Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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 her...like 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 books....in the others, it is the melody of what you write. But in Crimson Eve...it 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 ?...