Readers, donâ€™t forget to leave a comment for Cindy. All commenters to both last weekâ€™s and this weekâ€™s posts will be in the drawing for a free book! Be sure to return next week to see if youâ€™re the winner. Now, letâ€™s gather back around the kitchen table with Cindy.
I read your book, so I can attest to the fact that itâ€™s not preachy. Tell us how you were able to weave a spiritual thread throughÂ Mercyâ€™s Rain without hitting the reader over the head.
I allowed Mercy to ask the question over and over, â€śWhy would a God who was worth a hoot, allow sucha thing?â€ť She continually attacks God, calling Him cruel. The thread comes through love. Samuel (the preacher friend) and the Johnsons love Mercy into the hands of forgiveness. Today we spend so much time trying to PROVE God and prove we are right about God, when what we are commanded to do is LOVE. Once the seeds of love are planted, God will nurture it. The thread of the spiritual context is unconditional love, not trying to fix the person, but loving them into a place where they will allow God to fix them. Our example speaks loud. We should really pay closer attention to it.
Thank you. I needed to be reminded of that. Sounds like youâ€™re committed to the importance of Christian fiction. Â
There are Christians who think fiction is misguided. What better way to show redemption than through the eyes of a fictional character? Those characters can say, do, and feel the things we would never allow ourselves to do. People are touched by the stories. I get tickled when folks preach that Christian fiction is bad, when in the same breath they can tell you in detail the last movie they watched. Uhâ€¦99.5% of the movies they watch areâ€¦none other than fiction. At some point, we have to realize stories have changed the world, moved hearts, drawn people to Christ. There is nothing sweeter than an email from a reader who says, â€śI loved the story of Mercy. Iâ€™m not much on fiction, but this story forced me to stop and face my own demons.â€ťÂ That is what we want to hear. Yes?
As Christians, we have a higher set of standards to adhere to when we write our fiction. The world tells us to â€śwrite where the reader is .Â . Â . ie, if they curse, stomp, slash or whatever, write it real in the words you would hear.â€ť I disagree. Mercyâ€™s story is hard. Itâ€™s filled with horrible abuse, but I never crossed the line. I did not use foul language. I did not draw every gory scene. I didnâ€™t delve into the nastiness of rape. Instead I wrote the emotion. When the reader felt Mercyâ€™s agony, their own imagination wrote the graphic scenes. That drew the picture. We have a responsibility as writers to set the standards. One review in a major site said if this were a movie it would be rated R because of the topic . . . not because of the scenes written. So, we can dig down as writers and use emotion to paint a more vivid picture than nasty language or gory details. Itâ€™s much easier to write the foul language rather than challenge ourselves to dig deep into the emotion and tell the story.
I so agree! And if we have a problem with fiction or difficult topics, all we need to do is read the Bible! (Okay, now Iâ€™M the one standing on my soapbox!) You mentioned that you used the emotion of the characters to demonstrate the horror of sinful deeds. Without sharing any spoilers, what was the most emotional scene for you to write in your novel?
Oh, there are so many, but I think the burial of her baby. That said, you gotta read to find out why.
Oh yes, that was a gripping scene. One I wonâ€™t forget. My next question: Writers often desire to teach a lesson in and through their writing, but we as Christian writers also learn something. What was one thing you learned while writing Mercyâ€™s Rain?
God constantly wears at me to be better. Iâ€™ve learned that Godâ€™s love is what heals. Even in my own life, Iâ€™ve made mistakes, had hardships, but Godâ€™s love has always healed.
What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
My voice. Iâ€™m very much a mountain girl. The dialect is second nature to me. The mountain folk of Appalachia are kind, gentle, and simple people. Theyâ€™re truthful. So when I launch into tellinâ€™ you all about my kin, it ainâ€™t so hard to picture who they was or how they lived. A man had to work hard for his earninâ€™s and he had to pray hard for his survival. But they ainâ€™t a soul alive who donâ€™t find peace on summit of the mountain. They ainâ€™t a soul livinâ€™ who can stand on top of that mountain and stretch his arms up, scrapinâ€™ his fingers against the door of heaven and not see God Almighty peering through the clouds. This is the mountains. Where the breeze carries the whisper of God and trees sing His words. A body just has to stand quiet like. Still. And listen. The good Lordâ€™ll speak when a man chooses to listen and pay Him some mind. J
Oh, I love your voice, and look forward to more opportunities to read it. Whatâ€™s on the horizon for you now?
Iâ€™m currently working on the next two books in the Appalachian Novel Series. I want to be a writer that listens to His call and writes the whispers He gently speaks into my ear, so we pray for good words and blessing.
Any chance you would share the first chapter of Mercyâ€™s Rain with my friends? Â
Iâ€™ll do one better. Hereâ€™s the link for the excerpt of the first three chapters of Mercyâ€™s Rain. I hope you enjoy them and I hope youâ€™ll take time to grab the book.
Wow, Cindy, thanks! Hey, did yâ€™all catch that? You can click on that link and read the first three chapters of Mercyâ€™s Rainâ€”for FREE! So what are you waiting for?
Bio: Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and managing editor for Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is a conference teacher and speaker, working conferences all across the country. Her devotions are found in newspapers all over the eastern seaboard. Cindy is the executive Editor of ChristianDevotions.us and InspireAFire.com. She is the author of four devotionals and compilations and her first fiction novel, Mercyâ€™s Rain is now available. www.CindySproles.com
Thanks for Tweeting!
Friends, donâ€™t forget to leave a comment for Cindy and youâ€™ll be in the drawing for a free book from Cindy. Be sure to check back next week to see if youâ€™re the winner!
Hope to see you back on Friday!