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Tearing Down Statues–In Defiance of Censorship

I believe writing historical fiction should mean being as reflective of the times as possible…NOT the current times

Or do you disagree?

Here in the South, we’ve lately had a spate of disgruntled, politically correct folks demanding that every city, small town, village or crossroads with a Confederate statue yank it down. “It’s offensive,” they say. “It’s glorifying slavery,” they say. “They’re statues of racists,” they say. 

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The statue in my small town of Pittsboro, NC

 While I’m not going to get into a debate about the wrong or the right of removing hundred-plus-year-old statues, the argument, in general, disturbs me for one very big reason: WHO should be the arbiter of what makes HISTORY offensive and therefore powerful enough to erase it? Once we start erasing things, where do we stop? 

I had a reader leave me a nasty review a few years back because I had characters (in a novel set in the 1870s) refer to Native Americans as Indians. And a few of the characters tossed out some of the labels commonly used to describe Native Americans at the time–such as squaw, Red Man, etc. None of this was gratuitous–it was historically accurate. But that one reader has kept me wondering ever since about censorship. If/when will it finally hit Christian books, magazines, movies, etc.?

As you would expect from me, my newest book, A Destiny in Defiance (releasing Nov 1) pulls no punches. Specifically, I cover the politically incorrect but historically accurate discussion of abortion. Haven’t you ever wondered what soiled doves did when they got “in the family way”? Some of my characters will deal with the very sticky subject firsthand.

Anyway, if revisionist historians start removing monuments, I don’t see anything stopping them from burning books next. What do you think?

So, till next time, happy fall, y’all, and pay attention to the history around you! It may not be there tomorrow…

The Lady Behind A Lady in Defiance–My Sister

Life is messy and gritty. People can be simply awful, totally unlovable.  And God loves us anyway. These were the things going through my mind when I started writing A Lady in Defiance. One of the main characters is based on my sister Suzy’s life. Suzy went through a lot. Overcame even more. A beautiful, victorious woman of God who inspires me every day–even twenty years after her death.

If you’ve never read the Foreword to A Lady in Defiance, I wish you would. If you need a lift today, a hug from God, a little inspiration–it’s there. Read on and be blessed:

They say truth is stranger than fiction. I prefer to say that truth is more miraculous. What we as authors can make up in our own heads doesn’t compare to what the greatest Writer of all can do. Take for example the story that inspires my character of Hannah:

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Suzy at 14

 

 In the early 70′s, my family used to drive up from Florida to camp in the mountains. In the summer of ’73, we discovered a beautiful, sleepy, small town in Western North Carolina. My sister also discovered a boy there—her soul mate, really, but who would have believed that? The following summer we moved from Florida to this town and, not long after, my sister Suzy announced she was pregnant…at the tender age of 15.

I cannot repeat the things my mother said to my sister. Sadly, while my sister forgave her years later, I don’t think my mother ever forgave herself. Certainly, my father and most of the locals weren’t much kinder. Florida trash. Floozy. Slut…you name it, they said it. I can still hear my mom’s high-pitched, screechy voice as she screamed hysterically at Suzy.

My sister was pushed by both families to have an abortion and she agreed. How could she refuse? After all, it was pretty clear this would “ruin her life,” and there was “no future for an unwed mother,” especially since she would “never claw her way out of poverty.” With prophecies like that, abortion was a godsend. In the doctor’s office, however, Suzy changed her mind and said she couldn’t go through with it. The phone rang and it was the father of the child; he didn’t want Suzy to go through with it, either, but he still wouldn’t marry her.

Suzy went instead to a half-way house in Alexandria, Virginia to have the baby and give him up for adoption. A month before she was due to deliver, the father of the baby finally stood up to his father and told him he loved Suzy and was going to Virginia to get her. Suzy told me years later that this boy had asked her to marry him much earlier . . . on their first date! They were simply meant to be.

The two teenagers were married and God’s plan unfolded for their lives. She and her husband gave their hearts to the Lord and went on to have two more children. Suzy matured into a mighty, spirit-filled woman of God, finished her GED, earned a degree as an R.N., and became a licensed minister in the Church of God, all while raising children and helping her husband farm. She was a popular speaker at women’s conferences, went on mission trips and also worked as a Hospice nurse for over two years. During that time, Suzy led many people to the Lord, some literally from their death beds.

No one who met my sister was immune to her infectious smile, vivacious personality, gentle faith, and graceful ways. The love of Christ literally shined from this woman like a beacon on a hill.

When breast cancer claimed Suzy in 1999, over 800 people attended her funeral. In a town that twenty-five years earlier had spurned her, affection poured out. The funeral was standing-room only; former patients wrote good-byes in the local newspaper; people we hadn’t seen in years called with condolences.

Suzy is not only the inspiration behind my character of Hannah, but her story is the reason I know God can take the grimmest, most hopeless situation and show us the beauty in it. Profound, miraculous happy endings are possible when we “let go and let God.”

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The picture Suzy used on her minister cards

 If you are the mother of a pregnant teenage daughter, I pray you will think before you speak and then speak with love. If you are the daughter, please don’t abort that baby. Give God a chance to do what He does best—bring beauty from ashes. He loves you; He loves that child you’re carrying. Trust Him to work it out.

~~~~~~

 

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If you’d like to read A Lady in Defiance, it’s on sale all month for only .99 and is available in audio as well!

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