Hey there, adventure loving readers 🙂 …give me a minute…I’m reading about a teenage Olympic snowboarder solving a mystery…ahh, that was an exciting scene! Alrighty, please welcome author Leslea Wahl to the blog today!
Hi, my name is Leslea Wahl, and I am an author of faith-based adventurous novels for teens. When Liz invited me to share my thoughts on the importance of Christian fiction, I was excited since this subject is very near and dear to my heart.
Since you subscribe to this blog, you are probably like me and have an appreciation for Christian fiction. However, I didn’t always feel that way. In fact, as a teen, I avoided the Christian books my mom bought for me. I felt they were often dry, boring, and filled with too-good-to-be true characters, so I just wasn’t interested. Not surprisingly, then, finding my way to become a faith-based author took a rather circuitous route.
My writing career actually began when, as a mom, I was struggling to find fun, adventurous novels that my kids would enjoy that also reflected our values. I searched and searched and wondered why I couldn’t find the kinds of books I was looking for. Then one day, the idea for my first novel popped into my mind.
Despite feeling like God was calling me to write this story, I did not immediately think of making it a faith-based novel. My plan was to create a nice clean adventure. When the manuscript was finally polished, I began sending out query letters to publishers. I received a lot of rejection letters along with a little feedback, always saying the same thing—my book was too clean. Since I believed my story idea was divinely inspired, I was convinced that it would someday be published. I kept praying and searching for more publishers to query.
Then one day, while at my local bookstore, I came across a book that changed everything for me. I discovered this YA mystery about a young teen who helps the police find a serial killer. This book had all the elements I love in a story, mystery, adventure, humor, and innocent romance, but there was an added element that was a complete surprise. Faith. It was just a natural part of the story. It wasn’t heavy-handed, it wasn’t preachy, it was just part of this character’s life. That was my lightbulb moment when I finally fully discovered God’s plan for me.
I immediately added the missing ingredient of faith to my books—simple elements such as having the characters pray when they faced challenges and attend church with their families. When I sent the story to Christian publishers, there suddenly was interest, and soon my story, The Perfect Blindside, had a book contract. Only after my book was published did I begin to come across the amazing, intriguing, entertaining stories that can be found in the genre of Christian teen fiction. Discovering those books began the second part of my writing ministry—reviewing books so other families can find these treasures.
It may have taken a while to figure it out (thanks God for being patient and persistent!), but I’ve come to realize that fiction has the power to strengthen our faith. After all, Jesus himself used stories to connect with people and teach them. Fiction offers an excellent way to open up a dialogue or broach sensitive societal issues by viewing a topic through a fictional character’s life. We can’t completely shelter our teens, but we can fortify their values through edifying adventures. And that is exactly what I hope to do through my teen mysteries.
For more information on Leslea’s teen novels, please visit her website: www.LesleaWahl.com.
You can also follow her on Facebook – LesleaWahlBooks or
Her faith-based book reviews for the whole family can be found on her website, or you can join her News, Clues and Reviews updates.
Thank you for sharing your journey of becoming an author of Christian fiction, Leslea! We’re glad you followed God’s nudge 🙂 I’m off to read the last scene in eXtreme Blindside…Readers, post your positive comments below, and be sure to check out Leslea’s books 🙂