The story of
Rebekah was a lost soul wandering the infamous Wells Street in Chicago when a traveling street mission from the small town of Clifton, Illinois, saved her soul and she was reborn in Christ. Now writing from her Victorian bed and breakfast, she enjoys telling stories that celebrate the important lessons to be learned from Christ by believers and non-believers alike—unique and powerful stories that entertain, uplift, and inspire.
Some of Rebekah's favorite movies are War Room, God's Not Dead, and Overcomer. She also enjoys books about other belief systems that offer valuable insight and lessons for living a better life with greater understanding, including The Hundred Secret Senses (Amy Tan), Among the Believers (V.S. Naipaul), and a many books describing Buddhist teachings.
Questions & Answers
Are any of your books/stories inspired by events in your life?
In my book Walking with the Prophets, I take the “bolt of lightning” conversion story of Saul to the apostle Paul and bring it to modern times. It’s the story of someone that was a very bad man, not just a sinner but a very bad, unredeemable sinner that is never-the-less redeemed. And not redeemed by anything that he did. The redemption isn’t earned. It’s given, forced almost, as a gift from God. I’ve obviously never been through exactly that, but in my youth I was very definitely a sinner, perhaps a similarly unredeemable sinner. I was hanging out on Wells Street in Chicago, which was roughly the Chicago equivalent of Sodom and Gomora. And by hanging out, I mean quite literally sitting in a gutter with a bottle in my hand. A bus unloaded a group of clean-cut young people from a small farming town in downstate Illinois, there on a street mission. I’m talking tambourines, bible thumping, the whole works. And a mental lightning bolt woke me up to my situation, and what I needed to do. So, I found Jesus, got on that bus, and joined that group long enough to get my act in life together. But instead of stopping there, I found on-going inspiration from other religious and spiritual leaders through the ages. That experience was the jumping off point for Walking.
What themes are you drawn to?
Spirituality, inspiration, and learning the deeper lessons that often come from our difficulties in life. When things are going well, and your life is perfect, it might be pleasant but it’s unlikely that you’re growing, evolving, developing. Species are forced to adapt when they’re under pressure, not when things are easy. I like to create stories where people are forced to adapt, where they come out the other side a stronger, better person. Because I think that’s very much how real life works.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while crafting your books?
When I decided to write Miracle, the core idea was to explore different perspectives of the value of a human life. As I got into the story, I was really amazed to discover just how complex of a question this is, and how varied the answer was. There are places and situations where a human life is worth a five-gallon jug of water, a few pills, a bottle of liquor. So certainly, less than $100. Then you have situations where hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to prolong a life by a few months. You have U.S. Federal government economists that have valued a human life at between $9.3M and $9.7M dollars, depending on the agency doing the calculations. (The EPA thinks you’re worth more than the FDA, so maybe there’s something important there.) The moral, ethical, and economic impact of this whole topic is really quite fascinating to me.
When did you first call yourself a writer?
I first became serious about writing as a poet. I was reading a lot of books of poetry (hundreds). In most cases I found that there would only be a handful of poems that really spoke to me, but those were sufficiently powerful to justify my time reading the book to discover them. It was somewhat like searching a field of rocks to discover those occasional gems. The hunt was part of the fun. From there, I transitioned to writing a poem a day for a year. That was a very powerful exercise for me. Like journaling, but even more so.
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
My natural tendency is to focus on plot and world. I think visually, so what my mind sees is the world and things happening in that world. As I’ve continued writing, I’ve discovered that it’s really all about character. And it’s not enough to focus on what a character does or says. I need to get deep into each character, make them real people (for me, and for the reader).