When I’m at a book event, I always warn readers that I write mystery and suspense under the Christian Fiction genre. That’s right somewhere in my books, often within the first chapter or so, there’s a dead body. I’m not into the graphical stuff, but I do push my characters to the edge of their emotions as they try to figure out “whodunnit.”
The funny thing was in the back of my mind I’ve always thought I would write a book, but I never imagined it would be a fiction. I have always loved devouring a good mystery, suspense or thriller, but my writing tended to be nonfiction, in the form of articles, devotions and bible studies.
At the beginning of 2006 I sensed I had reached a crossroads and I asked God for a new direction creatively. You see I live and breathe creativity. I get bored easily and in all honesty, being creative is an escape for me. It may have been a few days later, but characters showed up in my mind. The concept wasn’t foreign to me, as a child, and then as teenager I loved making up stories. I liked seeing reactions to my stories from my parents, teachers and other students. But like a lot of us as we grow older, I buried the joy of storytelling.
So my journey towards becoming a Christian Fiction author began the moment I started writing When Rain Falls in 2006. I completed it around 2008 and even paid to get the manuscript edited. Then, the rug was pulled out from under me in 2009 with a divorce. It’s crazy, but that year started out with the anticipation of seeking a literary agent, and ended with my manuscript and my dreams catching dust. I wanted to put the past decade of my life behind me, so the workaholic side of me took over. I escaped into a fierce and ambitious workload. As I worked into the late hours of the night, I pushed aside the fact that my household had drastically changed.
But in 2010, something stirred deeply in my spirit. I picked up the almost forgotten manuscript for When Rain Falls and I re-read it. As I read how Candace grieved her deceased husband, I realized I had been grieving in a very different way. When I saw how Candace’s daughter, Rachel, lashed out in anger after losing her dad, I recognized myself. I wouldn’t admit it out loud to anyone, but I was angry and hurt. God woke me up and reminded me He had plans for me despite the fact I had grown sullen. The story ministered to me.
I didn’t know where the funds were coming from, but I made a decision to attend the Faith and Fiction Retreat hosted by Tiffany L. Warren. It was the first time pitch sessions were offered to writers. On the day of the pitch, I sat in front of four editors with my heart on my sleeve and talked about the story that had been apart of my life since 2006. It took a few months to hear back from anyone. There were two rejections, but in December 2010 I received an answer to a prayer from Urban Christian.
I have since written the three books in the Victory Gospel Series and I’m thrilled about the spin-off. The first book in the Serena Manchester Series, Hostile Eyewitness, will be released March 31, 2015. My work with a traditional publisher has given me the confidence to branch out into the world of independent publishing. While most authors won’t admit to a favorite character, it’s such a joy to write the character, Eugeena Patterson. I truly want to be her in many ways when I get to my retirement years… well, I don’t want to be stumbling over dead bodies, but I love her spunk. Plus her budding romance with Amos Jones gives me hope that maybe one day I will cross that line and fall in love again.
Speaking of spunk! The #BlackChristianReads group rock! I have read books by most of these authors and have been a fan long before being published myself. It’s such an honor to be included.
I consider it a privilege to write Christian Fiction. In fact while I specialize in writing whodunnits, I hope by the time you finish reading any of our books that you are saying, “Won’t He Do It?”
Check out my literary endeavors at TyoraMoody.com.