Friday, February 1, 2013

WRITING UNBREAKABLE






Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored fourteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing.

The first book in her Road to Kingdom series, INESCAPABLE, came out in July of 2012. UUNBREAKABLE, the second book, released in February of 2013.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com or her blog www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com. She is also active on Facebook.
 
WRITING UNBREAKABLE
 
Writing a novel is always a challenge. Authors ask themselves: Are my characters interesting enough? Will my plot keep people turning the pages? Is my ending right? Will my readers be satisfied?

We write, rewrite, delete, start over, and sweat over every chapter. That’s normal.

But writing UNBREAKABLE wasn’t a normal experience. Why? Because I decided to tackle a foundational belief of the Mennonite church. And I’m not Mennonite. 

You might ask, “Why even go there?” Frankly, it had become the elephant in the room. Something I couldn’t ignore. How could I write about the Mennonite religion and not mention their commitment to pacifism? Pacifism expresses itself as opposition to war and violence. Mennonites believe that Jesus taught us to “turn the other check” rather than defend ourselves through violent means. Although I apply this teaching to my personal life, at the same time I endorse the concept of maintaining a strong military. How could I balance these two viewpoints without offending my Mennonite readers or alienating those who support the brave men and women in our armed forces?

I found myself on, as they say, the horns of a dilemma.

In the end, I decided to present both sides – without actually taking sides.

In UNBREAKABLE, my main character, Hope Kauffman, loves two men. Ebbie Miller, Hope’s fiancée, is committed to pacifism. To Ebbie, staying true to this doctrine means he is committed to never using violence under any circumstances. No matter what the cost. This bothers Hope as she begins to wonder if she can trust Ebbie to protect her should she ever find herself in danger. On the other hand, Jonathon Wiese, the other man Hope is attracted to, believes in turning the other cheek – as long as someone he loves isn’t in jeopardy. Before the end of UNBREAKABLE, both men will be forced to put their faith to the test. To save Hope’s life, what choices will Ebbie and Jonathon make? Will they stay true to their convictions? Or will Hope die because of her Mennonite tradition?

A reader recently told me that her opinion about the doctrine of nonviolence changed as she read UNBREAKABLE. As I worked on this book, my opinion may not have changed completely – but I began to seriously question it. I still haven’t made a decision one way or the other. And that’s okay. At least I have more understanding toward my Mennonite brothers and sisters. Hopefully, my readers will not only enjoy Hope’s story, but they will take a second look at this long-held Mennonite principle. Perhaps with understanding we can move a little closer to becoming the church Jesus prayed for.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

 

Would you like to see your name in print? Next Monday, I’ll pick one winner who will get to see their name in the first book of my brand new series debuting in 2014. I’ll use your name for one of my characters.

Please leave a comment, your name, and your contact information. YOU could be immortalized in print!  

 

 

45 comments:

  1. I love it, Nancy. Stepping into another world, especially where our faith is concerned, sounds like a daunting task. As a Christian who has struggled with my country's involvement in every war we can get our hands on, I know that hearts and minds evolve over the years. Maybe we need more messages like yours.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ron. I appreicate it.

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  2. I respect you immensely for having the guts to go where few tread. I will be looking for this book.
    mistyred1968@yahoo.com

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  3. I have read Unbreakable (Very, very, good read by the way!) and when I wrote my review on it, I did not mention my opinion on to arm or not to arm. That being said, I would hope that if someone broke into our home and was physically attacking me that my husband would definitely come to my rescue.

    I would love to have my name in one of your books Nancy. You don't see very many Judy's used in books. If I am selected, you may use Judy Kay if that would flow better! :)

    Blessings!
    Judy
    judyjohn2004(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. LOL! I'd actually use your entire name, Judy. My new town is a mixture of Mennonite and non-Mennonite. That makes it easier to add names that don't sound Mennonite.

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  4. I am reading Unbreakable right now and am very curious how it will turn out with the issue of violence. I would love to be a character, (yes I am a character already!) in your next book!!

    Barbara Lange is my name and you can contact me at barb@langes.us

    You are a blessing to me soul sista!

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    1. Love you, Barbara. And yes, you're right. You're already a character! LOL!

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  5. Unbreakable is on my list to read, I've Inescapable and enjoyed it a lot!

    So I go by two names, Dani is what most call me, but my blog I go by Elle (full name Danielle Mione) confusing but I liked the sound of Elle better for my blog :)
    and I can be contacted at dmione1@hotmail.com

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    1. I have a friend named Dani! Dani Pettrey is a tremendous writer. If you haven't read her, you should get her book, Submerged. She just released the second book in that series, Shattered.

      Thanks for the comment about Inescapable. Hope you like Unbreakable, Dani.

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    2. I love Dani Pettrey's books! I've read both (I received an ARC of shattered and recommend both to everyone I know!)

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  6. I would love, love, love to win!!!!! My name is Zac, but Zachary would be a cool name too!!
    Zac

    zac@zacweikal.com

    (Posted by Nancy Mehl)

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  7. Nancy - I love all your books and would consider it an honor to have a character named after me - Terri!

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  8. I think my name would be great for a character (yes, I am a little biased)!

    I work at a library, and INESCAPABLE is a hit! Can't wait to read the next one!

    loseittoday (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. I love your name, Shondra. I also love that you work at a library. Authors adore libraries!

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  9. I'd love to have my name in your book! I live in Missouri and I LOVE your books. I actually worked for the Mennonite's at my first job. They used to be Amish and it was so much fun listening to them talk in their dutch. I even went to church with them several times and stayed at their house with their daughters overnight a few times.
    makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

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    1. My name is above: Megan Parsons <3

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    2. That's so cool, Megan. We're selling our house and moving to Missouri. Our kids live in Bonne Terre.

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    3. That is awesome! I hope you like it here!

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  10. I have just started reading your books and loved the first one in this series, and am anxious to read Unbreakable. My given name is Andrea, I go by Andie. I think either one would be a good character name.
    radiantlyte@gmail.com

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    1. Love the name Andie. My doctor's name is Andrea, but I call her Doctor Andy. Different spelling, but it sounds the same. LOL!

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  11. This is just as good if not better than the book, use my name. Michelle Prince Morgan
    inspiremichelle@yahoo.com

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  12. I have your Road to Kingdom series on my 'to read' list for this year. They sound like really good books. Looking forward to reading them.
    Sarah Miller
    superstarsarah94(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Okay, now Sarah Miller is the perfect name for a Mennonite character. I may use it even if I don't draw your name. LOL!

      Hope you enjoy by books, Sarah.

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    2. You can always use it if you want. :)

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  13. I just wanted to say I enjoyed your post so much today. I have the book and am looking forward to reading it. I love it when you bring up social issues in your books and how the Mennonites view these things and deal with them. Please don't put me in the drawing to be a character in your book, I'd prefer to read about someone else. LOL. I also love your cover for your new book being released in September I believe. Lifting you in prayer also as you sell your home and move. Hugs and Blessings, Susan Fryman susanngarrylee@yaoo.com

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  14. I love your books and I would love to see my name in one.Good luck on the sell of your house and move.Thanks so much for these great books you are writing.I truly enjoy them.jackie_tessnair@yahoo.com

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  15. What an enjoyable post, Nancy! You demonstrate how we writers also learn through what we write. Thank you for sharing this!

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  16. After reading this I will be looking for this book(s) at my local library. I read a lot and hope someday to have my book published. I recently started writing a devotional for single parents but some of my other friends say it helps them as well. How cool to use a readers name. I'd love to be considered. My name is Dawn Crane. Thank you

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    1. I'm sorry forgot my email. Mamaduk7@gmail.com

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  17. Oh what a thrill and honor to have my name in your book, that would be so great
    my name is Shirley Ann Blanchard
    jcisforme@aol.com

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  19. I loved Inescapable, and am waiting for Unbreakable to arrive at our local library (I put in a purchase request awhile ago). I still use the recipes from your Cozy in Kansas anthology. Ruby's Redbird Burgers are a hit at our house :).

    Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have to add Dani Pettrey to my to-read list.

    -Sonja Brow

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  20. How awesome to be immortalized in print!

    I commend you for writing about a culture you weren't a part of especially when you always hear write what you know. But if the research is done well, which I'm sure your's was, then by the time an author is done with their research, they pretty well know what they are writing about. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Smiles & Blessings to you!
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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  21. I think it would be great fun to see my name in print!
    I grew up Mennonite Brethren, so know some about the whole pacifism idea. I also support the military, so I guess I don't really know where I stand.
    I certainly would like to read that book!
    God bless,
    Betti Mace
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. i would love to see my name in your book
    Shirley Ann Blanchard

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  23. I'm gearing up to read Unbreakable as soon as I finish my current book.I love your writing and know that you put a lot of thought and prayer in it. Always a joy ..donitacorman@ yahoo.com

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  24. Wow! These sound like great books! I look forward to hearing your perspective on this topic and to hearing balanced thoughts from both sides of the argument. They will be on my summer reading list for sure!

    I would also love to have my name in print. That would be pretty cool! I'm Randi Lindquist. I like that, but my middle name, Rachelle, might be "better" for a novel!

    Thanks for having the contest!
    Randi

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  25. Unescapable was one of the best books I have read and look forward to reading Unbreakable. It would be awesome to see my name in one of your books !!

    PJ

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  26. I enjoyed both Inescapable and Unbreakable (which I just finished). They were books that I found very difficult to put down, and couldn't wait to pick up again.

    I loved Lizzy, Noah, Hope, Ebbie, and Jonathan, as well as, many of the other residents of Kingdom. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, and I can't wait to see who has the starring role, and also to catch-up with what is going on with the others in Kingdom.

    Blessings,

    Tammi in Maine

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  27. Hi Nancy! This is Janet Dowell. I enjoyed your post......I would love to have peace but I do believe there are some things worth fighting for.

    I would be honored to be named in your book!

    dowelljanet@hotmail.com

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  28. Having my name in your book would be one of the best things that happened to me !!!!!!!!!!! what a great prize Nancy !!! :-) hope I win !!
    Rosemary Foley rfoley@salemstate.edu

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  29. I can't wait to read your books, Inescapable and Unbreakable, especially to learn more about pacifism. I would love to see my name in print.
    Linda Reville
    linlee822@gmail.com

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