You are currently viewing A Wife’s Dare
  • Post published:March 1, 2024

Kay dared me to make up a story out of my imagination. “Just sit down and start writing and see what happens,” she said. With my historical fiction books, I have at least had a loose outline to follow, a commitment to be true to the known facts, but not with The Mercy Seat. At first, I had little to go on. I just knew I wanted this novel to be set in the present and in a metropolitan city.

But what of the characters? For the reader to identify with the protagonist, the character must face all sorts of difficulties, and so I created the character of Maxwell Crane, an ex-Marine chaplain and pastor of The Mercy Seat church. He and his wife, Kenda, have three teenage children, and together, they live in an underserved community in a large city. The Cranes are a mixed race family, and once that came into existence, I had to give each of them something that would test their characters and show their complexity.

I still needed a jumping off point. When I came across a newspaper article about a local pastor who held a memorial service in a city park across the street from the downtown public library for those in the homeless community who had died during a calendar year, my story was launched. The library and park were gathering places for this population of citizens who used these public localities as a rest stop on their nomadic journeys roaming the city streets.

The Mercy Seat began to write itself. Some days it was hard to keep up. Characters I didn’t expect kept appearing requesting a role. I always enjoy the writing process, but this one had a special pleasure because every character had a believable persona and came with specific motivations and desires that made them human. I kept out of their way and let the story unfold as they wished for it to be told.

I also included an up-close and personal look at the social, economic, racial, and spiritual dilemmas facing the urban population of a large metropolitan city. By dropping the Crane family into a challenging and dangerous community, I could then observe how they chose to live and serve these citizens whose lives are a daily battle.

The Mercy Seat is a tale of godly people trying to bring comfort to the persecuted and afflicted, protect the innocent, and stand against the oppressor. But what happens when the pastor crosses a line taking justice into his own hands? Will his family, his community, and his God ever forgive him? My hope is you will read the novel and find out.