For me, this book is important. Not because it's got my name on the cover (been there, done that) or because I might get some money from it (writing doesn't pay well) but because, for the first time, I've written a book which has a job to do. This book isn't just for entertainment, it has a message. Not to put too fine a point on it, I want this book to change the world.
I was happy to oblige, although I did give up halfway through due to finding myself without the necessary experience to write certain scenes. Fortunately an evangelical Christian friend who is also an author was happy to come in as co-author, write the scenes I couldn't, and ensure that the book was fair, unbiased and factually correct from the evangelical perspective. And now the book is finished and we're very pleased with it.
So, as I said, this book has a purpose. Several purposes in fact.
- I want it to educate mainstream Christians about what "Mormonism" actually is, and what it isn't, and what day-to-day life as a Mormon is like. About the Mormon spiritual experience, and how it feels to be a Mormon, especially one under attack.
- I want to educate Mormons about evangelical Christians. I want to show that not all of them think that we're evil cultists, and that we often know very little about them.
- I want to show that some people who call themselves Christians, on both sides of the divide, really don't behave like it. That there is good and bad in all churches, primarily because there are good and bad people in all churches.
- I want to show all readers that arguments, conflict and insults achieve nothing good. On the contrary, they destroy families and drive away those who might be interested in coming to know Christ and those who are new and uncertain in the gospel.
- I want to start an honest and friendly dialogue between Mormons and Evangelicals about the many issues raised in the book. (I've set up a Facebook page for that purpose.)
- I want it to help the real Jeannie and Harley, and other families like them, to come to terms with their differences and learn to accept each other's religious choices.
- I want readers to be entertained and to enjoy reading a well-written and interesting novel with characters they care about. (Okay, so this one has been a purpose for every book I've written.)
So apologies for the shameless plug, but I hope you'll look out for this book on Amazon from next week. The Saved Saint by Hellen Riebold and Anna Jones Buttimore. And do let me know if it fulfils any one of these goals for you.