The Story Behind the Story

Hello!  I’m Angela Benson.  Thank you for visiting with us today here at Black Christian Reads. I’m excited to have you join me and my sister authors as we celebrate Christian and inspirational fiction that features African-American characters.

This group is truly an answer to prayer.  I have long yearned to come together with like-minded women who are seeking God’s will in, and for, their writing.  I’m especially grateful for the initiative of Tiffany L. Warren and Rhonda McKnight, who brought the ten of us together; and the technical know-how of Tyora Moody, who turned our dreams of an online community into a reality that exceeded our expectations.

I have been writing Christian fiction since 2000 when Tyndale House published Awakening Mercy, the first book in my Genesis House contemporary romance series. Many people think a Christian romance is just a traditional romance without the explicit sex scenes, but there is more to a Christian romance than the presence or absence of sex scenes.  As my Tyndale editor explained to me, a traditional romance focuses on the relationship between the hero and heroine, while a Christian romance focuses on the relationship between the hero and heroine and their relationships with God.  So Awakening Mercy was my first attempt at showing God at work in a romantic relationship.  Since I came to Christian fiction after writing seven traditional romances, I consider Awakening Mercy my redemption book.

If Awakening Mercy is my redemption book, then Bands of Gold, the first book I wrote, is my TMPI (too much personal information) book.  Many of the issues and circumstances faced by Christina Marshall, the heroine in Bands of Gold, were taken directly from my life.  In fact, Christina was so like me that my cousin thought a secret about Christina’s birth was also a secret about my birth!  That was a clear indicator that I had included too much personal information.  While my characters continue to be a reflection of me and my experiences, I have not written another one as close to me as Christina.

Delilah’s Daughters, my most recent novel, is my recovery book.  I started writing it before I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and I finished it in 2013 after I was in recovery.  That book had a long and rocky road to publication and there were times when I wasn’t sure I would finish it.  But God is good, my publisher and editor were gracious, and the results have been a blessing to me, and I hope, to readers.  I was amaze to learn that Delilah’s Daughters had been recognized by the Library Journal and Romantic Times Magazine as one of the best books of 2014.  Given all the challenges I faced while writing the book, awards were the last thing on my mind.  Thank God that His mind is not limited like mine.

Bands of Gold, Awakening Mercy and Delilah’s Daughters, like all of my stories, are set in the South.  That’s because I know the South.  I’m an Alabama native currently living in Tuscaloosa, where I work as a professor at The University of Alabama.  (Roll Tide, all you football fans!)  I share my life journey there with my wonderful husband of almost six years, George.  I’ll tell you more about him and our life together in next month’s post.

I invite you to spend some time this month getting to know more about me, my books and my sister authors here at Black Christian Reads.  If you have the time, please leave a comment and let me know if you’re an old friend who has read one or more of my books or a new friend who’s meeting me for the first time.  And don’t forget to enter our contest for a chance to win a couple of great prizes.

Thanks for visiting.  We hope you come back often.

Until next month,

Angela

12 Replies to “The Story Behind the Story”

  1. Angela – Thank you for blazing a trail for many of us. I was working in a bookstore when Bands of Gold was released. I remember pulling that book out of the box and seeing characters that looked like me. I was thrilled. I followed you by email, and on your online forum, and would have followed you on the street if I knew where to find you.

    When you announced your first book with Tyndale, I was thrilled again, because there you were blazing a another trail and writing about characters that didn’t just look like me, but now they thought like me and loved God like me. It was a blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us. It’s an honor and a privilege to have you be a part of Black Christian Reads.

    1. Gosh, Rhonda, thank you for all your support over the years. I think you just made me feel old, old, old. It’s good that old is now the new young. 🙂 Isn’t it wonderful that we’re blazing another trail with Black Christian Reads. I’m excited about where God will lead.

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