“Kelsey huddled in the corner, tried to make herself invisible. Outside, she heard a muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps across the porch. Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The lock turned. The door opened. And her last chance for escape melted like snow.”
–Robin Patchen, award winning author of Finding Amanda and Convenient Lies.
What better way to finish up the Spring Suspense blog series than with a free book? My guest today is Robin Patchen. Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Patchen to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story. And she has written a fun blog for us today:
Who wants to be normal?
Normal people witness an event or live through a trial and see it for what it is. Storytellers—who are far from normal people, whatever that means—see those things differently. We see them as sparks that can grow into the flames of stories.
What’s interesting is that a hundred writers could witness the exact same event and come up with a hundred different stories. Imagine you’re at an airport and witness man hugging a woman good-bye. They hug as if they’ll never see each other again, yet she’s carrying an overnight bag.
A bunch of bored novelists watch the scene, and each comes up with a different story:
- The romance writer sees a tragic love story.
- The literary fiction writer sees a woman leaving the love of her life to return to her husband.
- The fantasy author sees a woman departing for a portal to another world.
- The horror writer imagines a severed head in the woman’s carry-on.
- The suspense writer sees a woman on the run from people who want her dead.
I’ve always been in that last camp. Sure, I see romance, too. My brain will even dip into the severed-head department, but I always close that door fast. (I might imagine it, but I could never write it.) I always go to the suspense plot. I don’t know why. I don’t know what it says about me, a fluffy middle-aged suburban white woman, that I see danger around every corner. But those are the stories that come to me.
My latest release, Innocent Lies, started with an image. I don’t know where it came from, but the image was that of a little boy lost in the snowy woods of New Hampshire. The rest of the story came together from that one image. There was the woman who would do anything to protect her son, even if it meant losing him forever. There was the police detective who found the boy in his backyard in the middle of nowhere. And there was the villain who wanted what he thought was his and was willing to kill to get it.
Somehow, that adorable little boy in the woods led me to a long, complex plot filled with danger and intrigue.
What’s amazing is that, for the Christian author, each kind of story—romance, women’s fiction, fantasy, horror, suspense, and any other genre you can think of—can carry the truth of God’s word. God speaks through every life situation. He’s in tragedy and grief and laughter and joy. He’s in historical sagas and futuristic epics. He’s in rags-to-riches stories, down-on-your-luck stories, and every story in between. There is no plot where God cannot, if invited, play a part, because there is no human experience that exists apart from God.
There was a time that I believed that only certain kinds of stories could truly honor Him. That some storylines might be entertaining, but they couldn’t point the world to Truth. I believed that the suspense stories that always filled my head might be fun, but they couldn’t really reflect God’s glory the way another story could. Don’t ask me why I believed that. Now it sounds like a lie straight from the enemy. Because it’s not a plot that glorifies God, it’s the characters walking through that plot, searching for God, living out their faith. That’s where we find Him.
I hope readers see God in the pages of my stories. I hope readers can see my faith beyond the words.
In any event, I admit to being a not-so-normal person. If I can tell stories that reflect God’s glory, then I’m proud to be a storyteller.
I love this, Robin! Especially this line, “God speaks through every life situation.” How true! Thanks so much for your insights today. For readers, Robin has offered a free download of her book, Convenient Lies, as a thank you for simply signing up to receive her newsletter. Thank you, Robin!
Robin’s most recent novel, Innocent Lies, is available now!
A lost little boy steals his heart.
When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he’s survived the wintery New Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel’s drama will be over. He uldn’t be more wrong.
She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.
Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she’s arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.
The past catches up with them.
Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart…again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she’s ever loved…again?
Buy Innocent Lies today.
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Robin. I will see you readers next week, hopefully each day, with blogs from the Philippines!