Author Patricia Raybon reflects on the release of her second novel in just three short years. What dream are you sitting on and how can you release it into reality?
Daring a New Thing
By Patricia Raybon
I’m on a phone call with two editors talking about something new and strange — a villain. “Did you pick the right one?” one editor asks. Adds another, “What do you think? Yes, let’s talk about it.”
Then, for the rest of the call, we debate bad guys (and gals). Who’s the right one for the sequel, Double the Lies, to my historical mystery novel, All That Is Secret? Which culprit offers the greatest surprise? The best life lessons?
It’s a phone conversation that, two short years ago, I never imagined having.
The discussion, however, is a perk, if one could call it that, of doing a new thing — especially a new thing for God. When we do, we land in fresh places. On new ground. Treading new waters. Singing new songs. Reaching new people. Even on phone calls debating murder villains. Indeed, all for God.
I wish I could brag and say I breezed through the process of trying this new thing—in my case, writing a mystery novel, set during the dangerous 1920s, that is the first of a fledgling series.
Looking back, however, I can see several steps I took in writing it that might encourage others to leap for their dream, too.
My five steps?
First, pay attention. To what you love. To suddenly having enough time to work on it. Thus, during the pandemic isolation of 2020, I turned off cable news and wrote my mystery.
Why? I adore fiction, especially mysteries. They invite us to explore good versus evil, shadow versus light. As a longtime journalist, I'd seen trouble aplenty, but what would I discover in a fictional story about solving it?
Seeing weeks of isolation ahead, I committed to finding answers by writing my first novel. Bravely? Nope. I was reeling with doubt. So, my second big step:
Fear not. That’s our gentle Jesus’s kind reminder (John 14:27).
Turning from fear calms scary waters. Instead, as I told my husband, “If nothing comes of this, that’s okay. It’s more important that I tried.” Indeed, our trying glorifies God.
Jesus said it this way: "Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). So, the third step of trying a new thing?
Give yourself permission.
That’s what the Lord allowed for the children of Israel. He’d split the Red Sea to deliver them from Egypt, a mighty miracle (Isaiah 43:16). But then the surprise? Forget those things, God said.
“Forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new...do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT).
This remarkable reminder—to forget former victories and triumphs—and fan the fires of new pursuits is a divine mandate and gift. The next step?
Find good partners.
After writing my novel, I hired a crackerjack fiction editor to give my novel a through going-over. I consulted marketing experts on selling it. I thanked libraries and bookstores for carrying it. Indeed, two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). So, finally:
Keep your eyes on your own work.
Countless people are smarter and better at what we dream to do. Fall in love, instead, with your own work. “Then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else” (Galatians 6:4 NLT).
Those are our marching orders as we try new things for God. The adventure has ups and downs. But in our daring to try, people see God. That’s the purpose—it’s for his glory. So, dive in. Then, the world sees him.
Patricia Raybon is an award-winning Colorado author, essayist, and novelist who writes stories of faith and mystery. Her debut 1920s mystery novel, All That Is Secret, won a 2022 Christy Award for First Novel. Its sequel, Double the Lies, is a "fast-moving mystery" whose "mix of history and intrigue will captivate readers," says Publishers Weekly. "Stirring. Fast-paced and powerful," says Foreword Reviews. Her other books include Undivided, I Told The Mountain to Move, and My First White Friend. Connect with Patricia at patriciaraybon.com or on Facebook or Twitter.