Good evening all!
Some of you know I've been working on the first novel in a series and that I'd hoped to have the first book out earlier this year. Well, my friends, as a self published author, I have a team of critique partners, line editors, and beta readers (most of whom are close friends and even closer family) who help me make sure my book is interesting and readable and free of most spelling and grammar errors.
What my team can't help me do is get it right. That's true for anyone who writes something. The only person who can get it right is the writer. And when it comes to my character, Nora Hill, it's got to be right, because I have a feeling Nora is going to be in my brain for a pretty decent amount of time.
That said, I'm so pleased to announce that the first book, "Missing in Manitowoc" will be available on November 1st. (If it kills me or not. And it might. But this can't bleed into National Novel Writing Month ((Nanowrimo)) because I'm using November to get a solid start on the SECOND book in the series, "Superhero in Superior" which I hope to have out late Spring 2016.)
This week I want to give you all a five day sneak peek at Nora Hill and her world. Each day this week I'll share and excerpt from the book in the hope that by Sunday you'll be so geeked out to find out what happens you won't be able to contain yourself, you'll just HAVE to buy it!
Nora and "Missing" is a big step aside from what I've done in the past, and so I'll be writing under a slightly different author name. This isn't a romance, and this isn't humor, although those elements are present in the book, albeit faintly, in the case of romance. No, the most concise definition I can put on this book series is that it will be Christian Cozy Mystery Series.
I've wanted to write in Christian/Inspirational fiction for many years, but I never landed on quite the right concept. Three years ago I scanned the shelves of Christian Contemporary/Inspirational fiction and I saw a lot of Pioneers and Amish novels.
Nothing against those authors, but I don't write historicals (mostly because the research would kill me) and if I'm looking for something to inspire me spiritually, it's not going to be from the days of a bygone era. I felt there was a gap for readers who wanted something compelling to read that was also Christian/Inspirational in nature, but was also current. I found a few authors who fit the bill and I read their work. The novels I read were compelling, and current, but again I felt like the character's ability to go to God in prayer was just too easy, too normal.
I teach a Bible study to junior high students. These are not people for whom the concept of prayer comes easily. They are on the cusp of the eight years of their lives where they will make some of the biggest decisions they will ever make, and many of them will make those decisions largely without even thinking about prayer. They will muddle through, some will go to church and go through the motions, but few will give religion deep thought. I know I didn't, during my high school and college years. So my focus during this Bible study is not how great the people of the Bible were and how faithful, but really how flawed those heroes of faith were. Think about it: Adam, a weakling who tried to blame sin on his wife. Noah, drunkard. Abraham...bigamist. Isaac...Dad picked his wife, but he picked his favorite child. Jacob...ah, Jacob. Jacob who wrestled with God. Jacob who had a temper, made mistakes, had a favorite wife, but wasn't above begetting children with four women...this is the type of guy I love to highlight in Bible study with my junior high students.
My own children are pretty much grown up but they are in those frightening years and they are wrestling with God in their own ways, just as I did at their age. And I look at their friends, and I see a generation of younger adults who are searching for something beyond the black and white judgement of a CHURCH. They are looking for a God who loves them as they are, flaws and all and they aren't satisfied with "Just believe." They are searching for the face of God.
It was that idea, a believer wrestling with God to see Him and gain His acceptance that brought me to Nora. Nora Hill is a woman in her early 30's. She is a successful young adult fiction author. Her father, now deceased, was a minister. She has a mother and two sisters who are several years older than she is.
She also has prosopagnosia, which you might know as face blindness. She was born with it, but was not diagnosed until she was late in her junior high years. Her parents thought she was autistic or just a naughty girl, and her childhood was less than ideal because she never felt like she measured up to her sisters or belonged. Even as an adult she isn't comfortable with her family and she has few friends because face blindness is a disorder that isolates people. Without the ability to recognize and remember faces, how can we make social contacts?
Nora is a woman who is searching. She is searching for a place to lay her share of her father's ashes to rest. She is searching for a church home where she feels comfortable and accepted. She is searching for the face of God, a face she prays she can recognize.
She is also always searching for lost children. Where ever her travels take her there seems to be a child who is not only missing, but is also in grave peril for one reason or another. Finding such children has been a talent, a gift, or a burden for Nora since she was very young. She cannot explain how she knows where the children are, she just does. And because such an ability tends to throw her into a very bright spotlight, she is uncomfortable with it and wishes she didn't have to be the one who finds the children.
Starting tomorrow and through the week I will share excepts of the first book in the series, "Missing in Manitowoc." I hope you enjoy sharing this adventure with me.