Today I welcome Ann Tatlock, author of ten novels, to my blog.
When asked what she is trying to do through her writings, she replied, “Tell the truth. I’m trying to tell the truth not as I might happen to perceive it, but as the Bible reveals it. Fiction—telling a story that isn’t true—is an excellent vehicle for talking about what IS true.”
Her book Promises To Keep was a Christy Award winner in 2012.
Her latest book, Sweet Mercy, is set during the time of prohibition, gangsters, bootleggers, and Alcapone. In that tumultuous summer of 1931,the owners of a lodge offer Eve Marryat and her destitute family a place to live. She later discovers it is a liquor transport station. Does she obey the law and turn the people in who have shown her family a great kindness? “Things are not always black and white,” Ann says, “not for Eve and not for us either.”
Some Things Never Change
by Ann Tatlock
Sometimes, I can scarcely believe all that’s changed in the almost 30 years since I wrote my first novel. I wasn’t published until 1998, but when I started writing fiction in 1985 I penned my first drafts by hand on cheap unlined paper. I had a computer, but I didn’t dare entrust my ideas to a machine, especially one that might randomly gobble up my work and refuse to spit it back out.
To research my novels, I’d go to the library to gather up books and read old magazines. Books were generally found after a good hour of ruffling through dozens of typewritten cards in the catalog files. The magazines were preserved in bound copies, a dozen or so issues in each weighty volume, kept in storage in the lower regions of the library’s basement.
Also as part of my research, I interviewed people over the phone, our voices traveling through a coiled wire that disappeared into the wall, since cordless phones were in their infancy and, much like the computer, I didn’t trust them either. How on earth would our voices reach one another without traveling through a wire?
Once I completed the handwritten copy of my novel, I’d type it into the computer. Then I’d print off a few chapters and mail them to publishers via the U.S. postal service. Once a novel was accepted, I’d send off the entire manuscript in a box. After publication, the book was promoted largely through print media.
If 30 years ago someone had told me I’d be promoting my books by Tweeting about them, I’d have pictured myself a big-headed yellow canary singing annoying songs to Sylvester the cat.
And yet it has happened! Technology exploded and everything changed. Which means today I dare to write on my computer (with Carbonite to back me up), do much of my research on the Internet, send my books off via email, and promote those books through all the various means of social media. I have even recently begun to tweet.
I marvel because these changes didn’t come about over the course of my lifetime, but over the course of my adulthood. Though I’m not yet a senior citizen, my life began in a world in which all phones were rotary dial, many televisions were still black-and white only, and hardly a home had so much as a microwave oven.
Such incredible change over such a brief span of time!
And yet, one constant remains. The reason I began writing novels 30 years ago is the reason I write today. I do it to glorify our unchanging Lord, to speak of his goodness and grace, to show his perfect love at work in a perfectly broken world. I want to offer hope and to help make sense of these lives of ours that too often appear to be senseless and even cruel. I want my readers to come to the end of one of my stories more at peace with themselves, with their lives and with God than they were when they started.
Jesus was himself a fiction writer who poured out God’s truths in parables. The unchanging desire of my heart is to do the same.
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