According to my "About Katelyn" author page, I have always been a storyteller, even if I haven't always wanted to acknowledge it. It's true, too, that my passion for creative writing took off in eighth grade after a history assignment which called for me to write a chapter with a cliffhanger. It's even true that I kept writing after that point only because I wanted to find out what happened next as much as my family did.
But as with any life story, there's much more to it than that.
I never started out to be an author. In fact, it wasn't until at least a year or two after I got hooked on writing that the idea of getting published even crossed my mind. I wrote purely for the simple joy of putting words together and breathing life into characters that never would have existed were it not for my imagination. My first ten or so stories were about anthropomorphic mice that lived in stumps, ate acorns, and battled foes such as hawks and rattlesnakes with basic tools like thistle spines and their own teeth.
Silly as it sounds, those "mouse stories" as I now refer to them, were a great training ground for my fledgling writing skills. They expanded my imagination, helped me figure out how to write myself out of corners I'd written myself into, learn to develop characters, and give them problems as well as solutions to overcome them by. Most of all, they helped me fall deeper and deeper in love with the craft, and scarce a day went by that I didn't sit myself down at the computer to write another chapter.
As beautiful as all that was, something was missing, even though I didn't realize it at first. I've been a Christian for most of my life, but there wasn't a drop of Christianity in any of the stories I wrote. I think God was letting me improve my skills during this time, but a couple years after I started I began to feel a nagging kind of guilt that I didn't write so-called "Christian" stories, even when I transitioned from animal characters to people.
So I tried. I wrote about a seventeen-year-old farmer's son named Finnegan Greenfield that, after a series of already bad situations turned worse by choices he made, found himself confronted by two Christian missionary's sons. After I introduced my faith the three-book series turned into a disaster, and it scared me away from trying it again for another couple years. I basically thought, "Well God, I tried, and it was awful. Guess I won't be doing that again."
I reasoned that, even though my characters weren't Christians, I was and my morals kept the books clean. That was good enough, right? Those thoughts kept me from trying again until early 2015, when I felt the tug in my spirit, this time stronger. I was on the path to getting my first eBook, Tè Nan Lezar published, and I argued with God when I realized what He wanted me to do. (And by the way, that's useless—He always wins).
I said, "Don't You remember what happened last time? It was a train wreck! You can't want me to try again, can You?" Every time I felt like I had to write a "Christian" book, I argued like this, but every time I turned around someone was mentioning using our gifts for God's glory. I thought, "God, You can't be serious. This is crazy. If I write this I'll drive people away, not closer to You."
But He was persistent, and the moment that was the last straw came one night when I attended my church's youth group and heard Jesus' parable about the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. I had heard that story a million times, and knew that "talents" meant "money," and had never thought of them as anything else. But that night I heard it differently, and realized it was God again telling me to use my gift to honor Him.
So I cried uncle. I said, "God, I don't know how this is going to work, but I'll give it another shot." That shot happened when I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015 and wrote Finding Hope. You want to talk about a free-fall? I'm the kind of person that looks when others leap and backs off saying, "Haha, nope." I had no idea how that book was going to work when I stepped out of that boat, but it did. He didn't let me fall—He caught me, and Finding Hope turned into the sweetest, most special time with the Lord I had ever had.
Call me naïve, but I thought worship was just the part that we sing on Sundays. It isn't. My gift is writing, and that's how I worship Him best, even though I still sing.
So that's my writing testimony, and I didn't tell it to you to come across as some self-righteous Bible-thumper. I told it to you because I remember reading somewhere that your story is the key to unlocking someone else's prison, and I can't be the only one that was scared witless thinking about introducing my faith into my writing. After all, writing is personal enough without that, too.
So what's your story? Has this helped you at all?
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!
Progress for round four of edits on Warriors of Aralan #9: