When Alice told me that she recently finished reading her first Christian fiction book ...EVER... and that it was LIFE CHANGING...I had to bring her to the Alley. If any of you are like me at all, the question **does fiction really has impacts on lives?** has crossed your mind at least once on this journey. Alice's perspective as a new reader of fiction, secured my confidence that, without a doubt, the impact of fiction is HUGE. Notice the underlined parts below...these are wonderful nuggets from my friend!
ME: What types of books do you usually read?
Alice: Christian self-help/psychology
ME: How did a fiction account impress on your heart unlike a non-fiction book?
Alice: I was able to enter into the character's role. At times, I was able to step into not just one character's role, but other characters roles as well. Through fiction life stories I experience a life situational experience that I may have also experienced to some degree. In that, I may be able to walk through the situation with the healing that the character had the courage to take which I may not have been able to do in my own life. Fiction gave me the chance to do that. This happened to me while reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, in the same way it happens while watching inspiring movies. Just as the character shows ability to tap into certain emotions, the reader gets the chance to take on the same courage, strength or the forgiveness, grace, love and acceptance.
ME: What spurred you on to consider the story as application in your life?
Alice: My mentor suggested the book to me. I was hesitant as I felt fiction was not as effective as Christian psychology, but now I believe, it actually can be more effective, because your heart and mind are engaged in it to a greater degree then Christian self-help.
Psychologists claim that a person cannot change with mind or intellect alone, but that there has to be a heart or an emotional experience as well, to create that heart change. Psychologists say there has to be an emotional experience and intellectual knowledge to truly be able to change a person's way of thinking or behavior. That is why the book is always better then the movie, because the reader has to put their creative mind to use while reading, (which comes from the heart), to imagine the situation. Thus the reader feels the book more so then the viewer feels the movie. The book takes the reader to a deeper level, to their creative and/or personal heart level, not just the intellectual level. Therefore, I believe fictional writing can be a powerful tool or may I say, more powerful tool.
ME: What overall truths resonated with you as you read?
Alice: Forgiveness. The character was able to go to a level of unforgiveness that I have not been able to do for a decade. While reading Redeeming Love, a scene that I entered into as a reader, opened my heart and mind to my own hard- heartedness. It was so ugly, it made me want to change. I cried my eyes out and wept aloud and released it up to Christ.
ME: Can you share another personal change this made on your life?
Alice: It has healed a very huge part of my life. It has healed my anger issue, and changed me as a wife and mother. More grace abounds in me now as a person and to others, my family, and mostly to myself. I am acting differently, my expectations are no longer too high, and I am living more from my heart.
Wow. This is every author's dream review...right? Alice's words have confirmed my calling one more time, and now I will choose to remember her words whenever I wonder...whenever I forget to look up and give God the reigns on why in the world I am writing "this one"!
Whether you write Romantic Comedy, Historical Fiction, or Young Adult sci-fi, your stories are gateways to a reader's heart. God is creative in His avenues to change hearts, and never forget that this calling to write will not be wasted by His Almighty!
I hope this encouraged you as much as it encouraged me. Alice's first fiction read was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers...a very popular read, indeed!
Do you have any books that have resonated truth in your life? I would love to see how much variety in genre we can get!
Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.