Despite being on the shy side, anyone who knows me well will agree I’ve always been a talker. I’ve worked in call centers and actually enjoyed it. Crowds don’t bother me in the slightest and I’ve performed or spoken in front of some really big ones. I’m blessed to be able to read a room and an individual person easily and although I don’t like small talk (does anybody?), I can pull it off. Years of business meetings and client presentations have helped me hone my skills. But there’s one question that turns me into a tongue-tied ninny. “So, what are your books about?” I’m like a deer in the headlights every time. I stutter and fumble through it like even I don’t know what I write.
I should have an elevator pitch ready to go for these situations. If you haven’t heard of that before, an elevator pitch is just what it sounds like – a description of a project that can fit into the length of an elevator ride. Whether it’s for a product, a service, a new movie, the pitch needs to be enticing enough to get that person to ask for more information. Up to now, I haven’t had one. I knew I should, especially if I wanted to sell more books, but I couldn’t seem to get past a few problems.
First, I write romance and I know that some people will dismiss my writing right there. Romance is a huge category with millions of readers, but people who haven’t read it widely talk of it being ‘trashy’. Anyone who has ever written a romance knows that’s not true. What makes a fiction romance is if the plot is driven by the relationship of the main characters. That’s it. If a book is trashy, that’s on the writer, not the genre. The second reason I find it difficult to pitch my work is that I write Christian fiction and sadly, I always assumed there are some folks who will not read it because of that.
But I’ve been asking myself lately if I’m the one with the problem. Am I embarrassed by my writing? If not, then why am I always apologizing for it? “Oh, it’s Christian fiction, but it’s not preachy.” “It’s romance, but it’s not sappy.” I don’t even wait to see how the person I’m speaking to reacts; I offer that up before they’ve even had a chance to say a word. In the end, I’ve come to see that it’s my fear of rejection making me timid. And this fear of rejection has pride at its heart, not humility. It’s me wanting to be one of the cool kids and it’s sin, plain and simple.
Love assumes the best. This is a paraphrase of 1Corinthians 13:7, but it’s apt for the situation. I’ve been doing the exact opposite and it’s nasty. Thinking so little of others is far from loving or Christian. I’ve resolved that if I’m lucky enough to have someone express an interest in my work, I’m going to start assuming the best and represent it without any caveats. “I write Christian Romance set in small towns where people deal with life-sized struggles like addiction, abandonment, and infertility, and still find happy endings. I write every book hoping you turn the last page and feel like you went somewhere real and that you found something good there and that you can keep with you.”
The world needs Christian fiction because the world desperately needs Jesus. Christian fiction speaks the Truth to a world in pain. There’s nothing trite or trivial about fiction. It’s accessible, reaching people where they are. As a Christian author you’re using your God-given talents to advance the Kingdom whether you’re writing with a Christian audience in mind or a secular one. So, if you’re doubting your work, or maybe like me thinking too much of yourself, I hope you are encouraged to share your pitch honestly, no matter who is in the elevator with you.
Christa MacDonald began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. While at Gordon College she traded the sketchbooks for floppy discs, publishing short personal narratives in the literary journal The Idiom. After graduation and traveling cross-country she settled down to focus first on her career in operations management and then her growing family. When her children reached grade school Christa returned to her love of writing, finding the time between conference calls, dance lessons, and baseball games. This November Mountain Brook Ink will be publishing her first novel, The Broken Trail. When not at her desk working or writing, Christa can be found curled up in her favorite chair reading, out and about with her husband and kids, or in the garden. She lives with her family along the coast of Massachusetts in the converted barn they share with a dog and two formerly-feral cats.
As the new game warden in Sweet River, Alex Moretti is focused on enforcing Maine’s wildlife laws and little else. Moving from tragedy to a fresh start, all he wants is a way to fix his life in the tranquility of the north woods. Until he meets Annie Caldwell at Coffee by the Book. But his own bitter, dark life is a threat to Annie’s sweetness and light. It’s better for him to stay away.
Annie doesn’t know how to label her relationship with Alex, but she is determined to figure it out. After a few false starts and a kiss under the Christmas lights, their romance goes from fiction to fact. Annie has fallen hard. Then trouble shows up. Someone is stalking Alex, seeking to punish him for a mistake which ended in deadly consequences. When Annie becomes a target, he tries to push her away, but she won’t abandon him. Alex is desperate to keep Annie safe while he attempts to reconcile the past, but what he really needs is redemption. And she will risk her life to help him find it.