David Meigs is an emerging novelist whose fresh voice challenges the limits of Christian fiction. His background in youth outreach spans across thirty years and three continents. Having overcome severe dysfunction in his own life, he specializes in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though loved by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family live in Seabeck, Washington, where he serves his church as youth pastor.
A Life Changed Through Fiction
Teens may unconsciously develop values as they follow the exploits of the courageous hero or heroine
As a writer and youth minister, I have often marveled at how Jesus used parables to portray the vital truths of the Kingdom of God. Following the Lord’s example, ministers use this powerful tool every Sunday from pulpits around the world. We fiction writers wield the same power for changing lives in the word pictures we paint.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of introducing hundreds of teens and their families to Jesus. I especially enjoy watching their lives change, week by week, as I tell them stories that illustrate one simple truth after another, block upon block, until I see the light of understanding flicker in their eyes. The truth shall set you free.
The same principles apply in Christian novels. In well-written fiction, readers find themselves immersed in the story and the characters, who often come to feel like old friends. A marriage occurs between the reader’s heart and the writer’s imagination: an impact upon the reader that can last a lifetime.
A reader struggling with unforgiveness might find the key that unlocks his or her heart through the struggles of a beloved character. Teens may unconsciously develop values as they follow the exploits of the courageous hero or heroine. It doesn’t matter if the story is about a swashbuckling sea captain fighting pirates on the high sea or an astronaut navigating the farthest regions of uncharted space; the potential for changing lives applies.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had thirty-two years ago with a then-unpublished Frank Peretti. He spoke with great passion that the body of Christ needed to embrace the arts to impact culture and to create highly entertaining, life-changing novels and movies that reached real people where they lived. I tip my hat to Frank for a job well-done. In many ways, the success of This Present Darkness was pivotal in opening the doors for us all.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t yet read Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins, you might want to stop reading here. However, I’m not giving too much away—only a snippet about one of the
characters. Perhaps it might even entice you to pick up a copy for yourself. I highly recommend it.
Brandilyn Collins is famous for her lovable characters and no-holds-barred suspense. A couple of years ago, I had just finished an advance reader copy of Violet Dawn and was quite moved by the protagonist, a young woman named Paige, who was on the run from her past. After years on the move, Paige finally found a place in rural Idaho where she thought she might at last make a home.
Then one night as she relaxed in the hot tub, she discovered a body next to her under the water. Paige did what any of us would do—she panicked! She couldn’t call the police because her past would catch up to her. Her efforts to conceal the truth set in motion a series of events that went from bad to worse.
A few days after I finished the book, the Lord began dealing with my heart. He wanted me to tell Paige’s story to my youth group that week. As I sometimes do, I argued, but, thankfully, the Lord won out. That night at youth group, I noticed a girl who rarely attended. She seemed very troubled.
“Pastor Dave, my mother’s dying,” she said, then proceeded to tell us how years of addiction to crystal meth had destroyed her mother’s liver. It occurred to me how much her life paralleled that of Paige’s. I shared about Paige’s past, her struggles to find happiness, and the way her life had tumbled down around her.
I watched the face of this young girl as she closely identified with the life story of this fictional character. When it came time to make a decision for Christ, her hand shot up. God met her in a powerful way, and He used a fictional character to bridge the gap to her heart. I wonder if the Lord had this girl on His mind when He nurtured the author’s imagination as she wrote.
My hat is off to Brandilyn Collins, for writing the kind of gritty, hang-on-to-your-seat suspense that changes lives. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Violet Dawn, I highly recommend it and all her books—but don’t forget to breathe. . .
Violet Dawn is the first book in the delightfully suspenseful Kanner Lake Series (Zondervan), followed by Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, and Amber Moon. The series even inspired its own fan fiction blog, SCENES & BEANS, where the fictional characters actually write the blog. It’s a whole lot of fun. Don’t forget to visit the author’s Web site, BRANDILYNCOLLINS.COM as well as her highly popular blog FORENSICS & FAITH.