Friday, February 13, 2009

Author of the Month--Guest Post by M.L. Tyndall!

Nothing makes me happier than having my blog "pirated" by such a sweetheart of an author...enjoy my guest post by MaryLu, and really think about the message she shares today:

Pirates and Parables

What do the two have in common? Absolutely nothing! That is, until I came up with The Charles Towne Belles series. Leave it to a Christian Romance author to find a tie between a Scriptural parable and a pirate. But that is what I do. I create stories around truths I find in the Word of God. And lucky for me there is an endless supply in my favorite all-time book, the Bible! I’ve heard it said that if you’re a writer, you are either a plot-driven writer or a character-driven writer, but as I’ve progressed in my writing, I’ve discovered that I fit into a third possibility, spiritual-driven writer. That’s because my stories always begin with some scripture that God keeps pressing into my mind. In the case of my new series, it was the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. You remember the parable. The sower (God) tosses seeds (the word of God) onto four types of ground: the wayside, the stones, among the thorns, and the good ground. Each type of ground is a person who receives the Word, but then things happen to them that either choke it or wash it away or make it fruitful. I remember walking on the trail behind my house thinking about this parable and instantly, God gave me the idea to create a 3-book series, each book containing the story of one sister who represents one of the final three types of ground.

In the first book in the series, The Red Siren, Faith Westcott represents the seed that falls on the stony places, and when tribulation, troubles, and problems arise, she stumbles and drifts away. So, I allowed a series of horrific things to happen to Faith and her family before the story even begins, things that caused her to turn her back on God and take matters into her own hands. She needs to make money and she needs it fast, and what better way to do so at a time when women could not work, than become a pirate!

In book two, The Blue Enchantress, Faith’s sister Hope represents the seed that falls among the thorns and the pleasures of this world lure her away from God, and in book three, The Raven Saint, the third sister, Grace represents the good soil—the person who hears the word and understands it and bears much fruit. But of course she has one tiny little flaw (which I won’t reveal quite yet)

I feel so blessed that God has allowed me to bring to life portions of His Word, and my hope is that my stories will make these truths seem more real and thus more understandable to readers.

If you’re a writer and you struggle developing characters and plots, try starting out with a spiritual theme, a strong uplifting message you want the reader to walk away with. After you have that firmly in mind, create characters who will best portray that theme. In Faith’s case, I needed someone stubborn, arrogant and angry. The kind of person who would walk away from God when disaster strikes. Then add all the other characters in the story who will either help your heroine in her journey or try to prevent her from succeeding. After all the characters are developed, choose a time period and location for the story. Tie it in with what you want your characters to go through and why, and finally develop your plot. It might sound a bit backward from the steps most writers take in creating a story, but it works for me. Maybe it will for you too!

Happy Reading!



Kim said...

Alright Deena, MaryLu....I'm a bigger fan of pirates than ever before, and especially the ones in MaryLu's books!! This is awesome! Thank you for pirating the Bookshelf today!

Deena, you're my favorite matey!! Arrrrrgh!

Kristi said...

I absolutely loved The Red Siren and can't wait for the second book to come out. It is wonderful the way you explained how you connected it to the parable. Keep 'em coming!

Abi said...

I have about 40 more pages to read in the Red Siren. I have enjoyed it like no other. It has been a delight. I'm excited to read about the next two books in this series.

MaryLu Tyndall said...

Thanks Kim and Kristi for reading my article! And for liking my books too. :-) And Thanks again Deena for having me on your blog.
I hope everyone is enjoying their Valentines day with their favorite pirate!