I’m often asked how I get my book topic ideas.
Why would I tackle the depressing book of Job in Love Amid the Ashes? Why would I try to put the disjointed lyrics of Solomon’s Song of Songs into story form through Love’s Sacred Song? And when Love In a Broken Vessel releases in March 2013, many of you will wonder why I chose the strange love-story of the prophet Hosea and his prostitute wife Gomer as my third novel.
Each of those books was prompted by a very different motivation. I’m currently researching my fourth book and finding the process every bit as enthralling as the first three. I’ve prepared a book proposal for six more books that I’d like to write someday, and each project was motivated by one of three beginnings.
Motivation #1: A Beloved Scripture Passage
Love’s Sacred Song was my first novel though it was published second. I had developed a Bible study and weekend retreat topic around the theme of “Sacred Love, Sacred Dance,” in which I explored the relationship of Jesus Christ as the Beloved Bridegroom of our souls. Beginning in 1998, I experienced and shared the “story” of Solomon’s Song of Songs in a way that pointed to the unrelenting love of my Shepherd. It eventually evolved into a biblical novel and found its way to a talented editor and marvelous publisher. The Song of Songs has forever changed my understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ. THAT’S great motivation for writing a book!
Motivation #2: A Great Tidbit of Research
Love Amid the Ashes was a novel that needed to be written in a year while I was waiting for Revell’s production schedule to clear (contract signed in 2008, but they didn’t want to publish Love’s Sacred Song until 2012). So I began thinking of some of the stories in Scripture that had helped me through the difficult times I was experiencing with my health issues. Job, of course, came to mind, but there were others. As I researched two possible stories, I found an incredibly intriguing little footnote in a commentary on the identity of Job’s wife. Yep, one little footnote. I was so stunned–and curious for more information–that I asked Revell’s publication committee to change their offer and let me write Job instead of another book they suggested. Ugh. Talk about newbie guts. Evidently, they respected my passion, and Love Amid the Ashes was born.
Motivation #3: Readers’ Suggestions
In the book proposal I will be submitting, I had already planned several titles as possible future projects. When I was praying about what to propose, I asked my Facebook friends and blog buddies to give suggested book topics for future biblical novels. I gave specific criteria (Old Testament story, Pre-Assyrian Exile) and got several suggestions–but one suggestion was offered repeatedly. For now, you’ll have to wait and wonder, but that repeated suggestion pierced my heart and is now near the top of my future projects list. I believe the Lord will make a way for that book to be published one day, and I’m very excited at the possibility! 😉
- If you’re an author, how do you choose your book topics?
- If you’re an avid reader, are you surprised at my process of choosing topics? Did you think it worked differently?
- Do you have a suggestion for another biblical novel (remember: Old Testament, Pre-Assyrian exile)?