Confessions of a Suspense Addict…by Peggy Levesque
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t an avid reader, beginning with Little Golden Books as an early gradeschooler.
As I grew old enough, I made the mile-long trek to the library with a little neighborhood gang of four or five other kids. During summers, every two weeks we exchanged one stack of books for another. When we didn’t have a game of workup baseball going in the street, or maybe kick-the-can, I spent my time reading beneath the shade elm in our front yard or in my bedroom with the radio playing softly in the background.
This is how I met Nancy Drew. With Nancy, I went on spine-chilling adventures, searching out clues to solve a variety of mysteries. I felt the tingle across my skin, the lump of fear and excitement in my chest, as we made one eerie discovery after another. And I fell in love—with the suspense of it all.
My sister and I made up our own adventures and acted them out, mostly at our grandparents’ home. Built in the 1920s, their house offered a curved stair banister and lots of nooks and crannies to feed our active imaginations. Then there was the ginormous red furnace—with octopus arms reaching toward the ceiling—in the basement to add the air of danger. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that we always solved the case.
As an adult, I read a wide variety of genres that opened new vistas for me, took me places I would otherwise never get a glimpse of. But never lost my addiction for suspense.
As my faith matured, however, I began to miss the anchor of a wise and caring God in the stories I read. How could anyone get through all those harrowing experiences without knowing that the Jesus I knew stood in their corner? In my world, they couldn’t—not without losing their minds.
Eventually, I discovered faith-based fiction. And, as I read, a seed of an idea took root and grew. Maybe I could dig deep into the well of that suspense I loved and tell stories where people get into trouble—lots of trouble, and often as a result of their own choices—with Jesus standing right there, ready to offer hope and peace to those who call on him. Well, along with a few doses of His guidance of course.
I remember praying, and asking, “Can I do this, Jesus? Can I really hold out our ultimate hope through story?”
As time went by, the questions evolved into a compelling need, almost as though God, Himself, had planted the new and intimidating dream in my head. I simply had to proceed, but I knew that if I were to succeed, it had to be His dream for me as well. Hanging on to Psalm 37:4— Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (ESV)—I went to work on doing the impossible.
Now you know how I set out to write the great American—Christian—novel. Do you have a dream that uses the gifts God has given you? Ask God to lead the way and act on it. If He’s in it with you, and you push through all the doubts that will inevitably haunt you, I’m convinced you can accomplish the impossible, too.