With Angela Benson
author of Awakening Mercy and Abiding Hope
What experience or turning point in your life guided you
to your vocation as a Christian author?
ANGELA: I wrote secular
fiction until the day I couldn't write secular fiction
anymore. I literally sat down to write a story that I
had been contracted to write and could not write it. After
several attempts to write this story, I found myself at
a place of repentance, not just for the writing but for
the life I was living before God.
When I stopped
writing secular fiction, I wasn't sure if I'd ever write
another book again. Sometime later a friend suggested
I explore Christian fiction. I wasn't sure about pursuing
the genre but I did sit down to write a story. This was
a story of repentance, my own repentance. I wrote it because
I wanted to talk about what happens when the prodigal
returns. I didn't write the story to sell it, though I
later tried to sell it as a novella. The story has yet
to sell, but that's all right because I think it served
GGBC: Do you think there
is a different type of responsibility to the reader as
a Christian fiction writer as opposed to a secular fiction
ANGELA: Yes. I think that readers come to Christian
fiction looking to receive. With secular fiction, they
may have their antennas up, alert for anything that conflicts
with their belief system. With Christian fiction, they
let that antennae down expecting work that coincides with
their belief system. As a writer, I feel it my responsibility
to honor that expectation and not betray the trust of
the readers who pick up my books.
I also think
that people read looking for themselves and their situations
so I try to create honest characters in honest situations.
I don't go for the "good" character versus the "bad" character
scenario, because I see that as an easy out. I go for
characters that are complex, characters that are challenged
to live their faith, not just talk about it.
GGBC: The setting
of Awakening Mercy is Atlanta, GA any particular
reason you chose this city as the back drop for Nate and
ANGELA: I think a writer needs to know the places
about which she chooses to write. I've lived in the Atlanta
area and I know and love the place. In addition, Atlanta
has a large and diverse African American community that
provides a lot of fodder for a story.
GGBC: The theme
of Awakening Mercy was forgiveness and repentance.
Why did you decide to give the main characters Nate and
Cece similar personal struggles?
ANGELA: I'm not sure it was a conscious decision.
The story just unfolded that way.
GGBC: What was
your inspiration for the Genesis House Series and when
could we expect your next novel Abiding Hope?
ANGELA: Abiding Hope should be available in August.
It was scheduled for September 2001 but the publishers
got it ready early for the Christian Booksellers Association
(CBA) International Convention that was held in Atlanta
GGBC: Could you
share with us the theme of Abiding Hope? Will we recognize
any particular characters from Awakening Mercy?
ANGELA: Abiding Hope is about trusting God,
and how we sometimes things happen in our lives will cause
us to waver in our trust. Abiding Hope is Shay
and Marvin's story. The couples were introduced in Awakening
Mercy. They're picking up the pieces of their marriage,
their ministry together, and their individual walks with
the Lord. You can read an excerpt on my web page at http://www.bensonink.com/abiding_hope.htm
GGBC: What advice would
you give aspiring Christian authors who feel called to
write or compelled to share their story with the world?
What resources could you recommend?
ANGELA: Write and pray. Pray and write. You have
to have to message for your story and you have to get
that message from the Lord. That's first. I also recommend
reading other writers. Reading books on the craft of writing
helps as well. I have a page of Writing Tips, including
writing organizations and helpful books, on my web page
GGBC: Angela, thanks
for spending a moment with us and congrats on being our
Good Girl Pick for May! We hope to have you back again
ANGELA: Thanks for having me. I'd love to come