I don’t know about other writers, but for me, the journey from the inception of a book idea to an actual novel is at once fleeting and furious, enigmatic and concrete. For months–years, in fact–I become a slave to what is often the convoluted formation and exhausting (although beloved) revision of plot and character.
This has been no less true for my second novel, slated for publication (also by David C. Cook) in spring, 2015.
Readers of How Sweet the Sound have asked if my second book is a sequel, and (((sorry))), it’s not–at least not in the sense that I’m bringing back any aspect of that story, the characters, or the Alabama setting.
However, I do believe readers will find just as much–perhaps even more–hope and redemption, heart-rending characters, aspects of social justice, and a unique and captivating storyline.
I’m not going to reveal much about the plot of my second novel today, except to say that it’s set along the shores of Lake Michigan, and that it involves a jewelry designer, Nel Stewart, who must discover how decades-old secrets of her aging father’s past instersect with a lost and mysterious aquamarine, in time for them both to find the grace and forgiveness they’ve been longing for all their lives.
But wait–that picture doesn’t look much like Lake Michigan, does it? That’s because while set in the 1990’s, much of the story involves the plight of a boy who escaped pogrom-torn, Pale of Settlement Ukraine in the early 1900’s. An exceptionally tragic time in history often overshadowed by the Holocaust, as many (if not more) millions of Jews were brutally and mercilessly slaughtered during this time period. The much-adored musical, Fiddler on the Roof, lends a glimpse into shtetl life during this time, but many countries in the region forbade their citizens to even speak about the massacres, which lasted up until and throughout the Holocaust. In fact, many of the physical reminders such as Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in the regions are being unjustly erased and torn down even today.
My paternal ancestors were turn-of-the-century Ukraine immigrants along with hundreds of thousands of other courageous Jews who escaped these events. As such, I was inspired to write this novel.
Related to that, and as promised, today I’ll tell you the title of this upcoming book, which is…
…hold your breath…
…wait for it…
Then Sings My Soul: A Novel
Aside from being a line from one of my all-time favorite hymns and a nod to the use of a hymn line in the title of my first novel, How Great Thou Art was translated from Swedish to English (and more stanzas were added) by a man named Stuart Hine, who was, in fact, a missionary to Western Ukraine. According to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame,
Stuart K. Hine was born in 1899 in Great Britain. In much of Stuart’s earlier years he and his wife were missionaries in the Western Ukraine of Russia, where they evangelized as Christian workers and singers. In 1931, Stuart K. Hine and his wife returned to Britain and conducted gospel campaigns throughout Great Britain. During those years, Stuart published many song books and wrote many of his beloved gospel songs…Stuart retired from the active ministry but continued to publish his song books and his music and contributed the majority of his income to various missionary endeavors around the world…Stuart K. Hine’s most popular composition is “How Great Thou Art,” which is recognized in many polls as the number one Hymn in America…
One of my favorite recordings of the song is by Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill. Enjoy this incredibly rendition, and stay tuned for cover design and more as the weeks and months go by.
And before you go, it’d be so kind if you’d leave a comment below about what you think about this preview of my second novel!