Hi! I’m Virginia Smith—Ginny to my friends—sending out a great big “Thank You!” to Vicki for inviting me to be her guest today on Grace lessons. I was asked a question recently that really made me think, and I want to expand a little on it. A woman asked, “How does your faith play into your writing?” My first reaction was, “How can my faith not play into my writing?”
Fiction has played a huge part in building my faith from the time I was a child. From an early age, I totally inserted myself into the stories my mother read to me. I was Cinderella, and Ferdinand the Bull, and Sleeping Beauty. And actually, I was Prince Philip, too, fighting off the evil witch to rescue the princess. When Mom read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I completely understood Lucy’s awe-filled love for Aslan, and Edmund’s agony as he realized the depths of his betrayal. Aslan’s sacrifice painted a vivid picture in my child’s mind of Jesus’ sacrifice for me.
I still insert myself into stories. As a novelist, one way I can create real, vivid characters is to pour myself into the pages. That doesn’t mean every book is about me. But it does mean that many of my characters reflect pieces of myself, pieces that I sometimes have to dig deep to find. In Bluegrass Peril, for instance, I can find elements of myself in so many of those characters. Heroine Becky Dennison’s struggles to make ends meet as the single mom of two kids – been there, done that. Her confusion over God’s will for her life – that’s me. Her agony over past mistakes and the pain they cause her kids – oh yes. I’ve shared Scott’s ambition to move up in my chosen career, and his anger over being falsely accused. I’ve had some babysitting disasters that would rival Amber’s harrowing evening with the Dennison twins! (Never cloned a horse, though…)
So naturally, when my characters learn a spiritual lesson, it’s one I’ve learned at some point in my life. And my characters do learn spiritual lessons. Not through sermons – in fact, in Bluegrass Peril, you won’t find a single sermon! – but through living their lives out in the pages of the story.
And the coolest thing of all is this: as my characters’ faith develops through the course of the story, my own faith is strengthened in the process. God still allows me to step into the pages of a story – the stories He is creating through me. I love that!
Check out Ginny’s website (www.VirginiaSmith.org) and find out how you can win a $500 shopping spree!