Okay, so maybe that headline is a touch of click-bait, but the news certainly IS exciting, and it ranks pretty darn high on my list, even if it is not the BEST news ever! I found out a couple nights ago that my upcoming novel, Sand Creek Serenade, is going to be reviewed by Publishers Weekly!
For those who don’t know, Publishers Weekly is a magazine that goes out to bookstores, libraries, and other bookish places, to help them find stories they might like to carry. Never in my lifetime did I expect to see one of my titles in this publication, so I’m just a wee bit THRILLED!
I’m being honest when I say that I’ve been terrified of what the response might be to this story–for a number of reasons. For one, I’m used to being in novella collections, where the overall success of the whole book isn’t on any one author’s shoulders, but rather, we all write the best story we can, we all help market and promote it, and so we all reap the benefits of each others’ work. This time, it is my name alone on the cover. That’s fantastic, and I’m excited about it, but it also means I will sink or swim alone. It’s new territory for me, and the “new” can often be frightening.
This story was also scary in that it was about a well-documented historical event, the Sand Creek Massacre. While many average readers may not know about this terrible piece of American history, there is enough information out there that many readers will know about it. I have always shied away from writing about such events because, no matter how hard an author tries, he or she will never get every shred of the history correct. I guess there is enough “perfectionist” in me that I haven’t wanted to get any of the facts wrong. But the moment this story came to me, I knew it had to be told, so I’ve had to fight past my fears of writing about such a well-documented event.
The last reason why this has been a scary story for me is that most times, the faith elements in my stories are fairly light. The characters pray, perhaps quote a Scripture from which they draw strength, or perhaps someone hears a sermon with just the right point to speak to their current issue. Through most of this book, that’s just what the faith element was. But toward the end, there is one scene where the spiritual arc takes a bit of a deep dive–far deeper than any other story I’ve written to date. I absolutely love what happens, and I hope readers will as well. But it has always felt like a risky scene, and as a fairly conservative person, the risk scares me.
All that said, I am taking some great encouragement from the fact that Publishers Weekly has chosen to review my story, and most of all, trusting that God is going to allow this book to reach those readers He meant it for. If He will do that, I have nothing to fear!