Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spiritual Impact

Today through Friday the CFBA blour of Crimson Eve is running. Crimson Eve is third in my Kanner Lake series, following Violet Dawn and Coral Moon.

A few weeks ago Deena Peterson
reviewed Crimson Eve on her blog. I thanked her for the review and mentioned that this book was getting exceptionally strong reviews/reader feedback--and frankly I wasn't quite sure why. I'm blessed that my books are typically favorably received, but what is it particularly about this one? Deena sent me back her thoughts. I found them insightful and intriguing. Before I comment further, here's what she had to say:

I think [Crimson Eve] strikes a chord within all of us. I mean, I absolutely LOVE the thrill ride I get from each and every one of your novels. But watching Carla deal with her past, her secrets, and watching those threads collide...

It was seeing how hiding from our sins, our mistakes holds us in such bondage. Watching her live in such fear because of keeping this thing quiet, and thinking it would never come out was POWERFUL for me.

And reading how everyone who knew her NOW loved her and cared about her so much, fought to find and rescue Jesus did for us...that came through so loud and clear.

I think, in this story, it was the power of the human element that we all struggle with. Who we once were, what we once did, and where we came from, and how it tries so desperately to cling to us and keep us from being all we can be in Christ.

Not everyone finds a dead body. Not everyone craves a career like Leslie did in Coral Moon. Not everyone is running from danger like Paige was in Violet Dawn.

But everybody longs to escape their past and find redemption and rescue like Carla did in Crimson Eve.

You kind of said it yourself in the note at the beginning of the story. This was a thrill ride, but of a different kind. And you were so dead on (no pun intended:-)!

Not that the human element doesn't make itself known in your other the others, it is the melody of what you write. But in Crimson was the symphony.

What intrigued me most about Deena's response was how much the story meant to her personally because of its spiritual message. Yet Crimson Eve has the least amount of "overt Christianese" than any of my other novels.

I'm not therefore advocating that Christian writers should always say "less is more" when it comes to an overt Christian message in our stories. As I always say, the characters and situation need to drive the particular level that's needed. But I am saying that toning down the overt message doesn't necessarily lessen the spiritual impact upon the reader.

This is not rocket science. I know this in my head. But with every book there's something deeper to be learned--the things I did right, the things I could have done better. I'm still looking at this whole response thing to Crimson Eve and thinking--how can I pull that kind of response from readers again? What kind of story do I want to tell ?...


rose mccauley said...

This review makes me want to read CE even if I haven't read the others in the series yet, so I guess I'm ready to take a chance and stick my toe across the line! Who knows where it will lead me? rose

Becky said...

Well, I don't know as I would say "everyone longs to escape their past." Some people long to escape their present. Some know their past is forgiven and already feel set free.

That some readers connected on a spiritual level is great, really great, but I don't think that's why you're getting such good responses to Crimson Eve. Of course I could be wrong, but I think it goes back to the things you uncovered in your poll.

First the protagonist had that "something" that made her endearing. I tend to think it was the opening when she fought back. No matter that I'm not into realty, that I've never had a hit man hold a gun on me. I admired her feistiness, her determination to do whatever she could. She wasn't helpless, wasn't a victim. She acted.

Secondly, I think there was much that kept the reader guessing. Yes, we knew she was running from the hit man, but who hired him? Who could she trust? How could she find a long term solution?

Even when I was on the right track with ... Tanya (?) I still didn't guess it all.

In my opinion, the strength of the book was the strength of all the components. Strong character, strong plot, strong theme. The setting? I'll have to look back, but yes, I think that was strong too. I mean, I could so picture where she hid her car!

My review will be up later this week.


Rel said...

Go Deena :)

Sally Bradley said...

Brandilyn, what made Crimson Eve so much fun for me is that, while it was still suspense, it was very different from your usual stories, and that difference made every page unpredictable. I don't want to say too much here to give away the plot for those who haven't read it yet, but the change in what normally happens kept me on edge the whole way through the book. I really enjoyed it!

Regina said...

I must admit I have not read any of your books, but I am interested. I will have to eventually pick it up!