Years ago, during a period when I was getting rejection slip after rejection slip for my first book, one agent told me she thought she could get a publisher to bite it if I took all the religious stuff out of it. I have to admit, I thought about it for a second. But then I said, “Get thee behind me, Satan” and continued the search for an agent and publisher. (You can read about my tall stack of rejection slips under the “About Me.” tab above.)
Actually, Time and Again and the rest of the trilogy have only mild Christian themes. I did not imagine anyone but an atheist would find them objectionable. But for some readers even a mere two verses (as is the case in Time and Again) are just too much to be tolerated. Here’s a portion of what a reviewer said about the main character of Time and Again:
She’s CONSTANTLY quoting Bible verses. I can handle religion being woven into a story where appropriate, but this had a preachy quality that rubbed me the wrong way.
It was discouraging to get a review like that, because I promise that there are no spouting of Bible verses, no fiery preaching, and no using the Gospel as a club to bludgeon people with in any of my books.
Still, that sort of criticism is to be expected. But I hadn’t expected to get hit with “friendly fire” from fellow Christians.
One reviewer declared that my books weren’t really Christian fiction at all. One griped that I used the word ‘sexy’ in Time and Again (while saying nothing at all about the strong message of abstinence and other Christian principals in the story.) Another person dismissed the whole series as “occult” because of the time travel, even though the main point of that is to remind readers of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty over time.
At one point when writing Once Again, the first book in the Rewinding Time Series, I decided that I would tone down the Christian themes so as to make the books more accessible to the secular reader. But in spite of my best efforts, faith kept popping up. Near the end of the story, Merrideth’s conversation with her friend Brett suddenly took a turn I hadn’t seen coming:
I guess he forgot what Matthew five says about turning the other cheek,” Brett said dryly.“You know the Bible?” Merrideth asked.He frowned. “If you’re surprised by that, then I must be doing something wrong.”
And I had no idea Brett even was a Christian. His words actually inspired me to completely reverse my position, and that’s why the Rewinding Time Series has a stronger, not weaker, Gospel message than the original trilogy. Actually, the title for the series could have been The Redemption of Merrideth Randall.
In each novel she is presented with the truths of the Bible. For example, while watching Matthias present the Gospel to White Dove in Only One Way Home, Merrideth learns that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. (Now isn’t that politically incorrect!)
And in How Sweet the Sound , Trevor Dalton with his tattoos and Harley motorcycle witnesses to her by his actions. Every year when the Hellhound motorcycle club comes to town he risks life and limb to go into their campground to minister to them. And thus, Merrideth sees a Christian living out his faith. She asks Trevor why he goes in there. “Someone’s got to bring them the Gospel,” he said simply.
I release each book with a prayer that the biblical principles and messages woven into the story will touch the hearts of readers and not annoy them—unless the annoyance is a sign that they’re thinking hard about their own souls, in which case I hope they are very annoyed.
Thanks for sticking with me through all that. Now here’s your gift. For a limited time you can have Once Again, book 1 in the Rewinding Time Series, for FREE. Just click the button to download your copy.