“The world screams a terrible message at us: “You have no value unless you are successful as the world measures success!” Well, plug your ears and don’t listen because it’s a lie.”—Ann Tatlock.
Good Morning friends! We’re in for a real treat today as Author Ann Tatlock, shares her life’s calling to write both Christian fiction and non-fiction books. I had the privilege of meeting Ann at ChristianDevotions.us Boot Camp last year at the Cove in Ashville, NC. I know you will be blessed by Ann’s warm and gracious manner.
Ann Tatlock is the author of nine novels. Her newest novel, Travelers Rest, was released in May 2012 from Bethany House Publishers. Her previous novel, Promises to Keep, was a 2012 Christy Award winner and was named by Booklist Magazine as one of the top ten historical novels of the year. She has also authored a non-fiction eBook, Writing to a Post-Christian World. Ann enjoys teaching at various writers’ conferences throughout the year. She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband Bob and their daughter, Laura. Her website is www.anntatlock.com. You can find all Ann’s books at http://www.amazon.com
Welcome Ann! I am so grateful to have you as my guest today!
Q.Would you share a little about your background…where you were born and raised?
I was born in West Virginia but most of my growing up years were spent in a little-known state, that Small Wonder: Delaware. When I went off to college in Oklahoma, I was something of a wonder myself, it seems, because few people at the school had ever met anyone from Delaware. Fewer yet were even aware it was a state. I had a lovely childhood there, with a chemical-engineer dad, a stay-at-home mom, and two sisters who remain my best friends to this day.
Q. When did you feel the call to write?
My original plan for myself was to be a nurse (I still feel a tug toward medical missions). I had a friend in high school who wanted to be a novelist and I thought that the most ridiculous and impractical thing I’d ever heard. Imagine making a living as a writer! I didn’t take into account, of course, that books had been my passion since the first moment I could read and that I was constantly coming up with stories in my head and scribbling poems down on paper. I entered the nursing program when I started my freshman year of college, but by the end of the year I had dropped out of nursing and had hitched my wagon to the writing star instead. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Only God knows for sure.
Q. Is there a person that comes to mind that helped shape your thinking as far as being a writer?
I can’t think of one name…. instead, I realize I’m indebted to hundreds of names attached to the stories I’ve experienced over a lifetime of reading. I can remember as a young twenty-something, I was feeling particularly lonely one day when I walked into the library down the street. Several hours of browsing later, I went to the checkout line with a stack of books I could hardly carry. At that moment, I noticed I didn’t feel lonely anymore. My arms were full of friends. The voices in books are very real, sharing ideas, experiences, heartaches, truths, and triumphs. Some authors I agree with, others I don’t, but they have all influenced me in one way or another simply through our literary interaction.
Q. Why do you write Christian fiction?
Early on I thought I would be solely a writer of non-fiction. Why make up stories when there are so many fabulous true stories already out there? Eventually, though, I began to realize that fiction is a powerful vehicle for relaying the truths of the Bible because people are hard-wired to learn through stories—which is why Jesus taught so often in parables. I write stories to entertain, but also want to leave readers thinking about biblical concepts such as forgiveness, mercy, redemption, hope and restoration.
Q. What prompted you to write the book “Writing To A Post-Christian World”?
A man named Eddie Jones, who published the book! I had been teaching at writer’s conferences for several years on this topic, and Eddie asked me to put some of the material together for a small eBook. He knows the topic is my passion and he believes as I do, that people need to be aware of what it means to be living in a post-Christian culture.
Q. Would you give us a definition of the phrase “Post-Christian World”?
In using the term “Post-Christian” in the title, we’re actually talking about “postmodern.” The gist of postmodernism is this: There are no absolutes. Where once the Bible was considered to be the standard for absolute truth, this is no longer the case. We each have to decide what truth is for ourselves, according to our experiences and desires. Hence, the postmodern mantras: “What’s true for me is true for me and what’s true for you is true for you,” and “It’s doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.”
Q. What does it mean to write from a Biblical worldview?
There are numerous worldview questions, but the three main ones are: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? If your answers to these questions align with the teachings of Scripture, then you have a biblical worldview. You believe that God created us in his image, that we are here to serve and glorify him, and that ultimately we will be with him in his kingdom. In other words, you believe that what the Bible teaches really is true, and that it explains the world in which we live while giving us glimpses of the world to come. If your writing reflects these beliefs, you’re writing from a biblical worldview.
Q. I was intrigued by your thoughts on the chapter titled, “Actually, No Paths Lead to God.” Could you explain what you mean by that?
It’s common for people to talk about finding their path to God. In our postmodern culture, that could mean anything. Any path will do because they all end up on God’s doorstep anyway.
Of course, this isn’t true. Our means for reaching God isn’t through anything we might do, any rituals we might perform or any paths we might travel. We can be united with God only through the Person of Jesus Christ, whose atoning death on the cross, made it possible for us to be forgiven and redeemed. So rather than a path for us to follow, God provided a Person for us to believe in and to put our faith in for salvation.
Q. Ann, I also appreciated your thoughts in the chapter titled, “What is Reality?” You wrote about God’s One Grand Story and how people need to know how their individual story fits into and is part of the larger story. Could you elaborate on these thoughts for us?
Do you remember the line from the old Burt Bacharach song: “What’s it all about, Alfie?” That’s the big question, one we’ve been asking since the beginning of the world. People want to know the reason for being alive. We want to believe that our lives have meaning.
Over the centuries, people have come up with plenty of answers, some hopeful, others completely devoid of hope. As Christians, though, we believe that God didn’t leave it up to us to figure it all out. Instead, he revealed through Jesus and through Scripture exactly why we’re here and what his purposes are for us. God is the author of the story that we all play a part in, and when we know that, we are assured that our lives have eternal meaning.
Q. What advice would you give for someone aspiring to write a Christian novel?
Rule #1. Read good Christian fiction. Read, read, read! Read the kinds of books you want to write.
Rule #2. If at all possible, attend a Christian writers conference. Not only will you learn the craft of writing, but you’ll connect with editors, agents, publishers and fellow writers, and all those connections are invaluable as you endeavor to get recognized and be published.
Q. Ann, what advice would you give for those like myself, who love to write or blog inspirational devotions and poetry, but don’t necessarily have a “passion” to publish a book?
My advice would be: “Have at it!” Do what God has called you to do, and enjoy! Not all writers have to publish books. The internet has opened up all sorts of wonderful opportunities for sharing the Gospel message through blogs, websites, on-line publications….even through social media like Facebook. However God wants you to speak out for truth, do it with gusto!
Q. What word of encouragement would you like to leave with us?
The world screams a terrible message at us: “You have no value unless you are successful as the world measures success!” Well, plug your ears and don’t listen because it’s a lie. No matter how accomplished, powerful, or important a person might appear, it all pales in comparison to what we as God’s children will be once we’re in his presence. We don’t even know what that is—and can’t imagine it–because we haven’t seen or experienced it yet: “Beloved….it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” 1 John 3:2. We are destined for glory, not because of anything we can do, but because of what Jesus has done for us.
Ann, Thank you so much for sharing this time with us. May the Lord bless you!
Check out http://christiandevotions.us/ for more information on Writers Advance Boot Camp 2013.