I'm working, in fits and starts, on books three and four simultaneously. So far I don't have a contract for either one, so I'm not as motivated as I should be to write, plus Dan and I started a home business about which I'll blog once we get a website up, so time for writing has been sparse. But I had a big breakthrough on book four the other day, and I was able to write the entire intro and get it sent off to my agent so he has something to send out with the proposal.
What's weird is that both books are autobiographical. I didn't plan it that way, but they are. Book three's main character is based on me, much more than Grace was in "Worlds Collide," and book four's main character IS me, because it's my spiritual autobiography. So I find myself baring my soul through two different faces, one real and one fictional, and all the exposure of my self is starting to stress me out.
I gave my mom the intro to the spiritual autobiography because she always reads my stuff before anyone else does. After I sent it off to her, though, I panicked, because, in the interest of honesty and integrity to the story, I'd been brutally honest about the not-so-Christian activities I'd engaged in during high school and college, and it dawned on me that she might not know about all of them. And then I realized that complete strangers are going to read this stuff someday, and do I really want them to know how stupid I was? I keep reminding myself that this stuff happened years ago--some of it literally half my lifetime ago--and who on earth doesn't have a closetful of memories from their teens and 20's that just make them groan? But I feel like I have that whole Strobel image to maintain, that people will read the book and go "Lee Strobel's daughter did that? Didn't he teach her anything?" when of course it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. I'm struggling, too, with how much I tell about other people, because everyone's story is their own, and I don't feel right telling someone else's, but when they intersect with yours, you can't help but reveal some of their's as well.
The third book is about me, too, like I said, but in a different way. It's about a me that could have been, had God not plucked me out of the mire of my own stupidity. When I outlined it I kept thinking, "Yeah, I would have done that--yikes;" "Yeah, I would have been that addicted/stupid/wounded." It's scary to think what I might have been like, but then I realized that I'm STILL like that--it's just that God's grace has covered over those parts and allowed me to travel a different path than the one to which my natural compass points me. Praise God for grace!