guest post | difficult fiction (and why you should read it) by m.c. kennedy
Hello, hello, all! I'm super excited to have M.C. Kennedy on today! She's got a wonderful post for us, which I think will inspire and resonate with most (if not all) of y'all! If you've missed it, be sure to check out my spotlight of her latest release, A Bird in the Snow, to catch up on the blog tour + learn more about ABitS and M.C. Kennedy!
difficult fiction (and why you should read it)
by m.c. kennedy
How many of you like to talk about difficult things?
There’s probably one or two of you who raised your (virtual) hands. But for most of us, the thought of discussing hard topics makes us squirm. We don’t want to think about hard stuff, much less talk about it. It’s so much easier to discuss the weather or the state of the roads or puppies or… anything, really, so long as it’s happy and lighthearted.
But while there’s certainly a place for conversations like those, we also need to make a point of talking about more difficult topics. Things like abortion, murder, pre-marital sex, self-hatred… You get the ugly picture.
Why are these important, though? Why is it necessary to spend time focused on these harsh realities? The Bible tells us to think about things that are pure and good and right. How does that leave any space for these hideous things?
Paul does indeed instruct us in Philippians 4 to dwell on things that are lovely. But the majority of the Bible is filled with things that, when we stop and really look at what’s going on, should make us deeply uncomfortable. (Ever read Ezekiel 16? That’ll make you squirm.) The point is not for us to wallow in the darkness, though. Rather, if we are to understand what it fully means for us as Christians to be saved, we must first grasp what it is that we have been saved from.
And that’s where fiction that deals with difficult topics (like the ones mentioned above) comes in. Most of us won’t take kindly to a lecture on how bad we are and how we should repent immediately. But maybe, just maybe, we’ll read a story that shows a character (or multiple characters) behaving in sinful ways and receiving the just consequences for their actions. Maybe we’ll respond to that more than to anything else.
The theme verse for A Bird in the Snow, my lately-released novel, is Luke 7:47, which reads, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” This verse made a big impact on me during a time when I was really struggling with the reality of my sin. As I got to know Jesus better, I became more aware of all the ways I was falling short of His perfect standard, and it drove me mad. What kind of a Christian was I if I kept sinning every day, knowing what I should be doing and yet choosing to do the opposite? How could God ever forgive me for what I had done?
Enter Luke 7:47. The “her” in this verse is a prostitute who has come to Jesus while He’s eating dinner with some of the religious leaders. While they’re arguing with Him about His teachings, this woman kneels before Jesus and begins to weep, washing His feet with expensive ointment and wiping them with her hair. She grieves because of her sins, but she loves Jesus fiercely because she knows exactly what He has forgiven her for.
This story changed my perspective. Yes, my sins were horrible. I had done things that broke God’s heart, things that I deserved to be severely punished for. And yet, God had chosen to forgive me! I still dealt with the consequences of my sin, I still struggled with the reality of my sinful nature, but they no longer held any power over me. For God did not condemn me. More than that, God loved me—loved me!—and called me His own beloved child, His special inheritance. It doesn’t make any sense. It shouldn’t be possible. But such is God’s unfathomable grace, that He saves those who know they don’t deserve it and promises them that He remembers their sins no more.
A Bird in the Snow is at its heart a story about the consequences of moral failure. Each of the characters has done something he or she deeply regrets, and each now has to live with the consequences of those actions.
But the story doesn’t leave them in the darkness of despair that comes from recognizing our own failings. Because this is also a story about how forgiveness is for those who deserve it the least. It’s a story about learning to admit that we have done wrong and turning away the desires that led us to do wrong in the first place. It’s a story about how no sin is too great to be forgiven.
My prayer is that you will discover through this made-up story how much God loves you. May you realize that no wrong is too much for Him. May you learn to see the ugliness of your sin not as a blemish upon your past but as a catalyst to love God with an unquenchable devotion—for you know full well who you were and know that somehow God has forgiven you anyway.
~ the author ~
M. C. Kennedy fell in love with fantasy at nine years old after reading The Lord of the Rings. She now strives to reflect her Creator by dreaming up fictional realms that point readers to His truths in the real world. When she’s not roaming through fanciful forests, struggling to understand Greek and Hebrew, or geeking out over one of her many fandoms, she loves to connect with readers on her website or her various social media platforms.
~ the book ~
Can even the worst mistakes be forgiven?
Ean Cochall has lived in the wilderness for two years, providing for the needy by day and assassinating rogues by night. It's all in pursuit of one thing: justice. So when he's approached by a mysterious figure and asked to kill a fae accused of crimes against the Gwyns, he readily accepts.
Murrin has fled to the wilderness to hide from someone who seeks her life. She has the name of a fey who can protect her: Ean Cochall, leader of the outlaw band the Green Company. What she doesn't know is that Ean already knows about her—and he was just hired to kill her.
As dark secrets come to light and old ghosts rise from the dead, will Ean uncover the truth? Or will his own mistakes come back to haunt him, making justice something not even he wants to achieve?
~ the giveaway ~
In honor of the tour, M.C. Kennedy is hosting an EPIC giveaway! There will be both a US and an international winner—woohoo! The US winner will receive a paperback copy of A Bird in the Snow + three themed bookmarks and a character card. And the international winner will receive an ebook copy of A Bird in the Snow + three printable themed bookmarks and digital character art! Enter for a chance to win below!
~ the tour ~
Saturday, September 9
Kickoff post at Graceful Reflections
Monday, September 11
Spotlight at Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Tuesday, September 12
Review at Story of a Christian Girl
Wednesday, September 13
Interview at Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Spotlight at Of Blades and Thorns
Thursday, September 14
Spotlight at Kristina Hall
Review at Lillian Estrada
Friday, September 15
Spotlight at Lilacs and Reveries
Guest Post at Of Blades and Thorns
Saturday, September 16
Guest Post at Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Spotlight at Saraina Whitney
Wrapup Post at Graceful Reflections
What's a book that's challenged or convicted you? How has fiction impacted the way you see the world, sin, yourself, or your relationship with God? If you're a writer, how do you weave powerful themes or tackle tough topics in your stories? Let us know down below!