Friday, January 25, 2013
GUEST BLOGGER GOLDEN KEYES PARSONS: JUST TELLING STORIES (and GIVEAWAY!!)
I was on staff one fall at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference and having a few free moments, I slipped into the back of a fiction class. What I heard in that one-hour session rocked my world, and I’ve never looked at fiction the same way since. Dave Lambert was leading the workshop, and he said that a non-believer is probably not going to pick up a Christian non-fiction book. However, they might pick up a novel and read it. He said as Christian fiction writers we can imbed the gospel in a novel in perhaps a more palatable way than in a non-fiction book, which sometimes is way too preachy for a non-believer. I walked out of his classroom reeling.
The Holy Spirit had fingered a chord in my heart. I remembered that Jesus was the Master Storyteller and taught biblical truth through stories. Why had I been so arrogant as to believe telling stories was an inferior method of spreading the gospel?
About the same time I came across a published genealogy of my French Huguenot ancestors. This treasured leather-bound volume not only held the record of the lineage of our family, but the stories and journals of these brave and courageous people. The French Huguenots were followers of John Calvin, persecuted Protestants in 17th century Catholic France. They had previously been granted amnesty by Henry of Navarre, but because of ill advice from his counselors, King Louis XIV began to send dragoons to conscript Huguenots’ homes, kidnap their children, close their colleges and churches and submit them to unspeakable torture if they refused to convert to Catholicism. Hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled the country. Coupled with Louis’s obsessive building of Versailles, France just about went bankrupt because of the exodus. I wanted to tell their story, and I decided I would do so as historical fiction. As I began writing and submitting my chapters to my critique group, they enthusiastically encouraged me. They assured me fiction was definitely where I needed to be. The rest, as they say, is history. I procured an agent and a four-book contract with a major publisher.
What I learned in that initial fiction class has proven to be true—that a non-believer might be more amenable to picking up a novel than a Christian inspirational book. Recently I received word from a friend who lived and worked in France for a few years. A friend of hers, an atheist, saw one of my books on her coffee table. She picked it up and said, “What’s this? I need something to read.”
Our friend cautioned her. “Oh, a friend of mine wrote that and it’s really good, but you need to know that it’s Christian fiction.”
“That’s fine. It looks interesting.”
The fact that In The Shadow Of The Sun King was set in France was probably what initially prompted her to pick it up, but after finishing the book, her comment was, “Maybe there is something to this God thing.”
I watched an atheist professional safari guide from South Africa sit down in the den of our daughter’s home and read through In The Shadow of the Sun King in one day. He has since ordered the rest of the series for his mother. I receive emails on a regular basis of similar testimonies.
My profession is to tell stories. I am so blessed to write and just tell stories. I pray they in turn bless the readers and bring glory to God.
Golden Keyes Parsons is a popular retreat and conference speaker and author of historical novels. Her book, “In The Shadow Of The Sun King,” (Thomas Nelson Publishing), first in a three-book series based on her family genealogy, released Fall 2008, and was named a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Debut Author category. Her second book, “Prisoner Of Versailles,” was released September 2009 and was named a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Daphne contest and was also a finalist for the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association Golden Scroll Novel of the Year. The concluding book in the series, “Where Hearts Are Free” released September 2010 and is a Women of Faith Book Club selection. Her fourth novel, “His Steadfast Love,” a Civil War novel set in Texas, released November 2011 and was a finalist in the RWA’s National Readers Choice Awards for 2012.
Her next book, “Trapped! The Adulterous Woman,” Book #1 in her series, “Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women In The Gospels,” (WhiteFire Publishing) was released in October 2012.
Golden is an ordained minister, and she and her husband, Blaine, are retired from the pastorate and reside in Waco, TX. When she isn’t writing or speaking, she is busy with their three grown daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren or attending sporting and alumni events at Baylor University. You can contact Golden at her website at http://goldenkeyesparsons.com/.
Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of either of Golden’s books — The Shadow of the Sun King OR Trapped! The Adulterous Woman.