Friday, 4 February 2011

The Hardest Thing To do

Oh, wow!  I am so excited about this!  My favourite thing is writing fiction, and it is also fiendishly difficult, demanding and I am never really, really sure how good a job I have done.  Creating a novel asks of me all that I have and then some.

The trilogy I wrote that is now sold in one volume under the title of its first novel, The Hawk & the Dove, has been in print and selling steadily for 20 years.  I feel quite pleased about this.  So much so that I wrote to my publisher, Crossway, and asked them what they thought about adding another novel to the series, and they seemed keen, so I set to work.  Well, the tale grew in the telling, and I ended up with three more novels for them.  The first of the three new ones - therefore the fourth book in the Hawk & the Dove series - is called The Hardest Thing To Do, and it's just gone up on Amazon for pre-order, though it won't be out until July (don't you worry, I'll remind you!!).

Bringing these new books to birth has been a biiig deal.  I have relied on continual prayer support as I wrote them.  In crafting them I dug deep in my spirit and wrote about the life lessons and insights that the Lord has been teaching me over the last decade.  As I wrote them, I felt encouraged that I had tuned in to a depth of Holy Spirit, because every time I settled down to write, there was mayhem - big disruptions and family chaos and stuff I could not ignore and had to respond to.  But with the support of praying friends I kept going anyway, so that these things I really wanted to share could get written and you could read them and go on that journey with me.

The Hardest Thing To Do looks at human relationships, and explores the territory of forgiveness and trying to see things from the other person's point of view.

While I was writing it, in the evenings sometimes I read chunks to my family.  They all know the Hawk & the Dove series well.  My Badger, my husband now, was the original editor and publisher for that series, 20 years ago when we our lives were very different and we had no thought or expectation that one day we would be married.  And my daughters grew up reading the trilogy until it felt like the monks in it were part of our family (the tales are all set in a 14th century monastery).   They knew every character and every story in those original books.
And so it came about that when I started reading to them the new book, The Hardest Thing To Do,  I had this wonderful reaction from them.  It got to a certain point in the story and they began to shriek: "Oh no! It's not... is it?... it's... oh, no!  It's him !!!"    Heh heh heh.  How satisfying.  Him?  He's in the second book of the first trilogy, The Wounds of God, in the chapter called Who's The Fool Now?.  Yes, it's him, and he's back causing trouble.

The story takes us through Lent one year about a quarter of the way into the 14th century, at a Benedictine monastery on the North York Moors.  It's written like a journal or log, with an entry for every day of Lent from Ash Wednesday through to Easter Sunday, and it charts the gradual healing miracle of the compassion of Jesus shining through human frailty and human kindness.  I do hope you enjoy it when you get to read it in the summer  :0)

Writing this book has been a wonderful journey.   I am so excited to see it coming to fruition at last.


Ganeida said...

lol Pen. I read almost no historical fiction ~ mostly 'cause I hate it when an author gets something wrong but I love your writing so much I can see I am going to have to make an exception! Again! At least I'm not likely to run out of reading matter any time soon. ♥

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ember! I have not read your works but have them on order at Amazon.US.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your honesty and your gentle encouragement in this life you have chosen. The Plain Life is not easy, and you never make it sound as such.

I have been led by Our Lord to also let go of the trappings...and I am struggling a great deal. I especially don't like the looks I am getting. But anyway, thank you for sharing.

Your pictures have been very instrumental in the way I am beginning to dress. I sew my clothes, so the cost will be minimal in the patterns department, but the fabrics is another story. All I have is loud and very flowered fabrics that are really not suitable to wear now.

I will not be able to wear a cap because my husband really does not like them. So I am crocheting snoods that will cover without offending him in any way.

Oh my...I have taken too long on this comment box...Please forgive me for writing such a long comment. :)

Grace & Peace Ember,


Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Ganeida - have no fear with my historical fiction! I do take liberties with history, but liberties that I am confident will work if you see what I mean. Nothing goes in there that hasn't been researched, checked and for the most part studied as well.
What I take liberties with are speech and nuance, including some very modern colloquial phraseology - and I do that because that's true to medieval literature, it is written in a vivid and earthy way full of colloquialisms. To replicate the original medieval feeling for readers who are not medievalists it's helpful to write in a colloquial style, otherwise the result is a bit archaic and abstruse.
Glad you like what you've read so far!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Maria - before you bin your loud flowered gear, do check out Hutterites online - they are the section of the Plain people whose patterned fabrics could bring on a migraine!
There are lots of ways of tying a scarf that look funky and mainstream acceptable too. I understand about your husband - the Plain look is so alien in our society, and it's important for your wellbeing and his to look pretty for your man; but Plain dress doesn't have to be Amish-style or Mennonite. The whole jumpers route is not for everyone.
I think that hippy-plain is a good compromise - long floaty skirts and tops and a scarf tied in a pretty way, and simple flat pumps or sandals :0) Some good headcovering styles in this video here:

Julie B. said...

I have given The Hawk and the Dove as a gift countless times. I'm looking forward to adding The Hardest Thing To Do to the know how much I love your books. :)

Pen Wilcock said...

One of the things these books have given back to me is that we first met and made friends because I wrote them and you read them - a message in a bottle :0)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Ember!

It is a bit daunting to make the change...but I know that finding my way through the maze will take time.

Thank you again for responding.

Grace & Peace to you,


Pen Wilcock said...

Maria - it's important in glorifying God that thee feels alive and beautiful and full groovy in thy humanity. Uptight sour-faced anxious dutiful disapproving Plain does not glorify the Lord. Thy Plain should be full of laughter, funky and sweet. Thy relationship with thy husband should be sexy and full of joy. Any other kind of Plain should be taken and shoved where the sun don't shine.
May the Plain way fill thee with happiness and the Light shine through thee as thee goes this joyful way. x said...

Oh my...tears are flowing from my eyes! I love, love, love your book The Hawk and the Dove. I have bought countless copies for so many is one of the only historical fictions I have read. I am not a fiction reader. Your ability with words just took me in. My father even read of the only fictions he has ever read. I am setting here amazed that I found your blog today! That is just God!

So first thanks for your book The Hawk and the Dove...I was forever changed. Now I can't wait to read your new one.

What an honor to stop by. Thanks for using your gift of writing.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi, Janette :0) Lovely to meet you. Come by again - there are some really nice people here - with thinking minds and an ability to express themselves with courtesy and kindness. They make me think every day.
I'm so pleased The Hawk & the Dove meant that much to you - it's such an encouragement to hear that. Thank you. xxx

kat said...

Oh wonderful Pen, so glad it has come to fruition, i look forward to reading it xx

Pen Wilcock said...

Hiya - thinking of you beginning to discovery the secrets hidden in the earth, as spring brings everything to life in your new garden :0)