Friday, June 25, 2010

The Weight of Shadows

The Weight of Shadows

: Alison Strobel

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: May 7, 2010

Paperback, 320 pages

ISBN: 978-0310289456

I don't generally read a lot of Christian fiction. To put that more accurately, until recently I hadn't picked up a work of Christian fiction since I was still babysitting my cousins at their house (the youngest of these cousins has just finished grade 9, the oldest, her first year of university). I don't have anything against religious fiction as a rule; it's just that I rarely have occasion to read it. With Alison Strobel's The Weight of Shadows, the occasion found me - and I'm glad that it did.

The first thing that struck me about this book was how quickly I found myself caring about the characters. Not because they're the most amazing, wonderful, likeable people in the world, but, actually, because they're not. The characters in this book are, really, just people. They struggle. They make mistakes, like everyone else, some huge and life-altering and others mundane and inconsequential, but all of them mistakes that real people would make. Throughout the book, and especially toward the end, I found myself silently cheering them on or telling them off and willing them to make what seemed so obviously to be the right choices.

By the second chapter, the importance of the author's faith to her, and the roll it plays in her writing, is evident. Regardless of my own beliefs, I found myself awed by her expressions of that faith, from the inner thoughts and feelings of her three main characters to the little (but heartfelt) prayers that they utter throughout the entire novel. Before the three seemingly insular story lines start to intersect, they're held together by these thoughts, feelings and prayers.

I can only imagine the painstaking research that must have gone into making The Weight of Shadows the book that it is. Strobel offers readers a detailed look into the life and motivations of a battered woman, the workings of a shelter and the emotions of people trying to cope with long-standing guilt.

The Weight of Shadows is an interesting study in faith, love and the interdependence of people, thoroughly researched and uniquely executed. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.

About the author:
Alison inherited the writing gene from her father, Lee, and grew up composing stories on everything from napkins to typewriters. Her talent earned her awards throughout school, a two page spread featuring her work in her senior yearbook, and even saved her from failing college chemistry. But it wasn't until she moved to California after college that she wrote her first full-length novel, and that's when God made Alison's oldest dream come true.

--From Alison's website,

For more information about the book, the author or the tour, check out Alison's Blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Quick Reminder...

Just wanted to remind everyone that Saturday is Devereaux Court's stop on the blog tour for Alison Strobel's The Weight of Shadows, and that everyone who comments on the post will be eligible to win a copy of the book.

Also, on July 18, one week after the close of the tour, the author will choose one commenter from a randomly selected blog to receive either autographed copies of her first three books or a gift card to his/her favourite bookstore.

This is a pretty sweet offer, so, let everyone you know know.

Ps, while I'm reminding you about things, another reminder that inviting other writers to join our merry gang is both allowed and encouraged.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Double-Shameless Plug

So now I'm at the point where I'm shamelessly plugging a product which I created for the sole purpose of shamelessly plugging my book, but what can you do?

As much as it sucks, humble authors are often unknown authors, and I have to get myself resigned to the idea that in order to succeed, I may have to spend a lot of my time telling people how great I am, shamelessly plugging my own work and (and this really scares me) asking other people to plug it for me.

So, I guess the question I really need to ask myself is is it worth it? Is my writing really good enough to warrant asking other people to stand behind it? I think that it is. I don't think I'm being conceited - I really hope that I'm not - but if I didn't believe in what I was writing, what would be the point? There are plenty of other, better paying jobs that I could get if I was willing to work toward them, but my writing is a part of me, hopefully a part that does me credit.

In a round about way, that brings me to something I've been meaning to mention about our ten rules discussion. When I started writing my post, I had one rule in mind, which, due to all of the other things I came up with, I ended up forgetting about. It was this: Never apologize for your writing. Telling someone something is rough is fine, but don't say you're sorry. Never use the word just about your writing. "It's just a rough draft" takes away from its importance. It's not just anything.

I'm not saying that writers should expect other people to love everything about their writing, or that they shouldn't accept criticism with an open mind, but I think knowing that a piece is important, that it's worth the time and effort to polish it, is good for a writer's soul.

This post got really far off topic. Its original point was to plug the Aigaion Girl tote bag which is now available for purchase. It kind of got away from me - but I won't apologize for that ;)