Today we’re chatting with Raena Rood, author of the Subversives trilogy. (Read our review of her latest book, Sanctuary, here.) Take it away Raena:
Hi Kimber and Mom! Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post on your blog. This is the first time I’ve been asked to do a guest post and I’m very excited.
A Few Quicks
A few quick things about me:
- I’m a wife and mom of three boys.
- I attended college at Penn State University.
- Upon graduation, I commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. I moved to Ft. Rucker, Alabama and trained as a helicopter pilot.
- After the Army, I moved home to Pennsylvania with my husband and worked as a probation officer for five years.
- I actually wrote a novel in between appointments with my probation clients!
Opportunities & Answers
As I pitched my book to agents and publishers at writer’s conferences, I consistently prayed for the opportunity to quit working and write full time. I expected God to send a wonderful agent into my life who would get me a great publishing contract, and then all of my writing dreams would come true.
However, in early 2012, I found out I was pregnant with twins! My husband and I already had a young son, and since putting two more children in daycare full-time would’ve canceled out my salary, I quit my job to stay home with my boys. When the twins were old enough, I started writing again.
God had answered my prayer to write full time, but He did it in a much different and much better way than I ever could’ve imagined.
The Writing Process
Having three kids at home a lot over the past year because of the pandemic has forced me to become more disciplined with my writing process. I typically do my best writing during the morning hours, but those hours were virtual learning time for most of last year.
Now, I write whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes, even if it’s during a time of day when my writing isn’t the best. Then, I clean things up during the editing process. My personal writing goal is 5,000 words per week, which feels very doable to me, even with kids and a busy schedule.
When I’m writing a first draft, I need the room to be quiet. But during the editing process, I enjoy listening to music, particularly from old movie soundtracks.
In the Pipeline
I’m currently working on Salvation, which is the last book in the (Subversives) trilogy. I’ve plotted nearly the entire book, except for the third act. Plotting is new to me. I used to be so anti-plotting, but it’s become an invaluable tool in helping me to organize my ideas and write faster.
When plotting, I use the Save the Cat method, which is a screenwriting tool from Blake Snyder that uses the traditional three-act structure and focuses on the fifteen major beats found in many movies and books. Sticking to those major beats, and knowing what those beats are before you sit down to write, means fewer mistakes, fewer rewrites, and more productive writing time.
Subversive and Sanctuary are the first two books in a trilogy that imagines a not-too-distant future where Christianity has been outlawed in the United States. Unfortunately, this level of persecution is already happening to Christians in other parts of the world. In many countries, the church must operate underground, and many Christians are being arrested or killed for their beliefs.
Do I think this kind of persecution could ever happen in the United States? Absolutely.
The events of the past year have shown me that this future might be much closer than I originally thought. Most churches shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government restrictions, and many of them still have not reopened their doors. Even when businesses began to reopen, the government seemed to take a particular interest in keeping the churches closed. Some churches reopened in defiance of the public health orders and were forced to pay fines. Others saw their ministers arrested.
Entertaining and Thoughtful
I want my readers to be entertained, but I also want them to think and to pray about the strength of their own faith. I want Christians to ask themselves what they would do if someone ordered them to renounce their faith. It’s easy to say, “My faith is strong. I would never do that.”
But what if that resolve was truly put to the test? What if the alternative was prison? Or death? What if they threatened to take away your children?
I also hope my non-Christian readers will ask themselves what they would do if the government began to severely persecute Christians. Would they speak up? Would they help?
Several of the major characters in these books are not Christians themselves, yet they put themselves in great danger to help the Christians in the story.
I’m thankful that we can still worship freely in the United States, and I pray we never lose that freedom. We should pray for Christians in other countries who are already suffering and dying for their faith, and we should do everything in our power to prevent that persecution from ever happening here.