Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Writing writing writing

For sure you will be well ahead of the curve if you pre-order this, because I haven’t finished writing it yet!!

It’s a Lent book, a short chapter to read each day from Ash Wednesday to Easter, with a passage(s) from the Bible and then a chunk from me.

It all started when I was asked to write a Lent devotional book, sat down to plan it, then had to face the reality that I find conventional devotional literature mind-bendingly tedious.  Back to the drawing board.   I reflected on how much more comfortably assimilated ideas are in a fictional format, and came from there to the idea of writing a series of encounters with Jesus in the here-and-now of the modern world, turning over in my hands some of the questions I bring to faith. 

It’s fiction in that it is a journey of the imagination; there again it’s fact in that every day of my life I really do walk alongside the living Jesus.  Well, I say I walk alongside Him, but some of our sorties involve Him grabbing me by the shoulder and demanding ‘Where the heck do you think you’re going?’ as I wander off into murky territory and shady paths.

Fiction is almost the opposite of made up: all good fiction is a carrier for truth and sharpens our focus on reality, and I hope this book does exactly that.

I’ll ask my editor a bit nearer the time if I can post one or two of the days for you to read – I guess you’ll be able to on the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ anyway.  But that’s a way off yet – we haven’t even got the cover sorted!

However, the bottom line is that I have to have it all in by the end of this month for it to be put through the mill and out the other end in time for the late autumn – which in turn lets people have a chance to have seen it and get their mitts on it in time for Lent 2014.  There are eleven more days in March, and I have eleven sections still to write!    Most books have one idea and several tens of thousands of words to expound it.  I realised once I’d embarked on this one that in proposing a Lent book with a different story and theme for each separate day, I had to come up with forty-seven ideas, not one, and write them in double-quick time too.  I’d been poddling along writing it slowly and peacefully, waiting to see if I could get a contract – then it came through in February, with a deadline of the end of March, and rocket fuel had to be applied to the whole process!

So I am writing writing writing, and as always in these circumstances, am grateful for your prayers.

In the meantime, this is out (or will be any day now) in the UK:

Available in the US in a few weeks’ time (Julie Faraway, don't you buy one, I've popped one in the post to you from Amazon).

A variety of friends have test-driven the studies with their home groups, and are coming back with heartening stories of positive experiences.  In particular I was pleased to hear that people who had previously lacked the confidence to lead a study group found this material gave them what they needed to make a successful and encouraging start.  Hooray, hooray!  What better result could I have hoped for?

I like the feel of the book physically too – it flops open nicely and is laid out very clearly – easy to find my way round the page at a glance.  The design department at Monarch have done an excellent job there!

And I am really really pleased and proud that it has lovely commendations from Malcolm Duncan, and Gerard Kelly of the Bless Network - I so admire the work of both these men.

If your homegroups decide to have a go with this book, do drop by here and let us know how you get on!


Ganeidaz Knot said...

Oh, Pen. Prayers indeed!

And I'm so pleased someone else admits to Jesus speaking very bluntly to them on occasion. :)

Ember said...

He's kind. But forthright. ;) xx

San said...

Prayers for you dear friend. Remember the well worn phrase, one bit at a time! You'll do it, you always do.

Just in case you don't get chance to hop by, I left a reply to your comment, Guiness is good, well worth a try!

San xx

Pilgrim said...

The Bible studies are available June 1, on Amazon, here in the U.S. Glad to hear they're bringing good feedback.
I'm reading The Clear Light of Day, at the moment. Slooooow down. :-)

Ember said...

Thanks, San x

Pilgrim - thanks for that date. Yes, we have a mug in our house, promotional ware from the musician Rumer (see link), that says "Slow this right down". It's a good reminder!

Daisyanon said...

Praying for you Pen.

Hawthorne said...

"..all good fiction is a carrier for truth and sharpens our focus on reality.." Yes indeed! And is usually a lot more palatable too. Love and prayers coming your way x x

Ember said...

Thank you my friends! xx

Julie Faraway said...

Thank you so much Ember! I'll watch for it and can't wait to dig in, even if on my own instead of with a group for now.

And I did pre-order a copy from amazon weeks ago, but I think I'll keep it in my cart and give it as a gift. (I have a wall cabinet in my laundry room where I keep wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, etc. I think I've had an epiphany and need to put a stack of Penelope Wilcock books in there too -- I give your books for gifts more than almost any other thing.) :)

God bless your writing today...xxoo

Ember said...

:0) You are so kind! xx

Deb D. said...

I have pre-purchased 3 copies. 1 for myself and two as gifts. I know they'll be cherished. God bless you! Keep writing your powerful truth-carrying "fiction". It is life-changing.

Ember said...

:0D God bless you, Deb! Yes, I am carrying Book 8 of the Hawk and Dove series along in my heart, and I will begin it just as soon as Book 7 can be placed.
You are so kind. x

rebecca said...

Your photo hear exudes pure joy and excitement about your writing "binge". May it continue through the project's end!

I meant to say this earlier. Maybe you've already reached its end????

Ember said...

Thank you - no, I won't get done until the very end of March. I have to have it on my editor's desk on (ha!) April 1st, and it'll be all I can do to make that deadline. x

Pilgrim said...

I can't imagine why Book 7 hasn't found a home yet. I think it must have a small, but growing, devoted audience out here.
Tonia, blogging at Study in Brown, mentioned The Hawk and the Dove, and the struggle to justify staying put, in her post today.

Ember said...

It's the complication of sorting out how to go about moving across a whole series, which is necessitated by finding a new publisher for Book 7. It's a good book - I'm pleased with it.

Just been across to look at Study in Brown. Isn't it lovely!


Pilgrim said...

Oh, I see. That would be a job. Hope it gets worked through soon.

That Rumer has a great voice.

Tonia is a great person. Her blog is always peaceful, even when her life sometimes isn't. She's a friend of Ann Voskamp's, acknowledged in Ten Thousand Gifts. They wrote a child's geography together, for homeschoolers.

tonia said...

Thank you so much for leaving that Goudge quote in my space. Truly. I'm copying it into my commonplace book so I don't lose it.

I stop in here now and again to visit you and it was a blessing to have your visit today. Your books are some of my favorites. I've passed them along to many friends and every one has loved them. I read on your Amazon page (I think?)that you write to make goodness attractive. I think that is a beautiful thing indeed. Thank you. You've enriched my life in many ways through your words. God bless.


Ember said...

Yes, it says that on the Amazon page. Good to meet you -I love your blog x

Ember said...

Pilgrim - thank you so much for introducing me to Tonia and her blog - a great person indeed! x

Pilgrim said...

You're welcome. :-)