Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Candid Writing Moment with Anna Kittrell, author of the Redbend Series

Redbend High School Senior, Bianca Ravenwood, is the main character of Lineage, the third book in my YA Christian suspense series. The series follows three best friends through high school, with each book showcasing a grade level. Bianca is cynical, calculating, and strong. And I must admit, though I love all three of the girls, Bianca is the most fun to write.

Writing Lineage taught me a lot of things about Bianca that I hadn’t learned in the two previous Redbend High books, Witcha’be and DizzyBlonde. Bianca has an extremely commanding presence, and sort of controls situations from the shadows, which doesn’t require her to say much. But Lineage is Bianca’s story, so she was shoved stage center, into the spotlight, forced not only to speak, but to have her thoughts accessed by the reader (and the writer). 

On the surface, Bianca doesn’t appear to have many weaknesses. She’s confident, bold, secure in her own identity—and even knows Christ as her personal Savior. But as I grew to know Bianca better, I realized her strength is her weakness. Although she loves her dad and adores her friends, inside she longs for someone strong enough to hold her up and steady her feet. Someone to relate to, who truly understands her. A relationship that isn’t held together by a lot of touchy-feely mush, but is sustained by common interests and mutual respect. 

When a strong man named Chase Archer comes along with a cynical sense of humor and a headful of red hair—just like Bianca’s—and claims to be her biological father, she is more than a little confused…and a lot enthralled. She wants to know him better, and soon learns they share a passion for acting, a love of old movies, and are prone to say the exact same words at the exact same time. It’s like they’re connected at the brain. Just the way Satan likes it.

The need to belong. I believe this to be one of the hardest and cruelest ploys that Satan uses to drag us down. Relationship means the state of being related to something else, to have a significant connection. Everyone wants to belong in some way. To belong to a part of something greater, or maybe just to belong in a relationship with one person who understands where they’re coming from. In Bianca’s case, Chase used this innate need to manipulate Bianca, using her as a tool to get to what he really wanted. Even a person as streetwise and shrewd as Bianca can be blinded by the desire to connect.

In this excerpt from the ninth chapter of Lineage, Chase himself speaks to Bianca of Satan’s adaptability:

“Really, now. You don’t think the devil could walk right into your church and sit down in one of those padded pews? Or step behind the pulpit, for that matter? Or stand right beside you and breathe in your ear? The devil can be very convincing. A person might even think she was hearing from God, if she wasn’t careful.”

Through the writing of this book, I hope I have learned to keep my eyes opened a little bit wider, my ears piqued a little bit sharper, and my feet planted a little bit firmer. Using the need to belong, Satan weaves a powerful web. But, as usual, God provides a means of escape:

2 Timothy 3:12-14 (NIV)
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it…

“Continue in what you have learned…” That’s good advice. I’m so glad Bianca followed it.

Anna has written stories for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations, leftovers she was unable to sell on the playground for a dime, written in childish handwriting on notebook paper, bound with too many staples. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years. She is thrilled to learn some people now believe her tales to be worth more than ten cents.

 Anna resides in small town Oklahoma with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband Tim, and their teenaged daughter Brandilyn. Anna works as secretary of her hometown middle school—the greatest place on earth this side of Disney World.

WITCHA'BE is currently available for the astonishing price of $0.96 for your Kindle