Monday, September 22, 2008

My Current Project

I suppose it is natural, but when I start on a writing project, I am hesitant to tell anyone about it. When you have a great concept, you don’t want someone to copy it and beat you to the punch. That is somewhat silly on my part because good writers are perfectly capable of coming up with their own ideas. Even if one did take the idea, it is unlikely that their vision for it would be anything like mine. Nevertheless, with me nearing the end of my work in progress, it is easier for me to talk about it.

Imagine this, an English teacher lives out the life of Hosea. As you should recall, Hosea married Gomer. She may have been a prostitute. At the very least, she appears to have been the child of a prostitute. She had two children by Hosea and one we aren’t real sure whether it was his or not since the child was named “Not My People,” but Hosea claimed the child as his own by naming him. For whatever reason, Gomer leaves Hosea for other men. Even then, Hosea provides for her and tries to bring her back. The time comes that Gomer is sold into slavery and Hosea buys her back for her to be his wife once more.

You may be aware that other authors have written books based around Hosea before. Perhaps the most popular is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. There are some significant differences between her book and mine. First, I felt that it was important to focus almost exclusively on the male character’s story rather than the female has she has done. While it can be interesting to consider why a woman would leave a husband who loves her and go to men who don’t, Hosea is really telling us the story of a God who refuses to give up on Israel when they want nothing to do with him.

Second, my version is not a romance. My version focuses on the inner struggle of the main character in fighting for his wife when she has turned her back on him. I know God didn’t have that inner struggle, but I would imagine that Hosea questioned God many times about what God wanted him to do.

I chose to set my version in modern times rather than in the nineteenth century. In part, this is because it had to fit in the series, but it also adds some realness to the story. Nineteenth century prostitution has a picturesque quality to it because it brings to mind Westerns. Today, people see prostitutes as dirty women who wear more makeup than clothes. It also makes people sit up and ask “you mean there is still slavery in America?” to which we must answer in the affirmative.

Redeeming Love is significantly longer than my own version. It also begins with significantly more back-story. Back-story is generally considered a bad thing to put at the beginning of a book. Francine Rivers has more fans than I have, so she can afford to do that while I am forced to try to grab my readers by the lapel on page one and not let go until the last word of the final chapter.

While both versions had to take some creative license with the biblical account, I feel that my version is more true to the biblical account. In Redeeming Love, it is believed that the female character is unable to have children. I suppose this is to make it more amazing that her husband would want her. It also gives her a reason to run away, since she wants him to marry someone who can give him children. In the Bible, Gomer had three children before she ran off, so the English teacher hero in my version has three children who are just as confused as he is about why their mother would leave. One of the things that fascinate me about Hosea is that he supported Gomer through her lovers. I do not recall seeing that in Redeeming Love. In my version, it is there.

As I said, I took some creative license too. In my version, the woman’s grandmother runs an escort service. That isn’t in the Bible. I also kill off her father who is in jail for sexually assaulting one of her friends. That isn’t in the Bible either.

Do the differences make my version better or worse than Redeeming Love? I will leave that for you to decide, but I’m not sure if it is a fair comparison. Even though they are both loosely based on the same historical event, they are two different stories. Redeeming Love, like all romances, is about the two characters learning to love each other. My version, which I expect to call For the Love of a Devil is about a man fighting to protect the woman he loves. Be sure to check back here for availability or subscribe to the Atom Feed so you will know when my version is available.