Recently, Bondfire had the privilege of releasing Rescuing Faith: A Novel by first time author Carol James. Carol was kind enough to answer some questions about the story and her journey as an author.
1) Tell us about how this book came about and why you decided to write it.
I believe God gave me this story to write. Rescuing Faith was born out of years of watching beautiful, accomplished, godly women struggle with feeling inadequate. Had they been loving enough wives, attentive enough mothers, faithful enough employees, good enough Christians? And when real life didn’t turn out to be an episode from Leave It to Beaver, they often blamed themselves. Surely there was something they could have done better.
Society and self place many demands on women today. Airbrushed images all around us are constant reminders of unrealistic goals and expectations that can never be met, yet are held forth as ideals to strive toward. And, as women, we often buy into it all. But now for the good news: who we are is not defined by the world’s standards. We are image-bearers of a perfect God.
2) What’s been the biggest thing you’ve overcome as a writer and what would you say to other writers who are struggling?
For me, as for most writers, I think the biggest obstacle is just making yourself keep writing in the face of rejection. Pursuing publication can be an extremely discouraging process. Rejections are many and quick. And giving up is easy. But you just have to find that one person who believes in your work.
My advice is:
- Surround yourself with other writers. They understand what you are going through.
- Join literary groups. I have found authors to be an extremely encouraging and generous group, and the networking opportunities and advice are helpful.
- Enter your work into contests where agents and publishers that you would like to approach are the final judges. Even if you don’t final, the feedback you receive from the first round judges can be very valuable. And, if you do final, you’ll bypass the query process and your work will be moved to the top of the stacks of inquiries waiting for responses.
- And while you are waiting, keep writing. Strive to improve and perfect your craft.
One time when I was struggling, a fellow writer sent me a quotation that is push-pinned to the cork-board above my desk, and many days, my eyes rest on it and absorb the wisdom:
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.” - Harriet Beecher Stowe
3) Tell us four things about yourself that people may be surprised to know.
- I cannot walk or drive past a used bookstore without stopping and browsing, at the least.
- I collect antique children’s books.
- I’m probably the only Texan who doesn’t own a cowboy hat or pair of cowboy boots.
- I have walked among the huge monoliths of Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the replica slabs at Permian Basin Stonehenge in Texas, and the gray painted steel representations at Carhenge in Nebraska.
4) What motivated you to begin writing?
My interest in writing began later in life for me than for most. About three years ago, I began writing inspirational/Christian romance. My goal? To encourage others the way Christian fiction writers had encouraged me. But, my writing journey really started ten years earlier, when the idea of writing anything, much less a novel, sounded as grating to me as fingernails on a chalkboard. I needed to change jobs, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to move to a new position I knew that by leaving teaching I’d be giving up more than a job. I’d be losing what had been my personal ministry for eight years.
One morning I sat in a local park reading my Bible. I came upon Isaiah 43:18-19, and on that day, at that very hour, that passage was meant for me.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
God had something new for me to do. I just had to find it. After a decade of trying various ministries, the idea of writing to encourage others began to nudge its way into my heart. A song? A poem? A novel? Surely not. Anything but writing, Lord . . . Yet when I typed the first words on the first page of my first manuscript, I knew this was the “new work,” my “stream in the wasteland.”