Thursday, March 15, 2007

Reader Letter

Recently I received this e-mail from a reader of Dead of Night. I'm running it anonymously, with permission.

Dead of Night released two years ago this month. I run this letter as an encouragement to all you writers of Christian fiction, published or not. This is why we write what we do. It's one thing to write a novel everyone's reading on the beach, that everyone touts as a great plot. That's all well and good. But God brings to us the ability to touch a reader through a plot--even years later. That's the Holy Spirit's work, not ours, so we can certainly take no credit. How wonderful to team up with God through Story.
I picked up Dead of Night last week in my church's bookstore ... It's amazing how timing works out so perfectly. I'm being bogged down with never-ending headaches from dawn to dusk, countless college papers and tests, work, playing in my church's band, fighting temptations that the devil is taunting me with, and to top it all off my best friend is moving 3 hours away this weekend to start a new career. I know that my life will change drastically with him leaving and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

I used to talk to God incessantly, like a child would speak to an imaginary friend, just better because I know He's real. In the past couple years, though, I've noticed that has changed. Sometimes I may forget to pray all day, and then at night I'm trying to make up for it. But lately, just as Annie felt the urgings to pray and listened to the P.U.S.H. sermon, I've been praying more and with fervency. Yesterday, our church service was extremely powerful and everyone was prayin' up a storm. Usually I pray as much as I can, but it was different yesterday. I commanded the devil to take his hands off of my life and I commanded with faith and authority. When I couldn't think of anything else to pray, I began praying in the Spirit and it was stronger than I've felt in who knows how long.

... I just wanted to let you know how God was using your book to really speak to me. It's a comfort above all because I know that even though I'm feeling alone and abandoned, He is there and sees every situation and cares enough to remind me in my time of faithlessness.


If you've received a reader letter like this recently, or perhaps wrote one, I'd love for you to share the highlights and encourage all of us. (If you wrote the letter, you can post anonymously.) This kind of feedback is what keeps us all going when the writing gets tough. Which happens to me about, oh, every day.


Nicole said...

I'm officially considered "unpublished". (I self-published my first novel.) My third novel is called Sweet Release, and the blurb goes as follows:
"Love is just a four letter word until its true revelation hits hard in the hearts of six people who have yet to fully sample what it means to experience it in its purest form. The journey these six individuals make to realize the origin and the reality of genuine love is both gut-wrenching and rapturous. Ultimately they find the sweet release to love freely."

One of my test readers at the time was a young single parent with two children by different fathers. She had returned to the Lord and was making every effort to right her life. After reading my novel, she approached me crying and told me how much the book had ministered to her. Then she wrote this comment for me:
"Sweet Release reminds us that Christ's sacrifice made us former misfits worthy of ALL of God's love."

She's now happily married and expecting her third child with her God-fearing husband.

Praise God for all His love, mercy, and benevolence to us.

(And your books do minister, BC.)

Kristy Dykes said...

I'll bite. Yes, letters from readers make all the work worthwhile. And confirm my calling to inspirational writing:

"Are you black or do you have a special gift of empathy?" – reader of my novella in Sweet Liberty (the heroine is black)

Here's another (C.S. Lewis said, "Any amount of theology can be smuggled into people's minds under cover of romance."):

"Dear Kristy, If I were an author, I would want to know if something I did touched someone's life. So, I wanted to tell you that your novella in Room At the Inn touched my life. I just broke off a relationship with a man I liked a great deal. I have had a rough week and felt like your lead character, Lois. I'm 27 and single, live in a small town, and go to a small church. The prospects of meeting someone who is a Christian and shares my values and is fun and interesting seems pretty bleak at times. Your story spoke straight to my heart. Lois's constant faith and yet frank acknowledgement of her fears and frustrations echoed my own heart. I immediately copied Psalm 37:4-6 (the theme of your story) and posted it on my computer. I don't generally identify so strongly with stories, nor do they usually cause me to change the way I do things or think. Yours did. Your writing, and in turn, you, are a blessing to me, and I wanted you to know that your work did some good."

Dineen A. Miller said...

That's so cool, Brandilyn.

I don't have much to share in this area. No letters yet. I only know God uses anything. He used the first draft of my first book to open my mother's eyes to His presence. I praise Him every day that she now knows Jesus.

That book may never see the light of day again, but I know writing it wasn't pointless, that's for sure.

Rel said...

As an avid reader with no designs on being a writer, I can say without bias books can reach into places nothing else can! I coordinate my church's book club and am constantly amazed at how the group speaks about issues they often wouldn't in a formal church/bible study environment (don't get me wrong, it doesn't replace those things!) but there is a freedom to express thoughts and ideas using the character of a book that is less threatening. I also loan out my "library" to many people and one young woman who has had a terribly difficult life on all fronts and has recently become a believer is just adoring the challenge, stimulation and teaching she is finding in CF books instead of the "bad stuff" she was getting with many secular reads. Keep at it, girls :)

Rel said...

Thanks Brandilyn for your visit to my blog and your encouraging post. It was quite bizarre as I just finished (way too late) my ARC of Coral Moon and wake up to find a Brandilyn Collins post this morning :):):) Loved it and got a bit creeped out all at the same time! Will be posting my review in the next day or two....

Rel said...

The book that is and not your post!!!!!