I have stories and voices and ideas at work in my head constantly. That's how it feels to be a writer. It might start in a Sunday sermon or on a train ride to Chicago. The thoughts can be an avalanche leading to a whole book or a trickle that ends up as a prayer or a short story in a journal.
A writer writes...all the time. On napkins, on magazine covers, in the notes app on a phone, on a notepad beside the bed (this one's good for recording dreams). I find scraps of paper in the bottom of my purse, post-it notes on cabinet doors, and important thoughts scrawled and left as a bookmark. For me, writing is the easy part. The problem is in the compilation because organizing written material takes the most work. Time is needed, patience too...then add in a supportive family, and I have the ingredients needed to follow one tale to completion.
My bucket list is a tad shorter now because I recently crossed "write a book" off the list. The singular thought that became Stained Like Glass was birthed in my mind eight years ago, and the book has given words to one of the voices in my head. I don't mean to make myself sound crazy, because I'm probably not...it's just the only way to describe what it feels like to speak words for a person who doesn't actually exist. This is the essence of writing fiction.
Stained Like Glass is a story about a teenage girl named Kady who experiences a life somewhat typical of a modern era teenager, but her story is universal too. Although Stained Like Glass lies within the YA (young adult) genre, it could also easily fall into several other Fiction categories: contemporary, coming-of-age, Christian, and chick lit.
Stained Like Glass has it all. Mystery. Life-changing Decisions. Loss of friendships. A mysterious pregnancy. Parent/Child Relationships. Choices. A Struggle with Faith. Bullying. Injustice. Even a Little Romance. Kady's journey is told in first person narrative, and minus a glimpse found in a few notes, hers is the only POV (point of view) the reader hears. Stained Like Glass has an uncommon format in that it's Kady's dated memoir where she chronicles her thoughts and feelings as well as the events of her senior year. In the beginning of Kady's last year of high school, we find her heartbroken after her boyfriend's betrayal. Socially, Kady is a popular star athlete, but her life spirals downward when her health fails...when she finds out she's pregnant with no recollection of how she got that way. Then, after ridicule from her friends, judgement from her church, and a shunning from her Christian school, Kady doubts her faith. She feels isolated, heart-broken, and misunderstood. There are so many twists and turns in the book, but things begin to look up for Kady when anonymous letters of encouragement from a mysterious Messenger remind her that she's God's masterpiece.
As I ponder how the book will be received, I have to admit that I really don't know. I promise there will be at least one spot in this book that will push a button for each reader. Stained Like Glass pushes my buttons too. If the book becomes nothing else, it will be a great place from which to launch discussion and healthy debate. The book is told through Kady's lens of Christianity and touches at least briefly on social topics such as music, clothes, profanity, underage drinking, consumption of alcohol in general, premarital sex, adoption, God's sovereignty, date rape, denominations of Christianity, abortion, authentic faith, and homosexuality.
An abundance of emotionally charged moments fill the pages of Stained Like Glass. I seem to cry in a different spot every time I read it. Each memoir entry is titled; some are a few sentences in length while other entries cover several pages. Some of the emotional hurdles Kady faces are impossible...like when she faces the school board members as they expel her or when she finds out her initial prognosis from the doctor. Kady faces tough decisions about her pregnancy, and some of her own family members reject her. Choice and free will are thematic throughout Stained Like Glass, and these themes play out as Kady contemplates God...also when she chooses what to wear, who to have relationships with, and who will adopt her baby. In addition to a minor character's beautiful redemption, Kady herself chooses to forgive the unforgivable wrong done to her.
I personally love Kady's story because there is something new and different to mull over every time the book is read. I suspect more time will be spent thinking about Kady's life than actually reading the words. Stained Like Glass was written to make you think...and to semi-force you to contemplate--if not decide--what it is you believe.
I hope you enjoy Stained Like Glass, and I look forward to answering questions and fielding commentary about the book.
Stained Like Glass is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle (digital copy). If you live near me, I'll personally have copies of the book on September 9th and would love to deliver it to you personally. Just let me know.
In the near future, I will endeavor to write discussion questions for each chapter which will help those of you who are using Stained Like Glass in your book groups.
Thank you so much for the support! God bless you...Kari