So What’s Your Book About, Actually?

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I got an email from a publisher who found the story “convincing and powerful” and is recommending it to his publication board!

Well… it’s about two people in places they never chose to be, undergoing trials we can scarcely imagine. But in the end it’s a tale of reckless faith and (spoiler alert!) none of it’s too grim for God.

My book is definitely a work of fiction, but an astonishing true story inspired it. On April 18, 1942, a mere six months after Pearl Harbor, eighty men took flight on a perilous volunteer mission to bomb the Japanese main island. The mission, now known as the Doolittle Raid, was a brilliant military success. But it left most of the airmen stranded in enemy-occupied China.

The Plum Blooms in Winter (Spoiler! That’s my title! 🙂 ) follows one of these men on a harrowing journey through capture, torture, privation and solitary confinement. And it follows a bereaved Japanese woman on her quest for ritual revenge. Their paths collide in 1948 in Osaka, Japan. He is now a missionary and she’s a streetwalker consumed by shame. She’s convinced her only hope of restoring her honor  is to bury a knife in his chest. But in Osaka’s treacherous underworld, this huntress soon becomes hunted.

How did a nice girl like me embark on a crazy literary ride like this? Well, you can blame that on my husband. There was this summer my consulting work was slow, you see. And he says to me,

“Why don’t you write that novel you’ve always talked about?”

Which is funny because I don’t actually remember talking about writing a novel! But I sort of shrug and sign myself up for a couple of college classes.

Tokyo, 1942. Doolittle Raider Lieutenant Robert Hite of The Bat Out of Hell, captive. (The last surviving Raider, Colonel Richard Cole, recently celebrated his 101st birthday.)

And then that same dear hubby shows me a paragraph in a history book about a World War II hero-turned-missionary and a nameless Japanese woman who pledged to assassinate him. The incident perplexes me and then consumes me. Until ultimately, I sense the Lord’s calling to capture the truths in the story through a different lens so more people can be impacted by it.

After a much greater cost in terms of time, effort and emotion than I could ever have counted, the novel is what you could call ‘finished.’ Finally. (Although I’ve learned that ‘finished’ is a rather ephemeral state in writing.) So… now what?

Good question.

The manuscript garnered a significant award a few weeks ago, which was a huge adrenaline rush, but afterwards all went eerily silent. I let myself get a bit dejected over it.

Lately the Lord has been speaking to me through Old Testament stories, showing me how I can see myself in them. I’m having a Mount Moriah moment right now—one of several I’ve had on this project. By which I mean that I feel like I’ve laid the manuscript—my “child of promise”—down on a cold stone altar. I’m waiting for Him to show me what He’ll do with it. Will it die there? (Which needs to be OK with me if that’s His will, by the way….) Or does He have a plan and a bigger purpose for it? (Gen 22:1-14)

A week or so ago, I took my burden of dejection to the Lord.

Well, who did you write it for? He said.

For you, Lord.

Really? For Me?

Yes, of course, Lord. All for You.

Then you can trust Me with the outcome.

BAM!

A couple hours after that conversation, I got an email from a publisher who said he found the story “convincing and powerful” and is recommending it to his publication board.

God: 1. Fear, uncertainty and doubt: 0.

That doesn’t make it a done deal but it sounds promising.

I’ll let you know how we get on from Mount Moriah!

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35 Comments

  1. It sounds fascinating! Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Angie says:

    Linda!! So proud of you! let me know when it’s released!

  3. Ashely says:

    Hey are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi, Ashley! Yes, this is in the process of turning into a full website based on a custom wordpress template. It is being designed for me by kikawebdesign.com. I’m not the expert (she is 🙂 ) but my understanding based on my research is that you could put up a blog that would look professional and customized to a degree using a wordpress template you got as part of a package, without doing any coding. LOL. For sure I don’t do any coding! I have a nice admin console that lets me post, edit, and manage my blog and (ultimately) other dynamic aspects of my site. I can see the HTML if I’m dying to, but I don’t ever have to touch it.

  4. I’d need to check with you here. Which is not some thing I usually do! I appreciate reading a post that will make people today believe. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  5. First off I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. 🙂 I’m finding I really enjoy blogging. 😀
      For me, it works well to spend those first minutes editing what I wrote at the last session. That’s usually enough to get me back into the setting and the character. Another thing that helps me is to be aware of the time of day at which I function best as a writer (for me, it’s first thing in the morning) and to do my best to guard that time for my writing.
      I’ve talked to writers who use mood music or decorate their writing space in a way that helps them get into character. Do you have a dedicated space for your writing? I think that can help, too. I wouldn’t do this myself, but I’ve heard of writers who drive across town to a coffee shop to write because that was their designated writing zone!
      There are several great on-line communities for writers where you can get points of view from other writers on questions like this one. My favorite is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/488365771285615/.
      Hope that helps! 🙂 Best regards, Linda

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    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Gilberto! I’ll make sure to share them with my web designer. I asked her for to give the site an atmosphere that feels adventurous and exotic and maybe just a bit retro, and I think she really delivered. 🙂
      As to how to follow my blog, I’ve actually been wondering that myself! If I learn of a better method than the RSS, I’ll come back and let you know.
      Thanks again for your comment and best regards, Linda

    • Hi again, Gilberto! I just wanted to let you know that now that the blog has “grown up” into a full website, there is a way to follow my blog. If you’d like to receive an email when I put up a new post, there’s a form for that in the right column of the “Blog” page now.
      Thanks very much for your interest and best regards, Linda

  7. Elba says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    • Hi, Elba! No, I’m sorry but I’m afraid your question is a bit out of my league! But I really appreciate your thoughtful comment about my blog. 🙂
      Best regards, Linda

    • Hi, Elba! As my blog has graduated to a full website, I’ve learned my designer’s using a plug-in called Kebo to reflect my latest tweets on my home page. Don’t know whether that’s what you’re after but thought I’d share the info in case it helps. 🙂
      Best regards, Linda

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    • Hi! I’m sorry, somehow I didn’t see your comment until now. 🙁 Thank you so much for the very nice compliment! I really appreciate it! Now that the blog has “grown up” into a full website, there is a way to subscribe. If you’d like to receive an email when I put up a new post, there’s a form for that now on the “Blog” page.
      All the best! Linda

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  10. safe boxes says:

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    • Hi! Thank you so much! I’m delighted you enjoyed the article and extremely flattered that you’re interested in subscribing to this blog. The best way to do it is to enter your email address in the form box labeled “Subscribe to Posts.” On a PC it shows up in the right-hand column. On a mobile device, it shows up near the bottom of the page, beneath the “share” widgets. You’ll get an email when a new post goes up.
      I haven’t had much luck with RSS myself. 🙁
      Thanks again and best regards, Linda

    • PS: I meant to say this in the first place but OF COURSE you can unsubscribe at any time. 🙂 All the best! Linda

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    • I’m so glad you stumbled on me! If you’d like to receive an email when I post you can sign up for that using the “Subscribe to Posts” form. It’s in the right hand column on a PC and toward the bottom of the page, beneath the “Find Me” buttons, on a mobile device. Thank you so much for your kind comment and your interest! Linda

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