I love #ThrowbackThursdays on Facebook. I love looking at photos of big hair and bell bottoms. I love noting changes in my friends and in my kids. (They were such cute babies!) Likewise, I enjoy taking time to look back and see how my writing has changed. More than that, I like to replay how God showed up, meeting me as I worked.
When I was researching for my novel, Arms of Deliverance, one of the autobiographies I read was by a man who was a B-17 bomber pilot over Europe. He was also an American volunteer for the Spanish Civil War. I had never heard of this war before, which happened right before WWII in Spain. I started researching and I was soon fascinated. Some people call it “The First Round of WWII” because that’s where the Nazis first tried their hand at modern warfare.
For this series I dove into the lives of an American artist, a few International volunteers, a Basque priest, and a German pilot. I first researched the real people and then the plot for my novel began to take shape.
Amazingly, I was able to interview veterans from The Spanish Civil War. They were in their 90s! I mostly communicated with them through email, since many of them lived overseas. One man, who was very helpful, passed away while I was writing A Valley of Betrayal. Yet, he was very excited that I was writing about his experiences. I also received help from many researchers and historians and I bought every book I can find on the Spanish Civil War. (My bookshelves are sagging!)
This book was very challenging because I knew nothing about The Spanish Civil War before I started. Yet, I felt sure that God was leading me to write these books and once again, God taught me to trust Him. When He gives me an idea for a novel it is so big. I mean there is so much to pull together. Yet, God has shown me time and time again that He is faithful. He gives me ideas, leads me to the right research books, and even brings people into my life to help me!
While writing this series, I was really struggling with one of my characters, a Nazi pilot who flew planes over Spain during the Spanish Civil War. There were only 100 such pilots, and very little information about the airmen and their planes. How in the world was I going to get the information I needed? I had no idea, but I prayed.
Around that time, a man named Norm Goyer contacted me. He was working on his family tree, and he wanted to know if we were related. Even though I was under deadline, I did my best to track down the information that Norm needed from my in-laws.
We weren’t related, but as I chatted with Norm I discovered that he was an airplane expert and consultant for movies! Norm ended up helping me with research on my German pilot in Spain. He not only knew about the rare aircraft, Norm had flown one! What an awesome gift from God! This showed me again that whatever God brings before me, He also has the power to help me succeed.
A Valley of Betrayal was followed by A Shadow of Treason and A Whisper of Freedom. All the books follow the same characters and the same storyline. In fact, Book #2 begins the same day as Book #1 leaves off! The plot thickens, of course, and the stakes get higher with each book.
I’ve written over thirty books since then and every time I’m asked how God is involved in my writing, I can’t help but think of how God brought me Norm.
We all need a #ThrowbackThursday (or even Wednesday!) to remember God’s goodness. How has He showed up in your life? What miracles has He performed?