by H. Linn Murphy
My friend Wes owns two bookstores. The other day we were talking books, as we often do. He said to me, "Heidi, I want you to write me a book. I need a book like the Tennis Shoes books by Heimerdinger that will capture youthful imaginations and increase their testimonies." He told me he's tired of the freshet of admittedly great middle grade and YA fiction which doesn't also answer that need for spiritual nourishment our kids are finding lacking.
At the time I was polishing my LDS book about a sister missionary and was deep into edits for my forthcoming LDS romance. Those will hopefully increase testimonies, though not especially youthful ones. At the time I really had no intention of haring off in a completely new direction to light fires under today's youth. I have four other books in the works right now and a whole host of others waiting impatiently for publishers or agents.
But the other day something happened. I woke up with a story banging at my head to get out. It flew from its aerie nearly fully fledged. I can only think that God wants me to write this book and sent it to me nearly complete. I was on fire with it, lit from the inside.
I continued to kick at it, having so many other ideas flocking around for other books. I'm researching honey badgers and Mozambique, Johns Hopkins University and Niassa nature reserve. But this morning whole scenes of Mary's life clattered across the stage in my mind and I could no longer deny them pride of place there.
MARIN AT THE WELL is the answer to these questions. It's basically the story of Mary and Martha told through the eyes of a modern teen. I allowed myself to examine how I would feel in Mary's place. What would it be like to kneel at Christ's feet and hear his stories and teachings? How would it feel to tell my sister that Jesus was coming to dinner? How would it feel to stand in the knot of other weeping women on that fateful hill, knowing everything was changing? To crouch and look into the tomb and find my Savior gone?
I think a lot of times we don't write these powerful stories because we're afraid they won't make any money. Well this book is pushy. Marin and Marco want their story told and won't take a pansy-ish "no" for an answer anymore. I don't care if the "great unwashed hordes" want sex and violence. This is what I write.
I suppose I'll just have to tell Wes I've got his book. Hopefully Deseret will help me out with that.