Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why I Write Fiction and Who is Reading It

I am learning where my boundaries are as a writer. God is so graciously enclosing me behind and before and laying His hand upon me. He has given me boundaries out of His love for me and His purpose for my writing so my creativity will flourish and define my unique approach to storytelling.

I write stories about make believe people in an imaginary land who live in simplicity yet go through improbable situations that somehow parallel our lives. No matter the characters and the plot, my stories have the same theme. It is the core message the Lord has given me to share: You can trust God.

In The Land Uncharted, Lydia and Connor had to trust God’s sovereignty. In Uncharted Redemption, Levi and Mandy had to trust God’s forgiveness. In Uncharted Inheritance, Bethany and Everett had to trust God with their future. In Christmas with the Colburns, Lydia had to trust God with her family. When I went back in time to tell the history of the Land, the same theme flowed. In Aboard Providence, Jonah and Marian had to trust God’s unfailing provision.

I’ve heard writers muse about writing for an audience of one. While that sounds uber spiritual—and famously singable—I don’t write for God. I pray I write for God’s glory, meaning what I write points the reader to God’s redemptive plan. But I write for the readers who need to hear the core message He has given me.

I hear from readers in their eighties and in their late teens, but most are in their thirties and forties. My readers are mostly women, but occasionally I hear from men. From the messages my readers send, I know many are similar to me in temperament, ideals, and dreams. I’ve learned a few other things about my average reader too…

She grew up reading or watching Little House on the Prairie. Though there was a 50/50 chance her parents had divorced, she dreamed of someday marrying a man like Charles Ingalls. She was raised in a Christian home or was around the Christian faith enough it affected her thoughts and conscience. She might be a devout Christian now, or she might be seeking God (whether she realizes it or not). She loves to learn, but doesn’t want to be preached at. She enjoys American history and is enthralled by herbal remedies and organic gardening, even if she doesn’t have the time or skill to keep a houseplant alive.

She wishes life were simpler and fantasizes about throwing her phone out the car window on the commute from work to her kid’s ballgame or her zillionth errand or a chemo appointment. She dreams of homeschooling her children on a self-sustaining 40-acre plot in the middle of nowhere while she still has time with them or about raising the children she is still trusting God for in a simple lifestyle or about getting her daughter-in-law to limit her grandkids’ screen time. Either way, she grits her teeth when she pays the bills each month and sees how much money is spent on “data”.

In all of this yearning for a simple life, she curls up in bed at night with a book to escape the clutches of click bait and reality television. She might not be in her own bed. I’ve received enough letters from readers to know it’s likely she’s reading in a hospital bed or sitting beside a loved one who is in hospice.

The book she chose to read tonight probably has a sweeping landscape on the cover and maybe a woman in a dress from a bygone era. It’s usually a paperback, but it might be an ebook because she didn’t have the energy to get to the bookstore or library. If it is an ebook, she wishes it were a physical book for the feel of the paper and the smell of the ink. She imagines reading it by the light of an oil lamp with the thud of horse hooves stamping onto her property, announcing the return of her faithful husband from some noble and manly adventure.

She might have a husband who is truly noble and faithful, or he might have left her for a career or mistress or alcohol or Heaven, or he might not be in the picture yet or never will be. She might have regrets or she might be at peace with her relationships. Regardless, she believes people—men and women—can and should treat each other in a chaste, temperate, charitable, diligent, patient, kind, and humble way. She wants those qualities exemplified in the books she reads while she dreams of her own noble adventures.

Wherever she reclines and whatever pain she is in, she reads for comfort and encouragement. She reads to know she is not alone. She reads for someone to show her: you can trust God, even with this—whatever her “this” might be.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Cover of Aboard Providence!!!

Are you ready to see the cover of Aboard Providence?

....drum roll....

Isn’t it beautiful! I’m humbled and amazed at what the talented staff of CrossRiver Media has done with my story!

Though the Uncharted series is set in the 21st Century, the inhabitants of the Land have a history that begged to be told. Why did the founders leave America in 1860? How did they plan the group migration? Where did they believe they were going? How did they arrive in the Land and establish what is now a fascinating culture?

Join the founders as they embark on their journey to an uncharted land…

There’s a giveaway at the bottom of the post. Be sure to enter for your chance to win a signed copy of Aboard Providence. Here’s a little about the book:

A voyage aboard Providence changes Jonah’s plans, but can it change his heart?

In November 1860, Jonah Ashton boarded the Providence with a plan to escort his family to their new settlement in South America and then return to medical school in Pennsylvania before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he didn’t count on was getting lost at sea and falling in love. When they finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything.
Pre-order your copy of Aboard Providence here: 

Quotes about the book:

“A delightful adventure reminiscent of Swiss Family Robinson, Aboard Providence is one of those novels that will stick with me because I feel I’ve lived it. A captivating, well-researched, and deftly written tale I can confidently recommend to a wide range of readers.” –Heather Day Gilbert, author of Amazon Norse bestseller God’s Daughter

“With vivid settings and multi-layered characters, Keely Brooke Keith whisks her readers off on a page-turning journey, not just across the ocean, but within the heart. You won’t be able to put Aboard Providence down until the final word is read and then you will long for more.” –Brenda S. Anderson, author of the Coming Home series

“A blend of history and romance with a compelling inspirational message, Keith expertly weaves an intriguing tale. Fans of the Uncharted Series won’t want to miss this journey.” –Heidi McCahan, author of Unraveled

“Keely Brooke Keith is a master storyteller, weaving adventure, love, and wonderful characters into a vivid story that will take readers on an unforgettable voyage to a new place. Full of inspirational messages and tales of God’s love, readers will find themselves longing for more. Keely’s story teaches all of us that the journey is just the beginning!” –Christina Yother, author of the Hollow Hearts series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Official Sweepstakes Rules:
No purchase necessary to enter. Must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. Sweepstakes begins July 14, 2016 and ends midnight CST July 31, 2016. Odds of winning dependent upon the number of entries. Grand prize includes one autographed paperback copy of Aboard Providence. Winner will be selected at random and notified by email. Once winner notification email is sent, winner must reply within 7 days with Continental US mailing address. Upon release, the book will be shipped via USPS Media Mail. Contest holders not responsible for lost prizes. First name and last initial of winner will be announced, all other information will be kept private. Sweepstakes sponsored by the participating author. Void where prohibited by law. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Aboard Providence

The Uncharted series has a past…

The Land Uncharted began in the 21st Century in a hidden land that was settled in the 1860s by Americans. Throughout the Uncharted books, the characters refer to their founders’ history. Soon after the release of The Land Uncharted, readers expressed their desire for more. Why did the founders leave America in 1860? How did they plan the group migration? Where did they believe they were going? How did they establish what is now a fascinating culture?

I too was drawn by the founders’ story. When I set out to write it, I enjoyed fleshing out the mystery of how the founders arrived in the Land and what it was like for them, not only for the characters who wanted that adventure, but also those who didn’t. I became swept away on a journey of faith, sacrifice, and God’s unfailing provision.

The result is Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media). Get ready to embark on a voyage to an uncharted land...

Cover reveal here tomorrow!