I’ve been struggling. Can I say that out loud? I think so. We’re among friends:) I took five years to write my first book . . . and I’ve had a little less than a year to write the second one. The first one was for pure pleasure. I wasn’t even thinking about getting it published when I started. The second one is different—deadlines, expectations, self-doubt . . .
The biggest problem? I didn’t know what the book was about. I had characters I loved, a time and place that fascinated me, and a clear idea of what was going to happen. What I didn’t know was why. And the why is everything—in stories and in life.
Finally, it came to me—this book is about redemption and grace—and not just the soul-saving Redemption and Grace with a capital “R” and a capital “G,” but the daily kind that we receive from God and give to each other. And I want to explore the idea that the hardest person to forgive will always be ourselves.
There’s a scene I’m trying to recreate—something I once saw at a gospel music tent in the Mississippi Delta—so I’ve been listening to a lot of black gospel to capture the spirit of it. Music, for me, has always held redemptive power because it bypasses your brain and goes straight to your heart. It’s so easy to let external distractions interfere with the direct communication we were meant to have with God. For me, music clears the static and helps me feel the faith that even I can’t understand sometimes. Straight to the heart. No detours.