|Michelle, Agent Mary Keeley, and me with the Golden Gate |
Bridge in the background last October.
~ ~ ~ ~Writing to tell truth and wisdom, while fun and romance lead the way!
Like many writers, I’ve been writing and dreaming a long time. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see stories as more than just an avenue to entertain—they’re a vehicle for portraying truth and “turning the prism,” of circumstance to look at life from a slightly different angle.
I’ve been writing Christian historical novellas since my first novella, The Dogtrot Christmas, was published in A Log Cabin Christmas Collection in 2011.
I’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing within the limitations of a shorter novel for the opportunity it’s given me to hone my skills while providing a spiritual message within a full story.
That means that while I write historical romances, I’ve also examined other issues in my five published novellas and one novel. (Books and descriptions can be found here.)
In particular, I’m interested in how God works in someone’s life to His glory, often in unexpected ways.
I believe readers deserve a full experience—that there should be more to my novellas besides boy meets girl, crisis intervenes, girl finds boy and they all live happily ever after.
That sweet life may happen to some people but in my experience as a Bible study leader and a lay counselor, life is far messier and as Oswald Chambers said in the July 28 My Utmost for His Highest: “What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself."
It’s been exciting to think through additional themes besides love and marriage as I’ve plotted my books. In The Dogtrot Christmas, a Mexican landowner in 1836 Texas is confronted by Anglos moving into his neighborhood and building their own log cabin. God has to work in his heart to show him the need to forgive in spite of his own rights, while a young woman must learn to stand on her own two feet despite her overbearing brother.
I use the dogtrot cabin as a metaphor: the two small cabins under one roof with a breezeway in between represent the two cultures in which the couple find themselves, bound together with the love/roof of Christ. It was fun to write and I included one of my ancestors as a character.
The Goldrush Christmas, part of A Pioneer Christmas Collection, which rereleases in September 2015, posed another challenging, yet exhilarating task in the writing. Midway through the research of this story of brother and sister twins hunting for their missionary father missing in Alaska, along with the bumbling preacher-wanna-be boy next door, I stumbled on a fantastic true story that had to go into my book.
I tell the whole adventure here, but suffice it to say that owing to that bungling preacher-wanna-be, the girl twin (who is masquerading as a boy to protect herself in 1897 Skagway) breaks free of an overbearing brother and 80% of the town prostitutes escape the brothels.
Hmm. The overbearing brother seems to appear in more than one of my stories . . .
My most recent projects are part of The 12 Brides of Christmas and its sequel The 12 Brides of Summer Collections. Set in the same 1870’s Nebraska town and featuring many of the same characters, The Yuletide Bride examines what it means for Kate to be a helpmeet and how God works in unexpected ways to provide the finances Ewan needed to earn his bride.
It also features bagpipes, which were beyond fun to learn to play!
The sequel, The Sunbonnet Bride, tells of Kate’s brother’s efforts to win the heart of a local seamstress, Sally, set against how the town responds to a tornado destroying the neighborhood.
Sally wants to own her own business, but is confused by the difference between profit and cash flow. I’ve seen many women start up small businesses with the same hopes, only to be dashed when it was time to actually manage the money. The Sunbonnet Bride touches on that, while at the same time asking an interesting question about the best way to use your gifts to the good of others, particularly in a crisis.
Story themes should not be obvious when a writer constructs their tale. Themes should work seamlessly to show truth while not hitting the reader over the head. I’ve worked hard to do that in my books.
The aim, of course, is to tell a story saturated with wisdom, truth, good humor and love.
Because no matter what kind of reader you are, those are the ingredients of a good book.
A retired Navy wife, Michelle has a terrific husband, four brilliant children, two perfect daughter-in-laws and five adorable grandchildren. She and her family have lived in all four corners of the United States and Hawai’i. They currently reside in northern California.
Michelle teaches Bible study to a group of precocious women, counsels women in crisis at a local pregnancy counseling center, and works at a landmark literary agency. She’s led retreats, served on a short-term eyeglass mission project in Nicaragua, and plays clarinet in a small musical ensemble. In her free time, she travels, writes and reads–all extensively. You can learn more about her at www.michelleule.com.
Gabrielle here: Thank you, Michelle! I enjoyed learning more about your stories and the themes and questions behind them.
Michelle has graciously agreed to give away one copy of A Log Cabin Christmas, or Pioneer Christmas (winner's choice). Please fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
Your Turn Reader: Do you read novella collections? Do you enjoy books that are written with specific themes? Do you read romances specifically for the love story, or do you enjoy when a plot goes deeper than boys-meets-girl?
**We have a winner from Kim Fredrickson's visit to my blog. The winner of Give Yourself a Break is Abby Breuklander!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway