My mother reads all my books cover to cover. It’s actually quite a thrill for me. I also feel that if she loves them, the rest of the world surely will. (I use my mother as a gauge because she is a very faithful Christian. If the books – you know, the ones with bedroom scenes- don’t bother her so much, why should they bother anyone else? Uhum, maybe because everyone is different. Or gasp, she’s my mother. Again, a blog for another day.)
But as I’m trying to building these two separate parts of my career–the secular and the Christian it became more and more clear. I held out as long as I could, then I came up with a pen name. I almost immediately regretted it. It is HARD and next to IMPOSSIBLE to be two people. In today’s world of social media most folks will know your real name anyway so who am I trying to fool with a pen name?
So after a short run with Amie Louellen and Amy Lillard I decided to take all my books and make them Amy Lillard books. (This is when the Sweet As Apple Pie brand was born.)
People would understand, I told myself. This is a business. This is my dream. That’s the beauty of publishing these days. I have options. And I also got a new contract for my contemporary cowboy romances. The books of my dreams! The ones I had been dying to write for eleven years. It worked out even better that the publisher wanted to put them out under the Amy Lillard brand. Hot dog! I was on my way.
Well, the truth of the matter is I have been ‘on my way’ for a while now. I have published many Amish books, a few mysteries, some Christian novellas, and a string of contemporary romances. You know, my dream. Besides who am I to write contemporary Christian romance? I’m a spiritual person, but I’m not like other people who have these fantastic church families. I’m not like my sister who teaches at VBS and manages to bustle three children into church each Sunday. It’s just not like that for me. I’m more of the sit on the back porch and contemplate God in the clouds and the beauty of the world He created. Who am I to talk about people who walk faithfully with God when I stumble more than move forward?
Then God told me something. Be brave. Those words rang in my head clear as day. I was walking in our neighborhood park, trying to get some exercise. Be brave, God said. Yes, I could be brave. I could write contemporary inspirational. I could do super-sweet romance, one step down from inspirational yet with no sex, no language. I could do it regardless of the people who have told me otherwise. Or my own doubts. I am just as good, just as worthy as anyone else.
So I prayed as I finished my walk. “I’m not sure what this means, Lord, but help me feel this same way, this empowered, when I get back home. Help me know what this means and what I’m supposed to do with it.”
It took a day or so, but I finally figured it out. God wanted me to come up with a new contemporary Christian series! Hey, I can do that! I’m never without ideas of one sort or another. In fact I have a great series that I can just flip to be Christian. It’ll be fantastic! So I’m going to write Amish, write this new series, and write my other contemporaries.
I had it all planned out…or so I thought.
Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of What Happens When You Stop Arguing with God…
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