Some of the tried and true advice out there in the world is “write what you know.”
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how much I believe in that as a statement, although I can make a case that what I don’t know, I can learn, and then I can write about it. And I do that. I think all writers are also good Googlers. (And other forms of research, of course, but man, I’m glad I write in the age of the Internet and search engines.)
That said, I have one series that is definitely based largely on my own life experience. It’s not one I tend to do a lot with, or talk about. Probably because it’s based so largely on my own experience. Some of the writing was cathartic. Some was fueled by a desire to help others understand even a glimmer of what it’s like. And the rest was because the story wouldn’t leave me alone, no matter how hard I tried to tell the characters to hush.
I don’t often mention my Remnants series here because I consider it women’s fiction. But Robin Merrill’s post last week about “married romance” — and the comments on that post — made me realize that maybe these books deserve a mention over here now and again after all.
Because for all that they’re women’s fiction, they are definitely also about struggling marriages, reconciliation, and restoration.
Oh, and also infertility.
Because, at least in my world, there is nothing that has challenged my marriage as much as our years of actively working to start a family. It’s the worse, the sickness, and the poorer of a couple’s marriage vows all rolled into one.
In Faith Departed, book one of the series, we meet twin sisters June and July (pronounced Julie). Both are married. Both are young professionals (as are their hubbies) and both are established enough in their lives that they’re ready to start a family.
And both are having trouble.
June can’t get pregnant. July can’t stay that way.
It’s hard, for both of them. And for their husbands. And so the couples are struggling to remember that they’re a team and that there was a reason they got married in the first place.
In Hope Deferred, book 2, the tears in their marriages are brought into the stark, harsh light. They’re looking for answers.
And they’re not finding any.
And they’re not seeing God in the midst of their pain.
And they’re living out the verse, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” without remembering that God is the only one who can fulfill their longings (Proverbs 13:12).
Finally, in Love Defined (book 3), both couples return to God and return to one another. There are happy endings – although those happy endings don’t look the way either couple pictured them at the start of the series.
Isn’t that so often the way our lives go though? Proverbs again (16:9), “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Sometimes, we have to take a long, hard look at our definitions of things in order to see where we are wrong and where God’s definitions truly are best. So often, we define love as romance. As tingly feelings and swoony kisses. And oh boy, I’m all about tingly feelings and swoony kisses! But that’s not all love is.
Marriage is where love puts on tire treads and goes off roading.
And that’s definitely what happens in these books.
As an author, I want to assure you that each book ends with a satisfying and happy-ish ending. No cliffhangers. And no brink of despair (although there are reviewers who complain that June is whiny. And maybe she is. I know when I was dealing with infertility, I was definitely whiny. And angry. And shaking my fist at God practically daring Him to come down and explain Himself to my face.)
So if you’re one who’s all about the “married romance,” maybe this series is for you!
Best of all? Book one, Faith Departed, is free through the 13th (and the series is in Kindle Unlimited if you’re a subscriber as well.)
Do you have a Bible verse that you turn to over and over when things get hard? I’d love for you to share it in the comments and how it speaks to you!