Because the Book Itself is Not the Goal

Here's the most touching email I've received about my new novel in the last few weeks:

A woman who works against human trafficking (aka slavery in the twenty-first century) told me that Sweeter than Birdsong had encouraged her, because it depicts a great victory for nineteenth-century abolitionists.

I told a friend about this email during the book launch last week and I couldn't keep tears from coming to my eyes.

One of my greatest hopes for my novels is that they will encourage people to work in ministries for the oppressed, imprisoned, and brokenhearted. Inspiring historical figures like the heroes of Sweeter than Birdsong fought for those without a voice, and that battle still resonates today with millions in various forms of slavery around the world.

Getting an email like that is really the fulfillment of my dream. It's not about being published--publication would mean nothing if the story were not worthwhile. My dearest hopes about publishing are about what good might come from the truth in the story I tell.

This month, on February 26th, over 4000 churches will celebrate Freedom Sunday by remembering those enslaved by human trafficking. If you'd like, you can sign up, and maybe offer a prayer at your own church on that day. To find out more, go to this site from Not for Sale and the Underground Church Network.

How do you hope your work might affect readers?