Friday, June 15, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Nuggets from Nikki Arana

Here's Nikki. Creative answers to the standard dregs... enjoy.

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day?

Did you know there are 120 colors in the biggest box of Crayola crayons? Out of those, I think I would choose Wild Blue Yonder. That color was added in 2003! I consider it a good day when my mind is out in the wild blue yonder. That’s were I often find story ideas, plot twists, and unusual characters. It always means a good day of writing.

Bad day?

That would have to be Tumbleweed. That was added in 1993, by the way. A bad day is when I can’t focus and just randomly roll around a beige day, getting nothing done.

Which one do you aspire to be?

I aspire to be that crayon in the box that was often found to be just the color needed, that never broke under the pressure of the user’s hand, and when the box of crayons was put away for the very last time, it was the crayon that was completely used up.

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe.

Okay, this was a toughie. I closed my eyes and found a periwinkle giraffe waiting there! Yep, there he was, beneath a cloudless silver sky where the sun glittered instead of glowed. He was standing next to a huge white pony that had a chartreuse mane and tail. They were looking into a massive leafy tree at a vermillion chipmunk. And the leaves of the tree swayed in time to the music in the air. Oomp-pah-pah, oomp-pa-pa.

And why did you pick that one?

As you probably noticed, I didn’t pick him, he picked me. I think this is something many writers experience when they create fiction. The characters find you and tell you their story.

If you were assured of writing a best seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

It would be women’s fiction. Through the use of story, it would call the American Christian church to reach out and support the Muslims in the United States who accept Christ as their Savior. Muslims who convert to Christianity often pay with their lives. There is a need for safe houses to shelter them as they start their lives anew as followers of Christ. I believe God is looking for willing hearts. Christians who will offer their homes to give the Muslim Background Believers safety.

Glimpse of a scene: “You should be at home caring for your brothers and sisters.” Her uncle’s face darkened. “Why have you shamed us? You know these Christians are infidels.” He stepped closer to her, his voice rising. “Look at yourself. Look how you’re dressed. Out here exposing yourself to the eyes of men.”

These were the lies of the enemy and they no longer had power over her. Sabirah stood her ground and held his gaze. “I found Jesus and true peace.”

His eyes widened with rage as he slapped her. “You shame your father. Disgrace your family. You disgrace Islam.”

His words came out a curse. Then he grabbed her wrist and the muzzle of a gun suddenly moved toward her face.

The certainty of death sucked her breath from her lungs.

“You must die to restore your family’s honor. It is my duty before Allah.”
He jerked her to her knees. “Allahu akbar.”

She felt the cold metal mouth of the gun press into her scalp and asphalt cut into her legs. “Jesus is my Savior—”

The pressure on the top of her head exploded into a million shards of light as the rush of a mighty wind encircled her, drawing her from her body, gathering her with dominion and power to eternity and the presence of the Father. Leaving but an empty shell in the hands of her accuser.

As the things of the world fell away, there, in the expanse between life and death, she saw a legion of angels sweeping over the face of the earth, empowered by the Spirit of God, seeking a willing heart. Just one Believer willing to be used. To be a vessel for the covenant of God and provide safety to His people.

The shadow of an angel’s wing fell across the moon, dimming it. One willing heart, for the safety of God’s people.

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (Epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

I would still write fiction from a Christian worldview. But there would be main characters who seek God, but never find Him, find God and then forsake Him, fall in love with the wrong people and marry them. Books that tell the stories of people who never find His peace. Books that challenge the reader to understand why.

What makes you feel alive?

This is easy. Walking down a tree-lined street, late in the afternoon, with a crisp October breeze at my back, and the promise of morning frost in the air.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

This is actually something I have thought about from time to time. I am very clear that the convictions of my heart come about by the revelation of truth. I first am drawn to something. A person, a story idea, an issue. Then as I think about it I seek God for direction. It is during that time that His Spirit will touch my spirit, and I will see a truth about the matter. The wounding in a person’s heart, the spiritual parallel woven through a slice of life, or the biblical principles that define an issue. Then that nugget of truth inspires me and takes me on a journey where I engage the revelation through speaking, writing, or living my life.

Favorite season and why?

As you might have guessed from a previous answer, my favorite season is fall. I absolutely love the fall colors, that frosty bite in the wind, and the reminder that warm, cozy winter evenings will follow . . . which will be spent with my husband. He’s my best friend and closest confidant.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

I really, really dislike business cocktail parties, or any of those little business-related gatherings such as take place at conventions, where you must mix with people you don’t know, chitchat about things that have zero meaning in your life, and pretend the whole thing is fascinating. I’d rather eat dirt. Throw me into a philosophical conversation about politics, religion, or the meaning of life among a bunch of people who are passionate about the subject and speak their mind. Now that’s what I call a fun evening!

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

When people let you know that you have made a difference in their lives, that you indeed have been used by God through your writing . . . well, there’s nothing like it. It makes all the sacrifice worthwhile. I received the following from a reader who had read my Regalo Grande Series.

“Your books helped me to intercede for my family during this difficult battle. Your openness about interceding and trusting in God inspired me beyond words and called me to higher level of prayer, praise, and worship unto God. The character, Maclovia, once said in the book that she sought the face of God before seeking His hands. Those words spoke to my spirit and opened my eyes to a new relationship with God. Sam's death is my first experience with losing someone close to me.

I am sure you knew God would use your books to inspire others but, I hope you realize that God used them to do much more for me. I believe God intentionally brought your books into my life exactly when I needed them. I am very thankful for your willingness to be used by God and to be directed by His Holy Spirit in your writings.”

What is your favorite word?

Alchemy. It means “any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.” I was writing a scene about what is revealed when we die. What understandings do we have that we will never have on this earth? I wanted to mention the understanding that we are truly forgiven. But how does that happen? How does our asking actually cause the thing to be done? What is that process called? I settled on the word alchemy. The words came out this way in In the Shade of the Jacaranda:

Instantly, she understood the mysteries of life. Eternal truths. The alchemy of forgiveness. The resurrecting power of love. Above her the sky opened like a scroll, revealing a Kingdom . . .

Have a great weekend, Dreggers. And thanks, Nikki. It's been fun.