Cynthia Middlebrooks Harris is both an ordained minister and an author African-American Christian romance. Today she joins us to discuss the challenges she faces combining these two parts of her life. Learn more about Cynthia and her books at her website and blog.
Doing What Feels Right
Christian authors are sometimes challenged with our choice of genre or content. Isn’t it amazing how others have the uncanny ability to pinpoint your strengths as a writer, and often strongly suggest the type of material they’re prophetically sure you should produce? We find ourselves, at times, yielding to the demand of others.
When I felt the urging from God to write fiction, moreover, Christian Romance Fiction, I instantly resisted. It wasn’t because I disagreed with the command from the Almighty. I cringed at the thought of the backlash I was destined to receive from my fellow ministers, and receive it, I did! “Why are you wasting your God-given talent on fiction? … With all your knowledge of the Bible, you chose fiction. And romance at that! … And just how do you suppose writing fiction will advance the kingdom of God? … You’ve grossly missed what God would have you to do… I can’t believe you are going to write that garbage… You’ll lose credibility as a minister of the gospel.”
Yet, I knew my imagination was a gift from God, early in my childhood. I spent the majority of my pre-teen years living inside of an imaginary world. No matter where I was or what I found myself doing, words were forever in my head. Soon, after many trials, tribulations, failures, and successes, Christianity and my imagination collided, and I emerged as a Christian Romance author. Christian or not, most everyone loves a good romance or drama novel.
Have you ever sat in church on Sunday morning, only to leave disappointed because you had no idea how to apply to your life what you just heard? Most often, the message is delivered as a prime cut of filet mignon, when instead, all you were capable of digesting at the time, was a hamburger. Inside, you scream, “Will someone please give me a simple answer to this Christian walk of life!”
I trusted God and followed his omniscient lead. Moreover, it just plain felt right! Through fiction writing, I dared to believe that marriages would be mended. I had a hope that young girls straddling the fence would choose to remain virtuous until their wedding nights. I prayed they would get the understanding that the jewels of the treasure box they have on lockdown should be opened only by the one who possesses the master key.
It was also my desire that men would be challenged to rise to the occasion of the divine mandate of “mighty men of valor.” They will begin to become the heads of their homes and lead their wives and children after the manner laid out by God’s original design. They will begin to minister to their wives instead of choosing to throw caution and vows to the wind, going outside of the marriage bed at the first sign that the grass in their lawn has been overgrown with a few brown spots. They will begin to understand how devastated and lost their wives felt when they chose another over them.
I chose to dance to the beat of the drum that resonated deep within my spirit. The rhythm of my heart is exposed in this series. I could have chosen to fall in line with the instruction to use my “gift” to write nonfiction. If so, I would have missed a vast majority of the people who would never have chosen to pick up or open a bible. Some Christian authors fail in the task of writing a book that non-Christians will ever desire to read. I could have chosen, and written along the lines of the vast “Christian way of living” novels currently in print. The ones that often list seven ways to spirit living, five principles of the spirit-led man or battling the demons within. (These are not real titles. At least not to my knowledge. They are merely titles suggested as subjects for imagery, to drive home the point). And, the point is; if they have the word “Christian,” or “spirit living.” Some people will never open the cover even to view the first page. The reason, of course, they feel defeated, out-cast and substandard, in the title alone.
The Other Side of Through
All Things Work Together, Book 1
Tragedy has struck Talinda Travis’ perfect world. A harsh reality has overshadowed the one thing she waited not so patiently on for a lifetime. The man of prophecy, handpicked by God just for her, lay dying in her arms at the hands of a mad man. How could this possibly be the right division of God’s word that says, ‘All things work together for the good?’ Talinda would come to understand her husband’s favorite quote that “Ministry is Always Required.” She finds herself in a place she thought she would never be at such a young age… a grieving widow. The woman she’d kept at arm’s length for most of her life would prove to be her most valuable asset as she fights to stay afloat emotionally.
Meanwhile, Nevette Naythia Goodfellow appears to be living the dream life with her newlywed husband, Derrick Justice Goodfellow II. She’s in total bliss and awe of God as she indulges in His most powerful gift on earth... love! While Nevette is living inside her fairy tale, her closest friend Lindsay has perfected the art of masking a devastating secret. One that, if it were exposed, would threaten the spiritual stability of the small town where she spent most of her childhood.
Every God-given emotion you have within will surface as you journey into Talinda and Nevette’s world in this riveting series. You will sigh with dreamy eyes…laugh out loud…cry and want to explode with revenge as you travel to The Other Side of Through with Talinda and Nevette!