by Diane Chase
“Why write a book?” I’ve been asked. Why surrender weekends and holidays to critique groups, rewrites, and the rest? Simple answer: I want to share what God does. (Or did, depending on how you see it.)
That’s what our hearts long to hear, even in fiction. What’s He up to? I want that nugget of wisdom you heard, that answer you received to a long-awaited prayer. Whether it’s shared in song, conversation, or books, your testimony goes straight to my heart and builds my faith. So many times I’ll read a Christian novel in bed and go “whoa.” That’s where I turn out the lights and let some bit of truth, some wonderful idea soak in.
What I’m saying is we’re witnesses. All of us. When Jesus commissioned the disciples, His instructions included this: “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight, what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” (NIV/Matthew 10:27). Yet, it’s not easy. Others may not accept our words; they get jealous or resentful; they’re put off.
In Appointment at Christmas Bay, there’s a supernatural healing, and although I believe God performs miracles when it glorifies His name, it’s not central to the plot. For me, a more important or at least a personal aspect to the story is salvation. That’s the whisper in the dark I wanted to proclaim from the roof.
Twenty years ago, He came into my life and didn’t pick up where I left off. He rummaged through the muck, chose what stayed and what went. As those shackles fell, I felt so free and fulfilled even while the world I knew was rocked and uprooted underneath me. The main character in Appointment at Christmas Bay gets a similar do-over in her life.
So that’s my simple but not-so-short answer to “why write a novel?” And while it’s perhaps my shout from the roof, sometimes being quiet works just as well when witnessing about the works of God. We’ve heard there’s a time to speak, another to be silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7). And after Christ’s birth, Mary treasured things in her heart rather than yell in the town square (Luke 2:19).
Anyway, I always imagined Appointment at Christmas Bay as a novel in a bookstore. No one was more surprised than me as I formatted it for Amazon and pressed “publish.” Ack! Suddenly, people were evaluating my work, something like an on-going, public report card. In a five day free promotion, 15,500 complete strangers downloaded it,11,000 on the last day. I say again. ACK!
It’s been a month since that beginning. Looking back, the whole thing from start to finish has been an absolute blast. And, God willing, I hope to do it again soon. I think it’s what we’re meant to do. Shout! (With some discretion, naturally.)