When I was in elementary school, I wrote and directed plays with the neighborhood kids as the actors and my parents’ basement as the stage. One of my teachers signed my yearbook, “You’ll be a famous author someday, and I’ll say that I knew you in the third grade!” Well, Mrs. Oz, I don’t think anyone would call me famous, but I did become an author.Honestly, it took a long time for me to bless that desire to write. I wanted to pursue creative writing but always told myself no. In high school and college, most of the advice I heard about what I “should” do involved making money, advanced degrees, and brilliant-sounding job titles. (I once worked in an experimental astrophysics laboratory, to give an idea). There’s nothing wrong with any of those pursuits, but I had to break free from this “real work” vs. “fanciful dreams” dichotomy. I love this Howard Thurman quote: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Simply put, I started writing again because it makes me come alive.
Something about story touches us in a way that lectures and sermons never could. Dressed in the characters and set pieces of fiction, powerful truths can slip past our preconceptions. Especially in recent years when it seems our society has lost all concept of meaningful dialogue, stories can be the lens we need to see the world clearly. I like writing on big themes about humanity, faith, and love—not because I have the answers, but because I have the questions. Exploring a narrative helps me distill what’s happening in and around me..I write low fantasy and magical realism because I love the intersection of the rational world and supernatural causes. On top of that, fantasy books show individuals caught in adventures that are bigger than just themselves. The stories that stay with me are the ones that invite me in and remind me I’m part of it, not just a witness.
Some people see my book title—The Evangelist in Hell—and they get a little nervous. Is it religious? Is it just going to be all preachy and condemning? Is it going to totally misrepresent the Bible? None of those, I hope. I actually can’t stand books that have perfect, self-righteous protagonists. I much prefer characters who don’t know everything and make tons of mistakes. My idea for the story came after reading C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, and wondering what it looks like to be in relationship with people who fundamentally see the world differently than I do. The book’s mostly an exploration of what it means to love unconditionally and what it means to be free. It takes place in Heaven and Hell, but it’s definitely a story for people who are alive right now. While I certainly don’t shy away from writing about topics that matter to me, I hope that my books will challenge readers instead of telling them how to think..I have another work in progress that’s a significant departure from The Evangelist in Hell. It’s more mainstream fiction, although still with speculative and fantasy elements. In the meantime, I love connecting with other writers and readers. Drop me a line anytime!
“Balancing fast-paced action and challenging quandaries, The Evangelist in Hell is an unforgettable journey fraught with danger and powered by faith, fearlessly grappling with the true consequence of freedom and the high cost of love.”
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
Great Midwest Book Fest Honorable Mention
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters