writing my first novel…

Stpaulsblitz (1)

London in WW2

Today I have been completely immersed in my novel. That’s right, Mr. Inspirational Non-Fiction is writing a novel.

The story is actually finished, in terms of plot and outline and first draft. Now I’m re-writing (for the third time), fleshing out some of the scenes, fact-checking, and tightening the prose.

My dilemma at this point is that of audience. When I was a teacher, I used to read aloud to my students, and – invariably – I found myself dreaming about a Newbery winning book with my name on the cover. (A Newbery Medal citation comes from the American Library Association for, “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”). I know that sounds far-fetched, but dreaming is a huge part of writing – and why write at all unless I intend to write the best?

01 A group of boy evacuees with their gas masks, September 1939

kids evacuated from their homes

As a literature consumer, I understand that if a book is a good read for children – in this case it would be young adults – then it also needs to be a great read for anyone. My story is about the adventures of a 15-year-old boy living on the south coast, in World War Two England; but I’m hoping it captures the attention of readers from ten to one hundred and ten.

I’m not sure how much more I can/should say about the story in this post, other than that I’m placing it in parts of England I know well, that I love deeply, and that I want my readers to appreciate too.

  • Every historical fact in my novel is accurate (the story covers the days before Dunkirk and the summer thereafter);
  • Everything that happens reflects the experiences of real people in real places, caught up in the crisis of real war.

shelling in my hometown

If you are at all interested in this project, let me know and I’ll make sure to post the details just as soon as my novel is available.

Writing a book, without a contract in hand, is a huge investment of time and resources. But in many ways I feel compelled to do this work. There’s something about a great story, especially one that addresses themes of human conflict, love, exploration, faith, and the yearning for reconciliation. I want to lift people up – that’s always my intention when I write – and this is one more way that I can invite people into healing.
Peace – DEREK

Categories: Current News, life, Uncategorized, writing life

Tags: , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Sounds intriguing. Robbie is kind of in to WWII now after doing a project on my grandfather. Let us know when you’ve finished!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Please keep us updated. I will want to read it!
    Ann Cobb

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Would love to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Would love to hear more and purchase it when you publish! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Derek, this is a perfect project for you. I cannot think of anyone better equipped to write about WWII in your homeland and its effect on a boy who was about to enter manhood at the time. I had a conversation with a lady in my Tai Chi class who was a child in Germany during and following the war. I am interested and emotional about those times and about the people who were destined to create the Europe of today. Please keep me in the loop. I am totally behind you and I know we will all be rewarded by your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chuck and I are interested in history and have been fascinated with various series we have found on Netflix that deal with WW II. Let us know when your book is available.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to read your first novel.

    I too was once a teacher – of middle grade students. While I taught some other things as well, beginning with history and geography, I spent the last half of my career teaching English language arts and loved (loved, loved!) reading with my students. I still hear from some of them asking questions or referring back to books we read together, now decades ago.

    Thank you for your blog. Velva and I rather frequently mention something we have read in it.

    Blessings to you and yours, Margaret Marquis Pastor of Ocoee Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ocoee, FL where Velva Graves is an elder!


    • Thanks, Margaret – reading to the kids was one of my great joys in teaching. I once read the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy out loud to a group of students on the autism spectrum – over the course of a year – and they loved every moment!
      Peace – DEREK


  8. Sounds good Derek. Let me know when it’s ready. Obviously I’m more interested because of its location and theme. Love to Rebekah.

    Hope to speak with your Dad soon. I’ve something I want to question him about, to see if he can throw light on a certain Pastor George Stormont who wrote a book I’m reading about Smith Wigglesworth. Ever heard of him? A great man of God. I’ve read a book about him years ago, but this one has just come into my hands from a very unlikely source – John Bickle’s Dad who quite recently came to faith in Christ and went to be with the Lord about 6 weeks ago. If you have a chance, mention the name to David, and then when I speak to him he will have had time to think about it. I wrote yesterday, but forgot to mention it.

    Love Dorothea


    • Hi, Dorothea!
      Yes, I’ve heard the name Wigglesworth… but don’t remember the details of his story.
      Dad will still read emails if you send them to mum – but I’ll be sure to mention this to him today.
      I’ll let you know more about the novel – it’s a challenge for me but a lot of fun.
      Peace and blessings – DEREK


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: