I spent all of yesterday working on promoting my novels. I cleaned up and reconfigured Historical Fiction by Martha Kennedy so it doesn’t work or look like a “blog” but like a webpage. I set myself up on Goodreads — a site I really did not understand until yesterday. I got information about doing a blog tour and I have to think about that because $$$ is involved. In fact, most marketing of books involves money. I am a little surprised because that didn’t occur to me, that people make a living from publicizing other people’s work but, like, DUH.
As soon as I have a copy of The Brothers Path in hand, a good one that doesn’t have the Autumn of Adam and Eve, I’ll send it to the Hysterical Novel, I mean Historical Novel Society to see if I can get a review. If that DOES happen, then waaa-HOOO. I’ve posted on Twitter almost as if I 1) like Twitter and 2) use Twitter.
Publicizing a book could be a full time job. But it was good for me yesterday. I’ve been working on changing my body (no, I’m not changing my name to Martin) so I might not need knee surgery. Quixotic? Well, YEAH. But… The result is the occasional injury, sore muscle, confused IT Band. Whatever. I took a day off from that except a walk in the evening with Dusty and Bear.
My novel, Savior, has not been read much. I don’t know why because it’s good. It’s clean prose, it moves cleanly and clearly through it’s “arc” or whatever. But yesterday I got “paid” for all the work I did. At the end of the day, my Goodreads page all set up, I noticed that Savior had reviews! It’s currently in the hands of IndiBRAG to be read by reviewers and I am sure that the reviews came from a couple of the volunteers.
One of them was a balm on my spirit, a vindication of my effort and the kind of thing I want as a writer, probably more than I want fame. I do want fortune, but that’s only practicalities.
Savior is a story of a young man in the 13th century who suffers from what we would instantly recognize as depression. We would send him to the doctor and the doctor would give him PROZAC or something and he would be helped. While there is still a stigma attached to depression, it’s still much, much better than in the 13th century when depression was recognized as Satan attempting to steal a person’s soul. Depression was treated with exorcism and/or self-flagellation. The protagonist of my novel goes on Crusade because the Church had determined that anyone who dies in a fight for the True Cross will go to Heaven. Suicide being a heinous sin, the protagonist of my novel is actually seeking Holy suicide.
So yesterday on Goodreads I read a review by a young woman who “got” the book. And as I read it, I thought, “This is the real reason to write stories.”
When I started reading Savior, I expected a straightforward, action-filled story of the Crusades. And while this book is that, it is so much more. It’s also a journey of self-discovery, a story of spiritual awakening, and a tale of the power of love and family.
The book’s main character, Rudolf, struggles with depression. It had never occurred to me that depression existed back in the Middle Ages, but of course, it did. As with some churches today, mental illness was viewed as a sin. Having dealt with depression myself, it’s hard to imagine how difficult it would be to struggle with “the darkness”without any kind of support system like we have today.
After experiencing first hand the horrors of war, Rudolf meets a Maronite monk in the desert. The monk teaches him some powerful lessons such as where is God when we can’t find Him? What is truth and the perception of truth? Who is my neighbor? What if I think I know where I’m going and God changes the plan?
One of the most powerful lessons I learned from Youhanna, the monk in the story, was this:
If your heart beats in fear, look around to see if there is an enemy, if you see none, your body is telling you the enemy is inside. Heed it, and it will help you.
In the end, Rudolf discovers what is most important to him and becomes, in many ways, a different person, or at least a more mature one, than he was at the beginning of the story.
I highly recommend Savior for readers of historical fiction. In addition, those who appreciate a story of self-discovery with a Christian theme will enjoy this book immensely. Teressa Morris