A commenter will win a copy of
Scroll down to see how.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Evangeline Denmark today. Take note of her photo above. I am so amazed. I have read her book and immediately understood the why she chose to have those bottles in the background. My heart stirred after reading her struggles in the post below, struggles so many girls and women face. Evangeline is a new and upcoming star author. Even the cover of her book is dazzling. I asked Evangeline: how has God led you on your writing journey? Here is what she said:
Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
So I was thinking about how to approach this post and how strange my writing journey might look to an outside observer, and it occurred to me that while it may appear I’ve wandered far away, I’m as close as I’ve ever been to the source of my faith. Whenever the words “far away” and “close” pop into my brain they inevitably bring the U2 song by that name, so there we have it, the title of this blog post.
I started writing ten years ago in January. Yes, it was ten years exactly from the month I began crafting my first novel to the release of my first book. I’d always written. It was natural for me, but in January of 2006 I had a miscarriage and writing took on a different quality. Creativity became the outlet and the healing I needed.
I found myself in fiction. In every book I wrote I faced some question or theme that troubled me. Often I didn’t even know what issue I was confronting until I was a good way into the story, but it became clear that writing was my soul’s wrestling technique.
Pursuing publication made sense considering my mom, Donita K. Paul, had made a name in Christian fiction. I was set to follow in her footsteps. The problem not readily apparent was that I belonged on a different trail. I wrote books about fairies and ghosts that didn’t suit the inspirational market. And when I tried to write more traditionally “Christian” stories my critique group saw right through the attempt and called me out for using Christianese. And I knew they were right.
Adding faith messages went against my instincts, but uncovering deep roots through the magic of creativity made my soul sing. My approach to fiction shifted from trying to impart some principle (which I was never any good at anyway) to eagerly anticipating what mystery would be revealed to me. I thrived on digging deep into strange soil and grasping seeds that looked nothing like an identifiable flower and yet held the blueprints of truth and beauty nonetheless.
I’d reached a turning point. I needed to stop fighting my process and stop trying to fit into a certain box with a clearly stamped label, so I made the decision to pursue publication in the general market.
I wrote Curio with a sense of freedom I’d never experienced before and that freedom soaked into the pages. In the character of Grey Haward I explored being an outsider and the struggle to accept and embrace that otherness. With the rigid oppression of Grey’s home, Mercury City, I pulled on the threads of legalism woven through modern church culture. And in the cruel, beauty-worshipping society within the enchanted curio cabinet I saw reflections of our beauty-obsessed, sexually-exploitive civilization.
But through Grey, Blaise, and Whit’s journeys I also discovered the incredible strength and resilience of young people, and the passion that injustice kindles in those who choose to see it. And because hope is forever pushing back on ugliness, I found the exquisite beauty of first love rippling like a banner of resistance amidst oppression.
This book that I wrote in a state of abandonment found a home with Blink, the general market YA imprint of Zondervan. It’s ironic that I’m straddling markets, finding readers who see symbolism, feminism, adventure, danger, or just a really weird story in Curio. And here I’ll stay, living in an in between space—at home with knowing that I won’t know what I know until I uncover it word by word in my next story.
This has been my journey far away from what I thought was required of a writer of faith, but closer to an understanding of love, beauty, truth and those perfect gifts of Light that we long for soul deep.
Evangeline loves to connect with readers.
You can find her at her:
Enter the contest to win Evangeline's book:
US readers invited to enter!!
Trapped within an enchanted curio cabinet where porcelain and clockwork creatures struggle for power, Grey must seek out the only other human in order to get home. But the strange boy disguised as the Mad Tock is on the wrong side of the revolution. Can they learn to trust each other in time to make it out alive?
Enter the contest to win Evangeline's book:
Here is how:
1. Leave a comment (and email address)
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Thank you, Evangeline, for joining us this weekend!
We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.
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