“Jesus was a man of His generation. He was not a man of the previous generation.”
Dr. Bunsen the new pastor of Squarespire Baptist Church, in A Year with the Harrisons, has just arrived to a large congregation that includes the title family. He is a sincerely religious man. Despite appearances otherwise, I never intend for you to think he’s not sincere. He might be a bit aggressive, but sometimes religious people are. I know from the inside that they care passionately about their culture. They don’t view themselves as marginalized, but as proudly independent.
Dr. Bunsen’s sermon isn’t funny because his beliefs are being mocked—it’s because he’s SO sincere that he’s getting a little out of hand and firing bullets at the congregation without getting to know them first. His wife, Mrs. Bunsen, has the same strong feelings when she talks to the music minister about instituting a band. (Actually, it’s not hard to imagine Mrs. Bunsen with an actual rifle.) But though she might seem a little hostile at first, Mrs. Bunsen is a loyal and devoted mother and a good friend to people she agrees with. If you’re her friend—probably in that case you have the exact same thoughts about music—you can trust her absolutely, and that’s a great quality as opposed to duplicity. In this aspect, at least, the Bunsens really are living out the Christian message.
At the end we still don’t get to know the Bunsens or many people in the church very well, as the Harrisons decide to go to another church. But we do know they are go-getters. If there’s an old abandoned grocery store, before you know it they’ll turn it into another little Bunsen church like their old one at Rocky Creek. And in a world where Christians are often shown as shy and self-conscious (people would rather say you had a bar mitzvah than that you were baptized!), I wanted to show something more realistic. Church people can be FIERCE.
And there will be more updates.
Jane Austen. There's nothing quite like her. She continues to inspire us all these years later. This Valentines Day, myself and a few authors came together to bring a special sale and giveaway.
Twelve books are on sale for $2.99 or less. Books like Tracking Ruby and Water Princess and Fire Prince, feature characters who adore and quote Jane Austen's stories. Most of the books take the beloved classics and retell them in a new setting. Each book is perfect for those who want a little touch of Jane Austen and romance for this Valentines Day.
An author's participation in this giveaway does not mean they endorse all the books included. While all books are considered clean, they may not reflect the values of the other authors.
In Consuela, there are a few characters that are still a bit Dickensian and the funny thing is that Mr. and Mrs. Liesel are even though they didn’t come out of the book. Liesel is (incredibly loosely) based off of a character called Mrs. Leo Hunter. She was a woman who was obsessed with writing as having a celebrity status, did hobby writing herself, and constantly sought out famous people. This woman, like Liesel, was married to a husband Dickens viewed as very silly. (Although I think Mr. Liesel is actually even sillier and basically strains credibility.) And like Mrs. Leo Hunter, Mr. and Mrs Liesel are totally random characters.
There are always some totally random people poking up at the edge of books, like dust in corners that escaped the vacuum cleaner. Readers shouldn’t even bother to feel they’re honestly annoying, because that’s the POINT of random characters. Random characters like Liesel and Mr. Liesel (he’s never even given a name of his own, how absurd!) are there to be ignored. For instance, during the times they are prominent in Consuela, readers—and Miss Plummer—should be thinking about the other social situations in the story. Why do Miss Plummer’s supposed old friends seem not to like her anymore? What’s really going on in the politics of this country? Why does that Nesya guy HOUND a harmless old woman and keep telling her he hates the EC?
During times when readers can be thinking about situations that have just happened, Mr. and Mrs. Liesel fill up space so there’s no content occurring in the plot right now. If you want to look at something else, they’re doing their job! Oh, and it’s true Mr. Liesel doesn’t have a name. Maybe I should invent one. Hugh. He looks like a Hugh to me.
And there will be more updates.
Every heroine in my books has a girl she knows closely. This girl is in a lot of scenes and is neither in the background or the forefront—she’s just there. I think that’s an important character, actually, for tying the whole story together. And the one I’m talking about today is Crissy from Ryan and Essie.
This story has always had a powerful hold on my imagination and its hold on other people must be equally powerful, perhaps more so. Crissy tells us a lot about Caricanus, the book’s setting. It’s a place the kids don’t know anything about and it doesn’t really look it, but it’s dangerous. Even at the end, they don’t know quite how dangerous it is, since they only deal with one aspect of it in a typical kid’s fantasy plot. But something else in Caricanus is always there.
Crissy is a Diante—a plant-person. She is attached to a plant stalk and grows out of the ground, though she leaves the plant to travel with Essie. Essie doesn’t respect her needs and takes her to a cold place where she dies. This might seem tragic—and her long-time friend Prince Alavtar is pretty cut up about it—but Crissy is a part of the planet and will return to it. Anything sad in her death will go back into the planet with her. And if any part of her is angry, that will also become part of Caricanus for the future.
Nature is always shown as powerful. In Caricanus, Nature can take on human forms and human thoughts, like Crissy. Essie is reassured that Crissy isn’t truly dead—she’s just continuing somewhere else. But maybe that’s not so reassuring. Eventually, she’ll figure out what Crissy still being here is all about.
And there will be more updates.
I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.