David Meigs is a novelist with a background in youth outreach, specializing in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though his writing is enjoyed by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family lives in Seabeck, Washington, where he serves his church as youth pastor.
Edgy Inspirational Fiction
This month I am pleased to bring you our very own edgy, Editor in Chief, Michelle Sutton. In our interview, Michelle shares about everything from her daily writing rituals to her secrets for packing that life-changing quality into her novels.
Author Bio: Also known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, Michelle Sutton reads a lot of books and writes reviews for a variety of blogs and Web sites as a media reviewer. Along with reviewing fantastic Christian fiction, Michelle has written nine novels in a variety of genres (YA, Women’s fiction and romance for starters.) She sold her first book, It’s Not About Me and the second in the series, It’s Not About Him, to Sheaf House, a new CBA/ABA publisher taking fresh voices in fiction. Michelle is the mother of two teenagers and has a husband of eighteen years. She also serves on the ACFW Operating Board, is the Marketing Director for Sheaf House, is Editor in Chief of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and is a social worker by trade, hence the edgy content in the fiction she writes.
About the Book: As a youth minister and novelist, I have long admired the way our Lord used parables to illustrate truth with life-changing results. It’s Not About Me (Sheaf House), by Michelle Sutton, is far more than just a highly entertaining story; it is also a modern day parable, illustrating the unwavering faithfulness of Christ-centered, sacrificial love.
David: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Michelle: Never had the desire until August of 2003. Loved reading, though. Always have.
David: What does your typical daily writing ritual look like?
Michelle: There is no typical writing ritual for me, let alone a daily one. I always read my e-mail and I always have something to do with either my own edits or the online magazine, which takes up a lot of my time.
David: Do you have a targeted word quota for each day? Do you ever struggle to attain it? What is the most you have ever written in a day?
Michelle: LOL! Never have, but I managed to write nine novels in less than four years. The most I have written in a day is around 10,000 words, I think, or three chapters. I can’t recall, but it was a lot.
David: I was moved by how redemption, reconciliation, and forgiveness came together as the central theme of It’s Not About Me. How did you come up with the story and your delightful characters? Is there a little of Michelle in there somewhere?
Michelle: Redemption, reconciliation, and forgiveness is the heart of who Christ is. If I didn’t write with those themes imbedded in the story, then it’s not reflecting Christ’s heart, IMHO. So that’s why they are a central theme in everything I write. If Christ is in me (or you), then He just comes out in different ways. For me that happens most in my writing and through friendships. The only thing based on an event that happened in someone’s life I know is the attack on Annie. The rest is pure fiction. I do know a lot of people like Annie, Dan, Tony, and Susie from my past, so the characterization was a piece of cake. However, my younger days were not so good. I wasn’t saved until I was eighteen, and prior to that, things were not nice in my life. But it makes great fodder for a novel now.
David: How much, and in what ways, is God involved in your creative process?
Michelle: I truly listen to the intuitive voice inside me that tells me what to write and where to go. Every scene and every theme must build the story toward the reconciliation. I write the characters as they really are and let them feel the full impact of every decision. I truly feel that God has called me to write stories that pull people in and allow them to live vicariously through the character so they can learn the same lessons but without actually “going there” themselves. That’s my hope anyway.
David: What do you consider are the most important elements in creating a story that changes lives?
Michelle: There has to be take away value and a deeper understanding of some truth or principal in our lives. When I read a book, I want to learn something from it and have it touch my heart and make me want to be more like Jesus. If a story doesn’t do that for me then I feel like I wasted my time. It may be a good story, but I want more. I want to think and reflect on my life, so I write fiction with that in mind.
David: How much and in what ways has your experience as a social worker shaped your stories?
Michelle: I’ve seem so much ugly stuff in life that if I were to pen even a tenth of it, people would not be able to handle it—child abuse being the worst, of course. I guess that is why I have a heart for the walking wounded in need of healing. There has to be something they can read in my stories that they can relate to because I am trying to reach the lost and not just the people in churches, though some of them are lost, too. In every story I write there is a theme regarding love that shows how Christians who act like Christ wants us to can make an impact in a good way, and how when we don’t act like He wants us to it can actually push people away from faith. People need to start loving the unlovely, and I’m writing stories that show how they can do just that. How? Christ can redeem even someone you love to hate. But despite their outward behavior that angers you as a reader, in my stories you will get to know what drives their actions and hopefully that will help you to love people who act that way instead of pushing away from them or kicking them when they are down.
David: Can you give us a peek into your next book?
Hehehe. It’s a deep one that will hopefully drag you through the full
range of emotions and lead you to a conclusion by story’s end that
everyone has different experiences that shape their decisions and to
respect those experiences and love them anyway. I also show how love
does the right thing even if it hurts you in the process. Love suffers
long, yanno? But without telling you so much you don’t need to read the
book I’ll tell you about the external and internal conflicts, okay?
Jeff and Susie are both fairly new Christians of about a year in the
faith, so they are still learning. Jeff has great mentors but he also
has weaknesses. He has issues with being adopted and has a strong
desire to know his birth mother. He also had a drinking problem before
he came to Christ. Susie had a child with no identifiable father
because she never knew who impregnated her at the party. She chose not to abort, but she
also has no money, no job, and only has a home
because the adoptive mother is letting her live in her condo for free.
She places her baby after birth with the adoptive parents despite
Jeff’s continual pleading to let him marry her so she can keep her
baby. Then Susie starts seeing faces that look irritatingly familiar
and she wonders who raped her at the party and who might be the baby’s
father. And if that father found out she had a baby and placed it,
would they want to take her baby from the adoptive parents and ruin the
adoption? And did she really get raped or did she willingly participate
but just blacked out so she has no memory of that night?
David: Do you have any parting advice for aspiring inspirational authors?
Michelle: Write the book of your heart, learn the craft, and be true to yourself.