Today I’ve invited another Jubilee Writer to share his story with us. Retirement can be a great time to write the novel of your heart. Douglas Cornelius has some helpful insights for novice writers. Thanks for joining me, let’s get right to it, shall we.
Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.
I must admit I am not someone who “always wanted to be a writer.” Yes, I enjoyed writing throughout a long business career. Then as retirement approached, writing for fun became an interesting challenge. I hooked up with a writers’ group at my church (Church of the Open Door, Maple Gove, MN) and felt called to a writers’ conference (’14 Colorado CWC). That’s when I found myself determined to become a writer. I was attracted to a certain niche genre: YA Christian historical fiction (that would hopefully also appeal to a wider spectrum of readers).
What is your latest published project?
The Baker’s Daughter under the LPC imprint was finally birthed on Feb. 1st of this year. It’s about teens using their faith in WW II Berlin to triumph over Nazi evil. It appears to be off to a good start. It’s exciting to get instant feedback from Amazon. (I’m also following up with a self-published teen piece from the Renaissance period: Da Vinci’s Disciples.)
How do you research for your books?
I’ll start by reading some other acclaimed books from the era I’m writing about. In the case of The Baker’s Daughter, I tried to digest Metaxas’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Moorhouse’s Berlin at War, and Frossard’s Forget Not Love, among others. Then I supplemented with internet research as needed.
What inspired you to write your book?
I believe God wanted to do a good work in me, so the Ken Burns documentary on WW II and a Great Courses piece on Christian martyrs combined to point me to my story. I wanted to focus on how a person might get to the ultimate form of love, sacrificial Christ-like love, as exhibited by the martyrs, Bonhoeffer and Kolbe—the latter giving his life for another in a concentration camp. I was intent on weaving them into the story while showcasing their love as an extension of God’s unconditional love. I also felt the stresses of wartime provided ample opportunity to create conflict, both external and internal.
Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?
With the book theme about God’s love, I chose to make my blog about “Love Lived Large.” So, the scripture I cherish goes back to how it all started: “We love because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?
Remembering that God’s timeline is different from mine. I would advise young writers to set some personal goals, stay focused, and pray that God will lead you past the bumps in the road, in His time. I also highly recommend going to a conference to begin making connections.
Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?
My writers’ group at church has been invaluable as a means of consistent feedback, as well as keeping me on track.
What is your favorite genre to read for fun?
Every once in a while, I like to pick up a delightful mid-grade book such as one I’m currently reading, The Land of Beyond Belief.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a comfortable wicker chair in a sunroom with big windows. The peace seems to override any distractions.
More about Douglas:
Douglas P. Cornelius is a life-long resident of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. He started writing historical fiction after retiring from careers at Target, American Express, and 3M. When not writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, three amazing grandchildren, complacent old dog, and frolicsome new cat Selah. The Baker’s Daughter is his debut Christian novel, one in which he hopes to inspire readers to reflect on God’s unconditional love while experiencing the challenges of confronting evil at a critical time in history.
Douglas, thanks for visiting Jubilee Writer. The Baker’s Daughter sounds intriguing.
Readers if you have any questions for Douglas ask them in the comments. And if you purchase his book and enjoy it. Please post a review. Reviews are the life blood of authors. 🙂
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