What Writing Books Means to Me: Joanna Davidson Politano, Author of "Finding Lady Enderly"
I sort of became an author by accident. I mean, I did try to become published for a while, but I stopped when I started having babies and no nibbles came from publishers. Yet something still drove me to write during naptimes, just for fun. I simply made up stories that combined all my favorite things in the exact way I felt like writing them, because no one was ever going to read them anyway. But if you’ve read my published books, you’re reading the very stories I never meant to show anyone.
So what drove me to write? I sat down at an old table in my quiet basement during my daughter’s naptimes because writing was the most vibrant way I knew for me, being who I am, to connect with God. It doesn’t replace Scripture and prayer by any means, but “stories” are the language God and I speak. It’s how we untangle all those complex questions and frustrations I have, putting them in clear focus in a plotline on the page.
Stories are amazing like that, aren’t they? Somehow even the simplest tales put an immediate picture into our heads of very deep and important concept, like the depth of God’s love for us (Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers), true sacrifice and the scars we carry (Lady and the Lionheart, Joanne Bishof) or finding beauty and God in the midst of despair (The Hidden Masterpiece series, Kristy Cambron).
We leave those books with more than a fun storyline in our heads and great waffly sigh at the happy ending—we have a sense of something deeper, a clearer picture of some of life’s complexities. They clarify an image or a concept that echoes even after we return the book to the library or set it aside for another. I suppose I could gallantly claim to write so that I can give others great insight into life and God, but I don’t. In reality, I write so I can understand things I otherwise have trouble grasping well.
While writing A Rumored Fortune, I really struggled with how to reconnect with God when he seemed elusive and I needed Him—so I wrote about a vineyard that was drying up and discovered how to connect with God again. Finding Lady Enderly was a look into what actually makes us who we are. If we change our appearance, our clothing, our manner and surroundings, what’s left that makes us “us?” I never know the answers when I start, and that’s part of what drives me to finish.
Writing is like an open notebook where I work through things, then pass it along for strangers to read, and that’s where the second amazing part comes in. I’ve found kindred spirits in readers halfway across the world, and I connect with them over stories—mine and others. Isn’t it fun to talk books with other people who adore them? You, readers, are my people. We may have never met, but somehow, so many of us “get” each other, and that’s amazing and touching and blessed. It’s been a gift.
I honestly don’t feel like I have a lot to teach, but I love to explore and discover, then I get excited about what I’ve found. I hold it out to you like a thing I’ve dug up, to show you what God’s showing me. I hope that you find some nuggets too, readers, as you dig through all the books that authors have lovingly crafted from their own journeys.
Thank you for adventuring with us.
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, releases October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.