Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Bumbling Angel

I was recently asked this question. Why do you believe readers will love your work?

Wow! Interesting question! Back in the day, I was struggling to understand my brand—my marketing tag. I asked a group of authors what I was known for and the overwhelming answers were, “Faith and Humor.” Bingo! That’s what I enjoy, and I believe my readers do too.  I write for the Christian audience, and I'm thankful my fans tell me they like what I offer. 

My new book,  a historical novel, Mattie’s Choice,  doesn’t have much humor but Mattie and her friend, Ella,  both live with a lot of faith. There were times during the Great Depression when faith was all they had. I sprinkled humor in the book too, but Mattie is more of a thought-provoking read. 

Mattie’s Choice is the first book I ever wrote, but it’s not the first one to be published.

Sarah: A Mission of Love has the honor of being my first published work. Sarah, a bumbling angel, is whimsical and fantasy. She’s also funny. God gifted me with a generous sense of humor, and Sarah makes my readers laugh out loud. My husband often hears me chuckle as I write of Sarah’s goofs and he says, “What’s Sarah done now?”

The idea of a dyslexic, bumbling, chaotic, angel came to me out of the blue. Or was it a God thing? I believe He had a lot to do with it. I relate to her blunders. My first year in Houston, I had nine wrecks. Yes, you read correctly. Nine. They weren’t funny at the time, well, some were.

One morning I drove my car into a body shop with the passenger side caved in. The man fixed it and returned it. A few weeks later, I wheeled my vehicle in a second time. Identical scenario—the passenger side crumpled again—the car appeared as it had in its previous condition. 

The manager scratched his head, “Ma’am, may I ask you a question?” 

I nodded.  

“Where did you learn to drive?” His eyes were the size of salad plates.

I sort of learned to drive after that. Until we moved from Houston, that is.

A few years after the body shop incidents, my husband was called as senior pastor to a Baptist Church in Central Texas. We’d been in the county seat town for two weeks when a group of people outside the town invited me to speak at a nightly Bible study. I wrote down the directions to the country location and left early. I’m always lost. I give myself time to make wrong turns. Or have wrecks.

In the heart of town, I read where I was to go left.

Uh-oh! You’re not gonna believe this, but as a brand-new citizen, right then and there, I stranded my car on a railroad track in the middle of that city. Yep. I did. Well, it was dark. Does that count? I thought it was a street when I signaled and turned. Boy! Was I surprised. It wasn’t a road at all—it was a choo-choo track.  

What was I to do? I drove forward, backward, nothing, nada, zip. I was stuck. I jumped out, left the car and ran to the nearby police station. I tried to be calm as I reported what I’d done. The officer was also calm when he said, “We could have a major fire if that coming engine plows into your car.” 

I bit my nails as I waited for him to notify train officials. I imagined the newspapers across the country with the headline. “Pastor’s Wife Burns Down Texas Town.”

While I waited, I did what most wives do, I called my husband. He didn’t say much. He’s used to it.

 An officer took me back to the scene of my almost crime. As we exited the patrol car, my husband, two additional police cars and a wrecker converged on the scene in chorus. My husband exited his car, gazed at mine, and then turned to the officer, “Sir, did you test her to see if she’d been drinking?”

I left him with the damages, hopped into his car, and made the meeting. I was late, but I got there. I was the talk of the town for days. I was just happy I wasn’t the toast of the town. Literally.

“Poopty doopty.” That’s one of Sarah’s favorite phrases. It’s a nicer phrase than a string of naughty expressions, don’t you think?  I use it often.

Many of Sarah’s incidents actually happened to me.

In Mattie’s Choice, a historical novel, many of the incidents occurred to family members. Authors write what we know. Sometimes the events are humorous, and sometimes they are sad. I don’t know the number of fans I have, but I believe they all enjoy Sarah. Mattie’s Choice is a serious offering from me. I think they will like it too. 

Faith and Humor. That’s me.

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