It has been my great joy to write Christian fiction for all ages during the past decade. From delving into the delights of Christian picture books for young children – in Star Bright, The Greatest Treasure, The Master Builder and the soon to be released Josh’s Impossible Journey – to exploring the Christian possibilities for Young Adult novels – in The Golden Highway, The Diamond Pathway and The Emerald Treasure Chamber (my fantasy trilogy) and The Seekers – to venturing into the stimulating territory of Christian adult fiction – in Headlines in Heaven, Meltdown Miracles, and the soon to be released Firm Foundations and Crystal Island – my writing journey has been filled with plenty of joys and challenges.
Chief among my joys has been the creation of the plots for all genres of Christian fiction. The ideas for Christian picture books for young children usually come to me relatively easily when I put myself right into one of my young character’s shoes, especially when I visualise how my particular character would see the world. The simplest of stories can be made interesting for young readers by spicing up the plot with a moment of conflict, a hard choice or a difficult challenge. When I write a picture book for young children, I often create the entire plot on a story board before I flesh out the details, and of course, I have the added joy of seeing my story come alive with pictures. I am always so grateful to the creative artists who imaginatively interpret my stories using shapes and colours. What an exciting genre the picture book is.
The plotting of Christian young adult fiction is, of course, far more complex. As I like to keep my teenage readers on the edge of their seats, my plots for this genre are geared towards excitement, the unexpected and problem-solving. The young adults in my stories have choices to make, choices which can sometimes be life-altering. Hopefully, the adventures they get into and the experiences they have will be sufficiently page-turning for my readers to want to complete my young adult Christian trilogy, and to find out what happens to my protagonist in The Seekers.
I’m not going to say that writing Christian fiction for adults is the most challenging genre, because each genre has its own set of problems to overcome for a writer. But for me, one of the most satisfying aspects of writing adult fiction is to present significant themes in a thought-provoking way, and to encourage adults, through the eyes of the protagonists – and sometimes even through the eyes of the minor characters or the antagonists in my novels – to think seriously about their purpose in life, their journey through life and ultimately their final destiny. I am really hoping that through my fiction, I will spread some important, maybe even life-giving seeds in the world – and that someone else will water these seeds and make them grow.