Confessions of a Suspense Addict…by Peggy Levesque
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t an avid reader, beginning with Little Golden Books as an early gradeschooler.
As I grew old enough, I made the mile-long trek to the library with a little neighborhood gang of four or five other kids. During summers, every two weeks we exchanged one stack of books for another. When we didn’t have a game of workup baseball going in the street, or maybe kick-the-can, I spent my time reading beneath the shade elm in our front yard or in my bedroom with the radio playing softly in the background.
This is how I met Nancy Drew. With Nancy, I went on spine-chilling adventures, searching out clues to solve a variety of mysteries. I felt the tingle across my skin, the lump of fear and excitement in my chest, as we made one eerie discovery after another. And I fell in love—with the suspense of it all.
My sister and I made up our own adventures and acted them out, mostly at our grandparents’ home. Built in the 1920s, their house offered a curved stair banister and lots of nooks and crannies to feed our active imaginations. Then there was the ginormous red furnace—with octopus arms reaching toward the ceiling—in the basement to add the air of danger. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that we always solved the case.
As an adult, I read a wide variety of genres that opened new vistas for me, took me places I would otherwise never get a glimpse of. But never lost my addiction for suspense.
As my faith matured, however, I began to miss the anchor of a wise and caring God in the stories I read. How could anyone get through all those harrowing experiences without knowing that the Jesus I knew stood in their corner? In my world, they couldn’t—not without losing their minds.
Eventually, I discovered faith-based fiction. And, as I read, a seed of an idea took root and grew. Maybe I could dig deep into the well of that suspense I loved and tell stories where people get into trouble—lots of trouble, and often as a result of their own choices—with Jesus standing right there, ready to offer hope and peace to those who call on him. Well, along with a few doses of His guidance of course.
I remember praying, and asking, “Can I do this, Jesus? Can I really hold out our ultimate hope through story?”
As time went by, the questions evolved into a compelling need, almost as though God, Himself, had planted the new and intimidating dream in my head. I simply had to proceed, but I knew that if I were to succeed, it had to be His dream for me as well. Hanging on to Psalm 37:4— Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (ESV)—I went to work on doing the impossible.
It took years, and many lessons in humility that continue to this day, but at the end, I had the completed manuscript for Ashes in the Wind.
Now you know how I set out to write the great American—Christian—novel. Do you have a dream that uses the gifts God has given you? Ask God to lead the way and act on it. If He’s in it with you, and you push through all the doubts that will inevitably haunt you, I’m convinced you can accomplish the impossible, too.
Oh, yeah–Nancy Drew! I recognize “The Hidden Staircase”. I think I borrowed the upper right one from the library, then my mother eventually bought me the lower left one. I owned a few Nancy Drew books, but read them all from the library. I went to the library almost every day during the summer months. New Jersey was so hot and humid, and the library had air conditioning. I’d bring a brown grocery bag with me, take out ten books, read some of them there, take the rest home to read, and go back the next day to return them and get more. My friend Mary Clare lived near the library, and she was also a heavy reader. We often went to the library together.
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Fun memories, Andrea. So much like mine. 🙂
Fun memories…the thrill of a stack of books from the library. Warsaw, Indiana built a new library and a McDonald’s now sits on the old site. Loved Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, etc. And I love your book!!
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Sad that so few of our kids today won’t have those library memories to carry into adulthood. Thanks for the book endorsement!
My brave and brilliant friend Peggy! So proud of you! And I must say, you nailed it with “Ashes in the Wind”—any other suspense addicts out there will love it!
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Brave and brilliant? Really? *buttons popping* Thanks, Carol, for that endorsement.
Other than the Bible, I read more Nancy Drew than any other books. Junior high was an excellent period of my life, at least in the fictional world. I’m glad you kept on the twisty road. Can I say the dark and twisty road?