Who will enjoy Stronghold?
Everyone, I hope. …But hopes are not always realities.
Of the readers to whom I’ve presented the book, a few have commented that they did not care for it, either due to my content or writing style (both of which are imperfect, to be sure). This post, however, isn’t regarding those who won’t enjoy Stronghold as much as it is a post about those who possibly will.
Of course, this is a tough question, but I will try to answer it as best I can:
Fans of Fantasy
The world in which the bulk of the narrative occurs is one of expansive landscapes, warring kingdoms, and colorful characters—not to mention swords, armor, chases, and monsters. Fantasy fans should find this aspect of the book engaging, even if the theological content of the text is not reflective of their own beliefs.
Those who struggle with lust or addiction in general
Inasmuch as Stronghold is deeply personal in concept, I attempted to make it somewhat general in execution—meaning that concepts from it can translate to struggles other than lust.
Those who love Jesus Christ
The adoration of Christ by The Believer in Stronghold is evident and God-honoring. Hopefully, the reader who loves Christ will see his or her own affections for the Lord reflected in the main character’s.
Those who value Scripture
I went to great lengths to integrate specific verses into the narrative of Stronghold, and as one who adores The Holy Bible, I am very satisifed with the treatment of Scripture within the story and hope others will be also.
As a first-time novelist, I am pulling a number of tools out of my author’s toolbox and taking some creative chances. Narrative framing, flashback, story layering, and a variety of other writing devices have found their way into Stronghold—not merely because I can use them but because I felt they would be appropriate in their respective contexts. As the entire book is told in first-person present perspective, certain story limitations are evident, and I have tried to make interesting choices within those confines (anyone who has read The Hunger Games trilogy will note that Suzanne Collins is brilliant when working within this paradigm). Fellow writers may find Stronghold worth reading for examples of what one can (and may or may not want to) do.
People who know me
As I’ve said a thousand times, Stronghold is a personal work, and I feel that it carries my voice in a very authentic way in terms of conversational speech and idealized speech, self-deprecation and self-motivation, and overall content and syntax. I can almost hear some readers saying, “Oh C.J.” when I review certain passages. I think that’s a good thing.
So what does that mean, really? I don’t know. I get asked “Who is the book for?” often, and I have tried to figure that out with each new conversation on the subject.
But truth be told, I need to disclose something I touched on at the beginning of this post. In my first post following the announcement of Stronghold’s release date, I spoke a great deal of how I expected a torrent of unfavorable emotions to crash against me like a wave, and they did not. Since that time, the tide has risen a bit. I have not had debilitating anxiety about the release, but certain social and emotional realities about this venture are beginning to strike me. The criticism, the rejection, the possible retorts and rebukes—these will likely be forthcoming, and regardless of the degree to which they will wound me, I am becoming more resigned to an inevitable fact: This book is not for everyone, and some people are really going to hate it. What will I do in that moment–when I see that scathing one-star Amazon review or someone e-mails me and says, “Hey, read you book, we should really talk. I’m concerned about your salvation.” These will be trying times for me. In fact, I have an aching suspicion that these types of conversations are going to affect me much more than I want them to, and they will likely make me want to quit work on my second novel.
How am I going to handle that? Well, to be honest, I have not figured that out, but its pending nature has been on my mind with each passing day. Just felt I needed to share. Gotta keep it real…when it comes to a book about fantasy and imagination.
Thanks for reading, all. Stronghold is still on schedule to hit May 28, 2013 in Kindle and Print on Demand versions (Apple/Ipad selling account pending).