Check out NLB Horton guest post on the blog today! Check out my review of When Camels Fly and if you have not had a chance yet enter the giveaway!!
The topic a blogger asks me to discuss in a guest post is always interesting. Sometimes their requests are obvious; other times, they’re obscure. In both instances, the topics always reveal to me something I haven’t yet discovered on my own about my writing.
At first glance, I thought my guest post for Two Children and a Migraine, addressing how work in my previous life influenced my writing of When Camels Fly, would be straightforward. Then I remembered my prior life wasn’t so simple, so my guest blog wouldn’t be, either.
When I reflect on my work experience, I find that it falls into three categories. The most important is the critical work cultivating two contributing adults who reflect my values, priorities, and work ethic. The second is a professional adventure in advertising and marketing. The last is my academic journeys, which include returning to one of the finest seminaries in the United States for my Master’s degree.
My family is the most important part of my life, and my greatest accomplishment, although I am at that marvelous age when I can redefine myself. My experiences parenting, and being part of a nearly thirty-year marriage, permeate When Camels Fly.
The standards we taught the kids, the goals we had for them, their own drive and initiative—these elements influence my writing work and reflect Judeo-Christian ethics. The relationship my protagonist, archaeologist Grace Madison, has with her two adult children is healthy, humorous, and productive. Yet she exhibits the tension, conflict, and deep love she has for the two of them as she respects their independence, and wonders if she’s to blame for the dangers inherent in some of it. One of my Beta Readers referred to her “endearing Yenta qualities that every mother feels.”
So many families in today’s literature are depicted as dysfunctional and degrading. The Madison family in When Camels Fly and The Brothers’ Keepers (November 7, 2014) provides a strong example of how a family can mature cohesively and respectfully without sacrificing individual strengths along the way. These characteristics will carry through the five books in the Parched series.
And Grace’s relationship with her husband of three-plus decades, Mark, depicts a bond lasting over the long haul, but not without damage. As two Type-A personalities reposition and recommit, and begin to fall in love again under the most dangerous of circumstances, their journey becomes familiar. Another Beta Reader commented that it’s a path almost every marriage takes, but that so little is written about the convoluted emotions, or ways to move through them to remain “whole.”
Owning a marketing and advertising agency known for artistic, out-of-the-box campaigns certainly is an advantage when positioning an indie book, targeting reader demographics, commissioning books covers, and writing marketing copy. I understand the process and am comfortable with deadlines. Many hurdles cited by independent authors are easy, having long ago become part of my professional mindset after two and a half decades of responding to clients and vendors.
My relationship with my literary agent—a woman of great courage and humor— is comfortable for many reasons, not the least of which our decades of business experiences. The same can be written about relationships with the myriad of talented people whose work brings When Camels Fly to life.
I also can think graphically, and try to tease the best from those whose gifts manipulate images instead of words. And I can run the mechanics of a large campaign, which is a major asset as we approach the May 12 release date of When Camels Fly.
The academic journeys massively impact my ability to deliver When Camels Fly. I write only about places I have been and know well. I’ve done archaeology in Israel and Jordan. I know the histories of the people groups that have populated this region since the beginning of human time. I have experienced the conflict through heavy artillery fired in Syria and machine guns peppering something in Lebanon. (My goal was to keep my head down in the dig on tel Dan.) And with a Bachelor’s in journalism, I avoid excess words.