I’ve always been a bookworm but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I seriously began tinkering with fiction writing.
Over the course of the next decade I proceeded to co-write a murder mystery novel with my youngest sister, as well as two solo novels in the contemporary Christian fiction genre (which is drama with a subplot of romance). Then one day, while I’d already started a third solo novel, my other sister asked if I wanted to co-write a fantasy genre novel with her. She had already plotted it and created the characters and setting, so I took a look at what she had and quickly agreed. After that it took us four years of collaborative writing to complete the novel, and we named it The Attic.
While absolutely LOVING the experience of writing fantasy (especially exploring all those secret passageways in the Gothic mansion) and considering it a marvellous adventure, I didn’t feel I was capable of plotting fantasy fiction by myself. So after that was done, I finished writing my third solo project: another Christian drama/romance.
But once that novel was completed I distinctly felt like I’d reached a dead end – or a finish line if you will. The wind was out of my sails. I felt like I’d said all I ever wanted to say in the contemporary Christian fiction genre. So what to do? I didn’t want to write drama without romance and I didn’t want to right full-blown romance either. I also didn’t want to write murder mysteries because they require too much knowledge of police and detective work (all that inside legal and procedural stuff).
So it was at this point that I began writing short stories in order to play my hand at a variety of genres. And here I serendipitously discovered in allegorical fiction a niche in which I could write for a mainstream audience (like we did with The Attic) while still being inclusive of my Christian faith and values.
Then one summer on a whim, I bought a youth fiction novel because the synopsis appealed to me and it had a delightful title: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano. It had simply never occurred to me before that I might enjoy youth fiction, of all things. I read many more novels for middle graders after that first one; but in reading this particular book I felt an awakening, like I’d found something I didn’t even know I’d been looking for!