Confessions of a First-Time Author

Taken on August 1st. Left: how we appear on the outside; right: how we feel on the inside! 50 days ’til Saffron Cross!

Confession #1: Waiting is the hardest part?

In most circumstances, I’m terrible at waiting. I can’t keep secrets or surprises, and my impulse to share good news and do things now inhibits the higher virtue of patience. But in the case of Saffron Cross, 50 days until publication seems like a blink in the long process of traditional publishing. May we push it back, please? Perhaps ten more years when I feel I might be a competent writer and will have had the chance to revise five more drafts?

Alas, perfection is not an option. This book—like a baby—is coming, ready or not.

Confession #2: Book Baby

Fred and I don’t have children—but we consider parenting to be the most important (and toughest!) job this side of heaven. Our friends and family have compared Saffron Cross to our first child, as the journey of proposal pitching, drafting, and editing have all felt like a slow gestation.

While I don’t want to undermine anyone’s actual pregnancy or adoption process—I can imagine the similarities: a long path sprinkled with anxiety and joy. The creation process—whether it be a book, piece of art, child, or forever family–is a mystical experience full of love that unfolds moment by moment and out of the confines of control we so wish we had over it.

Confession #3: Dreams Do Come True!

The cheese you heard from inspirational speakers and dedicated teachers is true: dreams do come true.

Dana, 12, selected for the UNCG Young Writers' Program
Dana, age 12, dreaming of being a writer.

I have wanted to write a book since I began scribbling on preschool paper with those big, awkward pencils. Remember those? The thick ones with dark lead had to be sharpened every ten minutes.

For decades, I tried on different stories and experiences. But, hours of daydreaming, journaling, and Saturday nights spend at the now-extinct Border’s bookstore wouldn’t yield the story I yearned for and the world needed. It had to arrive.

Then, I met Fred and we discovered that there were no guidebooks on what it meant for a Baptist to marry a Hindu. And, as Buechner so eloquently reminds us, our calling is the sacred space of where our passion and what the world needs intersect.

The story arrived.

Confession #4: I’m Nervous

I confess that I don’t know how this is going to turn out.

Will anyone read Saffron Cross? If they do, will they like it? Will they find, somewhere among the 144 pages, a morsel of recognition and engagement–a sentence that resonates with them to the bone?

That is my prayer. I confess that Saffron Cross is our book baby, a snapshot of our Christian-Hindu life as it stands right now, and a story whose essence is God’s story and our commandment: “love one another.”

But, will I be a hot mess come October 1? Absolutely.

Book Tour

What will make me less crazy is to see you, hear your stories, and wonder with you. Readers are an integral part of this journey. Writers write books because we are the readers who love the mystical moment when words on a page stir our souls.

Fred and I hope you can attend a book tour event—get book and a hug—read happily and then let us know if you thought any differently about getting to know someone of another faith.

Yesterday, Fred and I kicked off the pre-book tour and shared Saffron Cross with the Foundry Fellowship Class at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. What a wonderful group! We’ll be there two more weeks, sharing discussing our interfaith journey: what works, what doesn’t, the juicy fights, the sex-free honeymoon, worshiping together, and what it means to be an interfaith family today. We’re looking forward to learning about how others see themselves connecting with people whose spiritual paths have been much different from their own.

Fred with the Rev. Sally G. Bates, Duke Divinity School Chaplain and lead teacher for the Foundry Fellowship Class at Edenton Street United Methodist Church.

Join us for an event! Don’t see one near you? Let’s schedule one!

Saffron Cross Book Tour, Fall 2013

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