Writing in the Desert by Mary Langer Thompson
Writing can be a lonely profession, especially when you live geographically isolated. The writers introduced here live in Victorville, Helendale, Hesperia, and Apple Valley, California, known as the high desert. They are separated from bigger cities, including Los Angeles, by the Cajon Pass. Depending on the time of year, the long, mountainous pass can become enshrouded by fog and snow, and other times it has been overcome by fire.
These five writers are Christians. Aaron D. Gansky, remembers inviting Jesus into his heart at around age five. Molly Jo Realy became a Christian at age twenty-seven. Beckie Lindsey, Editor of SoCal Christian Voice, was twelve, “but rededicated my life to God in my twenties.” Marilyn King was led to the Lord at age six and was “baptized in a horse tank on the church front lawn in a rural town in Kansas.” Ann Miner gave her heart to Christ at age thirty-five. “The change was subtle, yet remarkable,” she says.
Being a Christian has influenced each one’s writing considerably. Aaron says, “I understand the spiritual side of my characters—even if they’re not Christian themselves.” Indeed, in his recent romance, he shows the struggles of a young couple, one Christian and one not. Molly Jo prays before writing and refrains from writing explicitly sexual or violent scenes. In her blog and eBooks, she strives to show her imperfections and humanity, and “God’s conquering in my life.” Beckie, too,“finds God and the spiritual in every aspect of life” in her devotions, news articles, and verse. Marilyn desires her historical and other stories reflect “that God cares about our everyday life. Healing, forgiveness and His redemption are the center focus of each story.” Ann’s children’s books have “subtle Christian morals,” and her non-fiction true stories can be read as devotionals, inspiration, or for pleasure.
C.S. Lewis is the group’s most-favored classic Christian author, because says Molly Jo, “I adore Narnia. His ability to write the gospel story so wonderfully, so beautifully, in a way that captures both children and adults is amazing.” Beckie adds, “Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters were life-changing.” Her young adult novels are influenced by Lewis.
Favorite contemporary Christian authors named are Aaron’s father, Alton Gansky, Cindy Sproles, Lauraine Snelling who, according to Marilyn King, “plunks you right down in the middle of the families in her story and lets you live their life, cry their tears and laugh those belly laughs long forgotten. Her characters bring God into every situation in a light and inviting way.” Marilyn also always closes the books of Jerry Jenkins of the Left Behind Series with a contented sigh and eagerness to read more. Ann Miner names Chuck Swindoll as “clear and practical” and has quoted him in her works.
Readers respond to the Christian messages of these five authors, too. Molly Jo wants readers to know being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Readers, too, have a purpose and a voice that God wants them to use. Aaron Gansky has been an inspiration to her because “Aaron has this amazing knack for creating characters that make people catch their breath and ask, ‘How does he know that about me? His characters are very personal, even the ones from other worlds.” Beckie says, “When someone takes the time to let me know they have been encouraged or have grown closer in some way to God, I cannot think of a better reward.” Marilyn loves her fan mail. “My readers feel hope and are inspired to face their daily lives as they’ve seen my characters do. It encourages me to keep doing what I like to do best: share the Father’s love.” Ann wrote a chapter in one of her books that her pastor used as a devotional.
When asked for advice for other Christian writers, Aaron volunteered, “the same advice I have for all other writers: keep writing. Never give up!” Molly Jo agrees, adding, “Yes, don’t stop writing. Don’t stop reading. Don’t stop learning. Research everything, verify everything. And if you have a fire in you to write, then write. Pray before, during, and after your writing. Be open to suggestions, but remain true to the story that’s inside you.” Beckie, too, advises “Daily time with God in prayer and His Word. Read, read, read. Study other authors. Keep fine-tuning your craft. Go to writer’s conferences. Join a local writer’s club. Set a writing schedule.” Marilyn warns, “If you decide to include God in your story, don’t preach. Let the characters show their faith in God as naturally as breathing. Nothing turns off a reader more than feeling they are being preached to. They are reading for enjoyment.” Ann concludes with, “Just let the Lord guide your fingers. Read your work over a few times to make sure you have made your point. He will help you with your words. Tell your story ‘like it is.’”
Now that you have met these dedicated Christian writers, look them up on social media and Amazon and become readers, or use their inspirational advice to become a writer yourself no matter where you live.
Aaron D. Gansky at http://aarongansky.com/firsts-in-fiction/
Marilyn King at https://www.facebook.com/marilynramirezking,
Ann Minor at https://www.facebook.com/eannminer,
Beckie Lindsey at https://beckielindsey.com/
Molly Jo Realy at http://franklymydearmojo.com/
Mary Langer Thompson, Ed.D., has been a Christian since the age of five. She writes poetry, essays, children’s books and book reviews. She met Aaron, Molly Jo, Beckie, Marilyn, and Ann through The California Writers Club, High Desert Branch where each has been an inspiration to her and others. Find out more about Mary https://www.facebook.com/mary.langerthompson