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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You know you're a ...

You know you are a Contemporary writer when… your characters could live next door.
You know you are an Inspirational writer when… you encourage the discouraged.
And, you know you are a romance writer when…two lives create a chemical called love and you write about their chemistry.
A professor asked his class, “Who are the people you’re most afraid of?” Forty percent of the class said Christians.
That tells me almost half of that class wouldn’t read my book; how uninspiring!
I once saw a picture of the Statue of Liberty when she was under reconstruction and completely surrounded by scaffolding.
I visualized the statue representing freedom, just as Jesus claims to offer. However upon further introspection, I began to see that scaffolding encasing Lady Liberty, as the traditions, practices and judgmental attitudes which enclose Him. My passion is for the reader to see Him.

Inspirations are wonderful surprises; they lift us up, touch every part of our being and can transform our life forever. My writing inspiration came after my husband Greg and I had moved from the city to a small town. I had suffered a life threatening stroke and knew I had to find a healthier place to live, to recover and to begin the healing. Ironically this was also the time when our youngest child, a daughter named Laura, was going off to college. Purposeless held my hand.
In the midst of this transition, someone told me to read The Prayer of Jabez for thirty days and that my life would change. On day twenty it did. At first I thought God must have mixed me up with someone else. Although, I loved the movies when the main character was a writer, I never imagined it could be me. Once I opened my mind to this possibility, I soon discovered that a new seed of hope had been planted in me. I began by writing my memoir. When I was about six weeks and sixty-five thousand words into it, I was so bored with myself that I wondered if I could make something up.
And then - BOOM! I’m not kidding, out of nowhere, came this run-on thought—movie like, that made me pause it around three in the morning. I hurried to the kitchen, made popcorn, poured myself a Coke and rushed to get back to it, hoping it would still be there—it was.
The next morning I was so excited to tell my daughter about my experience. We were driving home from vacating together. She looked at me like I was a foreigner, and then scowled when I got to the part about this professor who gets one of his students pregnant and has no desire to marry her.
“And, she decides to give the baby up for adoption.”
“Laura”, my voice began to quiver, “most of the story is about him and how he struggles with rejection and abandonment.”
“Mother! I can’t BELIEVE you would write about a professor having SEX with one of his students!”
Obviously, she was stuck on the sex part.
“I know,” I had moved on.
Even more obviously, my excitement was not climbing into her skin.
“So, does he find his birth mother like you did?” her tone softened,

“No,” I started to cry, “But he does find his father.”

"You’re crying about a guy in your head?”

“I know, but aren’t you sad, yet happy for him, too?”

“Mother, you’re weird.”

“I know and I think I’m going to get even weirder.”

Silence said a lot of things to both of us for quite a few miles.

Five years later I have one manuscript in its final draft and two first drafts almost completed. This has earned me the clout in my house to be weird.
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:10
Please share with me an inspiration you’ve had, I’ve love to hear it.
Helen Little


gcshaw said...

Your journey has been remarkable! I feel like I've been along for the ride - from being with you the night before your stroke to now - sharing your story this way. YOU are an inspiration to me.
I am happy to be your first post. I'm up 3 hours earlier here in Michigan so I have a head start!
Christie, your friend since Kindergarten!

Anonymous said...

My friends who have stayed faithful to Jesus over the years are my inspiration. They've been intentional to show HIM to their children, to their families, to their church communities, to their friends, to their neighbors. Their lives have not necessarily been easy, but their faithfulness has grown, as has their wisdom!

Thanks for including me, Helen.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Helen,
Inspiration, to me, comes in many forms. Seeing a baby toddle on shaky legs taking first steps, seeing the stroke survivor doing the same. Seeing a person create a new life after a life-altering event.
From my office, sitting in front of my computer a slight turn of my head to the right brings my backyard into view. I am inspired by the birds playing in the bird bath, the seasons of the year, the annuals who come back to life no matter how cold and harsh the winter.
And everyone who writes is an inspiration. It takes a dogged perseverance to finish a book and then go back and rewrite, edit and revise. So every book I read is an inspiration.
Great post! So glad you're a Genre-istas and my friend. Can't claim that since Kindergarten though, Christie has that one nailed.


Jill said...

My inspiration comes from being given the time to listen intentionally to those in my influence and show them I care. I might have wisdom for them or we might just agree to walk life together until we find answers and contentment. Either way it is ENOUGH because God is enough. You go girl, can't wait to buy your book! Jill Therriault

Sarah Raplee said...

The words 'The Fixer-Upper Boyfriend' popped into my head one day while I was adding 'toilet paper' to my grocery list. Those disembodied words inspired me to plan a YA romance - and its sequel!

Huh? Where'd that come from? I hade no idea, but the phrase sounded like a book title to me. That got me thinking about a story to go with the title. I was off and running and jotting things down as fast as my fingers could fly.

This has never happened before or since. I've heart of unanswered prayers. Maybe this was an un-prayed-for answer? Whatever it was, I'm thankful.

Tam Linsey said...

Your interactions with your daughter sound a lot like mine and my daughter. lol! Keep getting weirder if that's what it takes to write!

Anonymous said...

Its Great that you hung in there after your stroke, and as you do write you, stay true to your story line and your principles!

Sheila Goodwin said...

Can't wait to meet you one day! My favorite day was when I was petitioning God at a women's conference in Des Moines (feeling sorry for myself)and asked God to give me a sign. If I was truly supposed to be a writer then please have the speaker say my name. That would be my sign. Grant you I was in a crowd of about six hundred. Then I told the Lord I was truly sorry for asking Him to do anything. I felt horrible for having such shallow faith in God and in myself. I shed some tears and then began to listen to the speaker again moving past my selfish request. And then the speaker said, "And I met a woman named Sheila and I just want to tell her, keep it up, you're on the right tract, and keep knocking on those doors." I, of course, couldn't draw breath. It was inspiring...

Vonnie Alto said...

Off hand, I can't think of what inspires me--except good books. By the way, I never thought of love as a chemical. But if you reduce it to a chemical, think of all the plots it inspires.

Also, opening one's mind up to possibility can be inspiring and give one hope. That might be the "secret" to culling ideas from seemingly out of nowhere. It's because you're opening your soul and heart up to the possible--even the impossible because imagination and creativity knows no boundaries.

Anonymous said...

If your creativity with fun, laughter and sometimes “trouble” is anything like your writing, you will be a successful author. You are in the top ten of women I have enjoyed and respected because your great faith and playful spirit.
(You were my daughter Rachel’s Sunday school teacher who led her to Jesus. She too, is writing a romance/Christian faith based book.) I am looking forward to an autographed novel by Helen Little. Blessings, Julianne Lewis Drogin

Levi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Levi said...

Mom and Dad. I feel inspired by these two figures in my life. I know I would have never been able to look at my life the way I do now, and I don't believe I would be thinking about inspiration if not for you...I love you so dearly, and pray continually for you. Thank you for being my inspiration. I love you and I am pleased and blessed to call you mom.


Levi said...

Also the post that says deleted by author on may 26th at 6:20 pm, if it shows up, is by me. I messed up on my message and changed a couple of words. I LOVE YOU!

Rick & Laurie said...

Getting to know you has been an inspiration Helen. I'm glad God put me in your path for a listening ear, wise words, kindness, support and acceptance. You've helped me to view the Word in new ways and I feel it speaking to me stronger than ever. Listening to you talk about your book makes me can't wait to read it! Laurie

Anonymous said...

Hi Helen, your story, your life, and your book (which I can't wait to read) are all about invitation, and to me, they all echo the GREATEST INVITATION.
I couldn't think of a better title for YOUR book than Come In. It's what Christ keeps whispering to each of day, it'll be Come UP!
Until then, thanks for being such an inspiration!

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Helen, it's Michele. I'm at Judith's house, catching up on this wonderful site that she and Sarah put up. An inspiration put into motion.
Inspiration...I think of as "let Spirit in" or "being in Spirit", as in living in alignment with that wonderful, divine soul love energy that dances within us and all around us, whether we are aware of it or not. It is present for us. For each of us, it has a unique message as it whispers in our hearts. The question is not of it presence but of our willingness to listen.
And there is great joy to learn of the different ways people are inspired. I'm glad you are sharing yours and that Judith and Sarah created another avenue for people to share.

Michele Lauren