Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘bookstores’

In recent days, I have been involved in finalising the cover of my fifth novel, ‘Heléna’s Legacy’, due for release in June. I was asked by my publisher, Ark House, for suggestions and in the process, told them one thing I don’t like on a cover – a front view of the hero or heroine! I like my readers to imagine these characters themselves. And as the author, no image ever seems to do justice to this ‘real’ person I have walked beside for months who has persevered and struggled and triumphed and lived through so many different experiences.

When the cover was returned for approval, however, I found a front view of the main character on it! And yet … well, she looked lovely, with a rather pensive, sad expression that exactly suits the storyline. So I rapidly had to revise my own mental concept, step back a little and try to appreciate what the graphic artist had come up with. Now I’m very happy with the result – and I hope my readers will be too.

It’s sad but true that we do tend to judge a book by its cover. For this reason, I’m very glad all my novels have excellent covers. In this day of economic downturn and questions about the future of books and bookstores, we authors need all the help we can get! But all of this has led me to wonder how I myself come across to people – how the ‘cover’ I present to the world expresses what is inside me. What do people see when I get up to speak somewhere? What do people notice about the way I live my daily life?

Well, I know they see a grey-haired woman who is definitely not slim and perhaps make judgments about that! It is amazing how people are put in ‘boxes’ simply on the strength of having grey hair, I’ve discovered. Perhaps we would be suitable to speak to Seniors’ Groups, it is suggested nicely – when I absolutely love speaking to young mums or people of any age, including Seniors! But much more importantly, I hope I carry with me in what I do and say – and yes, even in my appearance – something of who God is. After all, each of us is created in God’s image, as Genesis 1:27 tells us. And as the psychologist David Benner puts it in ‘The Gift of Being Yourself’, each of us, when we are prepared to be our true selves, actually is a ‘unique face of God to the world’! What a privilege – but what a responsibility as well.

So I hope both in my life and through my novels, by God’s grace, I reflect that grace and love clearly in a way that points people to God. ‘Let you light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’, Jesus tells his disciples (Matt 5:16). I hope as I speak, that my words carry something of the ‘fragrance of life’ that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 2:16. And I hope and pray that the ‘cover’ of the book of my life will attract people to God and not turn them away.

But I’m so relieved that when God looks at me, the inside matters much more than the outside! In 1 Samuel 16:7, when Samuel is sizing up Jesse’s sons as potential future kings, the Lord reminds him:

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

How about you? What does your ‘cover’ convey? And what does God see in your heart?

Read Full Post »

At times, walking into bookstores can be a bit daunting for authors. There are just so many books out there already other than our own. Perhaps the writer of Ecclesiastes knew something way back around the tenth century BC when he declared: Of making many books there is no end … (Ecc 12:12). So why am I trying so hard to add to their number? Well, there are several answers I could give, some more noble than others. Take self-interest, for example. It is definitely gratifying to see my very own books on the shelves and to have people buy and enjoy them. But if that were all there is to it, then I suspect the novelty would soon wear off.

For me, my main motivation is that I believe God has called and gifted me to write. And as I pursue that call, I have found that writing for me is utterly liberating and fulfilling. Yes, it has its testing times and frustrating days, but it also has the power to make me feel fully alive. And just when it threatens to become that little bit too difficult, God specialises, I’ve discovered, in sending unique morsels of encouragement my way.

A few days ago, my son handed me two large boxes with the comment ‘Happy Christmas!’ Inside were two long awaited Braille copies of my third novel ‘Laura’, which tells the story of a girl who is blind. My son was simply delivering them to me from a friend who had persevered over many months in arranging the transcription of my manuscript into Braille, for which I feel so indebted. I had promised another friend who originally inspired this novel that I would try to get a Braille copy for her – and I can now fulfil that promise. And this also enables me to lend the second copy to others who have enquired – like a contact who wanted a friend who is both deaf and blind to be able to read it.

Then this very same week, I also received the news that the dedicated workers at Christian Blind Mission in Melbourne have now completed the narration and recording of each of my first three novels – ‘Heléna’, ‘All the Days of My Life’ and ‘Laura’! This means my books are now available in Daisy/MP3 format for anyone with a print disability to borrow from CBM’s audio library (see www.cbm.org.au). I am so delighted that those for whom reading books such as mine would have been a huge challenge, if not an impossibility, are now able to access and enjoy them.

In all of this, I am reminded of the words of 1 Peter 4:10:

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

That’s what I believe I am called and privileged to do – to be faithful in allowing God’s grace to bless others through my books. That’s why I write. Yes, there may be many and much better novels out there already, but God has a plan and a purpose for mine as well, I believe. Even – or perhaps especially – for those who are visually impaired.

I am humbled by that – and so grateful.

Read Full Post »

Take a moment to sit and reflect on your life.  Really reflect, I mean.  What drives you and motivates you?  Who or what is at the back of your thoughts, as you go about your day?  Is it your work itself – is that what gives meaning and purpose to your life?  Is it your family or friends?  Is it your hobbies and pastimes perhaps?  All of these are key parts of our lives – but what if one or more were taken away?  Is there something underneath or beyond it all that would still make life worth living?  Who or what holds supremacy in life for you?

You know, sometimes I think we believe we’ve answered this question for ourselves, only to find that over time, our priorities begin to change and the lines somehow become a little blurred.  We embark on a whole new part of our lives – perhaps marriage or children or new career or retirement – fully believing we have everything in the right balance.  But then gradually we experience a vague dissatisfaction or disquiet, even perhaps frustration, as we go about our days.  What has happened?  What have we perhaps lost sight of, even if momentarily?

I say this with feeling, because I have to keep a watchful eye on this myself.  As a writer, I can easily slip into believing that my novels, plus the accompanying speaking and promotional work, are the ‘be all and end all’ for me.  And that can lead me down a rocky path fraught with danger.  For starters, it leaves me open to huge self-doubt when bookstores decide not to stock my books or when the novel I’m working on refuses to come together or when the speaking engagement I hoped would emerge doesn’t.  Don’t get me wrong – I love being an author and all that comes with it, but in the end, that can’t be what I live for.  It can’t have final supremacy in my life, otherwise I will find myself on shaky ground.  Instead, as I was reminded of so powerfully from Scripture this morning, for me Jesus Christ has to be the one who remains supreme.

In Colossians 1:17-18, we find these words:

He [Jesus Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

In everything.  That means, for me, every part of my life – including my writing.  Once I get that straight, things begin to fall into perspective again.  Then I know who I belong to, I know who I’m really writing for, I know who tells me my true value – and it’s not publishers or booksellers or even my readers!  They are all very important to me – but I can’t stake my life and my wellbeing on their opinion of me, however wonderful it is.  With all my heart, I want Jesus Christ to be Lord of my life, to have supremacy over everything else.  After all, he made me, he knows me through and through, he loves me unconditionally, he died for me – and he is completely trustworthy.

How about you?  Who or what has supremacy in your life?

Read Full Post »