questions. What prompted me to go to the fiction workshop? Well, several years before I had written a Biblical fiction about the woman taken in adultery with the premise that she had been trapped in order to frame Jesus. (I'd still like to find a publisher for that one!) It was more out of curiousity, I think, to see if I was even in the ball park on that one.

    Suzanne, there are descendants of Huguenots all over the country, because hundreds of thousands of them came to America during those years of duress. In fact, the flight of the Huguenots together with the building of Versailles nearly bankrupted France. The Huguenots were the core of the educated and economic population of France, and when they fled the religious persecution of Louis XIV's government, it left a huge hole in the country. And they were a tremendous asset to the countries in which they settled. It is a heritage of which we can be proud.

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  15. Golden, you should pitch your adulterous woman novel to Roseanna at Whitefire. She's definitely interested in Biblical fiction.

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  16. Thanks so much for stopping by, Golden! We all come to be serious about writing in such different ways I've found. I dabbled for years, and then one day read a mystery in which the amateur was an aspiring novelist at her first writer's conference. In the story she got a request from an editor for the manuscript. It was like something shifted in my head and I was like, oh so that's how you do it. Then all I had to do was actually write some stories. Learn craft. Learn the market. Understand the houses. Start building a platform. Learn to pitch. Yeah. That book sure didn't tell the full truth!

    Anyway, my story isn't dramatic or exciting, just mine. Thanks for sharing your story with us. It takes guts to be transparent and I admire that!

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  17. Golden, it was incredibly interesting to hear your story! I was actually given a copy of your first novel as a Christmas gift from my (soon-to-be) Father-in-Law, as I am marrying into the Clewell family, who descended from the Clavell family. I am looking forward to reading your entire trilogy :)

    ksmiley2[at]kent[dot]edu

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  18. a great posting...golden, you are an amazing storyteller...thanks for the opportunity to read your latest novel :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  19. The winner of Golden's book is Kathyrn. I will contact you by email for your street address.

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