You may have noticed that I’m all about community. Community with you. Community with each other. Life can be pretty dull without other people.
As I’ve seen the posts from my friends who had a brainstorming retreat a couple weekends ago, I had to smile. They were living in the community they created years ago, and we are all the beneficiaries as we read the fantastic books they brainstorm and develop in that home year after year.
In a couple weeks, I’ll be in Nashville for ACFW, another place where I find writing community.
But a couple nights ago I got to experience the benefits of community when I wasn’t necessarily looking for it. You see Tricia Goyer are collaborating on our third novel and first novella for a Guidepost cozy mystery series, Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries. Tricia and I have known each other for years, and we’ve worked on different projects — whether it was me completing surveys for some of her non-fiction books, brainstorming, collaborating on Where Treetops Glisten with the amazing Sarah Sundin, or these books, we’ve had a lot of fun.
I called last night just to touchbase with her and see how she was doing.
It was the middle of dinner on a Wednesday night in her crazy, busy household. She’d just gotten home from five days at the aforementioned retreat.
As we chatted, I mentioned I didn’t more than a shadow of a hero for my next book. The legal suspense that’s due to my publisher in January. I hadn’t panicked yet, but I was getting close. Tricia said, “I’ll call you back in five minutes and we’ll brainstorm.”
I smiled. “That would be awesome.” But she’s busy. I know how crazy, insane she is. She makes me look downright unproductive!
Five minutes later my phone rang. Thirty minutes later I had the hero fleshed out, plot layers, and passion for the story!
I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. When Beyond Justice reaches readers, you might need ten minutes to read the acknowledgments section. Moving into legal romantic suspense was a big stretch — a natural stretch — but it was a crazy, hard process. But I didn’t walk it alone. I had help at key moments from so many people, I pray I don’t forget anyone!
Life is meant to be lived that way. One moment I’m helping someone. The next minute I’m accepting help from someone else. This is how God created us to live.
So while it might be early to say I’ve written great books, I do know that almost all truly great books have a story of community behind them.