Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lessons from a mean character

Hi Everyone,

Danica Favorite here, and I have a confession to make: my May book, An Unlikely Mother, wasn't supposed to be written. For those of you who've read my Leadville books, you know that Flora Montgomery wasn't a very nice person. In fact, she was kind of a troublemaker. Definitely NOT heroine material. But as I was contemplating what to write, she kept bugging me, saying that she wasn't the person I'd pegged her as.

Well, okay, she was. But she wanted the chance to prove herself, to show that she, too, was worthy of her very own HEA. So I listened. And I wrote. And Flora got her own story.

One of the interesting things about my writing process is that I never go into it with an idea of what the spiritual thread is. When I do, the book doesn't go right until I let my own idea of what it's supposed to be go, and I let God in. God always finds a way to get into my heart and teach me a lesson about who He is as I'm writing the book, and there, the spiritual thread is born.

Writing Flora's story taught me a lot. But I think the biggest personal takeaway is that we can't underestimate people (or our characters). Flora had a good heart, and while she wasn't the nicest person in earlier books, her greatest desire was to honor God.

There's a person in my life who isn't always the nicest person. Actually, he can be kind of mean. I was talking to a friend the other day, and this person came up in conversation. My friend was upset at how mean he'd been in a recent interaction, and while I sympathized with her, I told her that I had a soft spot for him because I could see underneath the meanness, and I knew that deep down, he had a sad life and that his meanness was a response to the lack of control he has over the sad things. Now, I honestly don't know all the details of the sadness in his life, and we didn't discuss any of that, but it felt good to step outside the usual judgment of "this guy is mean," and see that there's something deeper.

Is there a mean person in your life?

We all seem to have that mean person who drives us crazy that we can't get rid of. A friend of mine once told me that God puts those people in our lives to teach us something. I'll admit that I don't always figure out the lesson of some of the mean people, and I don't always have patience when dealing with them. But I'm learning that the meanness of others says a lot more about them than it says about you.

My encouragement for you is that when you're faced with a mean person, or someone who rubs you the wrong way, take a step back, and try to remember that their behavior isn't about you, but about them. Try to see that person through God's eyes, as someone broken and in need of God's transformational love and grace. I want to add that it doesn't mean that you put up with an abusive situation. Even if you have to love someone from afar, you can pray and ask God to give that person what they need.

I hope you all enjoy Flora's story. More importantly, I pray that God will give you what you need in the areas of your life that need transformation. It's how Flora became the heroine of her own story, and how we can become the heroes of our own.

Be sure to enter my giveaway below, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on learning to love difficult people.

About the book:

Bound by a Child 
Hoping to overcome her reputation as Leadville, Colorado's biggest gossip, wealthy socialite Flora Montgomery offers to help a miner care for an abandoned child. But her growing affection for the sweet boy's handsome rescuer could be a problem. Especially since her parents insist she must marry for money.
Undercover mine owner George Baxter is digging himself into a dilemma. The once-spoiled Flora has become a delightful, generous woman, and she'll be devastated by his deception. Yet if he can't discover who's sabotaging the mine, George will lose any chance of making a home for Flora and Pierre. Can the little boy who holds both their hearts help them lay claim to a new dream of family?

You can purchase it on Amazon, or anywhere else Love Inspired Historical books are sold:

About Danica:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.
You can connect with Danica at the following places:

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  1. Danica, thanks for providing such a thoughtful post today. I love when characters start talking to me. Sounds as if Flora wanted her story told.

    As you mentioned, understanding why people act and react the way they do helps me accept them for who they are. We're all flawed. I hope they overlook my rough spots just as I try to overlook theirs.

  2. Danica, what a great post and so true. We all have people in our lives that can get to us, but as you've said, you never know what that person is going through in their own life. Thank you so much for sharing and for giving us an insight into Flora.

  3. I love looking beneath the surface of characters (and people) who rub us the wrong way. What a valuable reminder, Danica! When those people are close to us, it's difficult to step back from the emotional and see them through God's eyes, yet that is what we are called to do. I'm so glad you told Flora's story.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Danica. I love it when characters grow and change. It shows us that we can overcome our less desirable traits, too.

  5. I had a character like that. I had to tell his story although he had problems. I really enjoyed writing it because God gives people second and third chances.

  6. Isn't it a joy to see people change for the better through a process of faith...both real and imaginary? Sounds like a terrific story, Danica!

  7. Thanks everyone! Yes! I'm so glad you can relate. I'm definitely glad for the many chances God gives us, because I know I need them!

  8. Love this! Thank you Danica for speaking truth about how we view others. I'm excited to read Flora's story!

  9. I can't recall a mean girl being transformed.
    When I had to go back to work after several years not working, I could not believe how some people treated others.
    One person read Christian fiction with prayers and scriptures and I never could understand why they struck out with words to hurt folks. There were others who started trouble needlessly too.
    But I met some very good, likeable people in the midst of the bad apples.
    I really enjoyed your article about mean people. One friend long ago would tell me that we never know how quickly a person may be repenting for the things they do and say.
    I tend to want to apply that scripture about bring forth fruit fit for repentance. But I know I'm not at all perfect so I try to be merciful sometimes, anyway.

  10. Albst, I'm with you. It's sad how people start trouble needlessly.

    I don't understand mean people, but the thorn in my side is my complete distaste for individuals who "use" others. Very hard to pray for them when they "use" over and over.

    Great post, Danica.

  11. I had to work with a particularly unpleasant coworker last year. As a result, I pasted a post-it note above my computer, Romans 15:7 "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." It helped!

  12. Awesome article, Danica! One helpful both for writing and for real life!


  13. I adore this topic and post. Redemption! There's nothing more powerful. I used to work with a very nasty co-worker. She used to walk around saying cheery things like "Happy Monday" and "Life is what you make it" but behind the scenes was pulling strings and being nasty.

    I love how you made Flora a heroine and redeemed her. Kindness never costs anyone a thing!

  14. What a wonderful and thoughtful post, Danica. I have learned to be very careful about the characters I write into stories because I've had this experience--and me thinking, no, no, no, not THIS guy. And like you, my spiritual themes are subconscious (a problem for Art Fact Sheets, which are generally done before the book is finished!)

  15. Delightful post today, Danica. I need to remember not to be "the mean guy" myself. I know we always look at others, but everyone has the capacity to be "the mean guy" and some point or other. Thanks for inspiring me to remember not to do that and to have more faith in God. Loved your post today!

  16. I loved your post, Danica! I've thought of these very same feelings on many occasions. I've even talked to people about them! I've tried really hard in my life to "overlook" the meanness in others and say a kind word back to someone being mean or just smile at them. I know something in their life must have hurt them or "made them" that way. My parents taught me over and over, "the golden rule" and I've tried to live it! Thanks for reminding me to continue living it!

  17. Sounds like a wonderful story, Danica! I can't wait to read it!

  18. Great post. I've had mean characters who get their own books. I've modeled characters after mean people, too. We have to love the sweet parts.

  19. Thank you everyone for your comments, I meant to come back in sooner and thank you all, but it's been a crazy week. My daughter is in a play next week, and with all the extra rehearsals, I feel like I'm starting to be one with my car!

    Albst, I'm so sorry you have to deal with people like that. I've definitely had my share of them in my life as well. It's been really helpful for me to view them the way I have learned to see Flora. She says this great thing in one of the books, which I don't remember word for word, but it was something about how she was just trying to get people to stop sinning. What Flora learned, and what I have learned, is that it's not meanness that gets people to stop, but love. <3 It sounds like you've learned that in your own life.

    Pamela, I'm right there with you on "users." It's funny that you say that, because there's one in my life who came as a wolf in sheep's clothing, so I've had to do a lot of praying. And, even now as I type this, I'm realizing I haven't really given my heart to God on this matter as I should have.

    Evelyn, wonderful tip!! In my old office, I had a lot of post-its like that, but I haven't put them back up since I moved in to my new office. I need to get back to that!

    Belle, our love of redemption is one more reason we're friends! And yes, kindness doesn't cost us anything, so we should give lavishly!

    Thanks Deb! Yeah, I'm learning not to say to no to things like that, because God is really funny in how He makes me do them anyway!

    Leigh, so true!

    Valri, what a great way to look at it!

    Thanks Stephanie!

    Lenora, I love that!

  20. We've probably all be a little "mean" at times but we change as we grow in God. jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

  21. I'm a little late to this discussion, but I had to say I love this, Danica!! I can't wait to read Flora's HEA.

  22. Hmmm, I have seem people mature past certain spots in their life however; "mean", no, I have not seen a person change past that. One of those skin deep things.

  23. Everyone should be kind and not judge until you've walked in the other persons shoes~ I have had many people be mean to me growing up... I'm glad I've kept my faith in God!

  24. I can't think of an example at this moment, but I'm sure one will come to me at a time when I least expect it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book.


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