Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. No Accounting for Murder and There Was a Crooked Man, books 1 and 2 in her By the Numbers series, released in the fall of 2015 Book 3, Unbalanced, released in January. Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, is due in April, with more planned for later dates. If you like accountants or are an accountant, check out Counting the Days: a 21-day devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk. Leeann and Donna have penned a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, and Donna has published a book of short stories, Second Chances and Second Cups. You can follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com and Donna at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com . All books are available at Amazon.com amzn.to/1RDQxsq and amzn.to/1Oq6Eoy in digital and print, and at Smashwords.com in digital.
Credibility in our Lives and in our Writing
By Leeann Betts
Court cases abound where one person alleges another has harmed them in some way, either through slander or liable. Police and criminal laboratories are under scrutiny because test results used to either convict or exonerate were proven to have been conducted in error, possibly negating the results. Patients wait for a life-or-death diagnosis based on biopsies, scans, and blood work. Juries determine the guilt or innocence of defendants based on evidence presented or exculpatory evidence withheld.
And within our personal relationships, marriages rise and fall on trust. People are hired and fired based on reputation. Friendships grow or die based on gossip.
Credibility is a really big thing.
If we don’t have credibility in our lives, people soon learn not to trust us. If we don’t do what we say we’re going to do, our family learns not to depend on us. And if we do things we said we weren’t going to do, they can’t hear what we’re telling them because our actions are speaking too loud.
In the same way, we must have credibility in our writing. This starts with the promise we make to our readers: this is a book you’re going to be glad you bought. You don’t want a reader to say, “I’m glad I borrowed that book. Imagine how bad I’d have felt if I paid for it.”
Readers are glad to buy a book that meets their requirements: to entertain; to educate; to edify.
As writers of Christian books, however, we must look to our reason for writing first: to point people to God.
I’m not talking about salvation scenes and dirty rotten scoundrels coming to Christ. We must reveal something about God to our readers that perhaps they didn’t know. Or didn’t realize they knew. Some aspect of His character, His good plans for them, His love for them, His grace and mercy, His love for justice, His compassion.
Then we must fulfill the promise that we know what we’re talking about. No matter whether we write historical or contemporary, we must know our characters, our setting, and the details of people living and working in that setting and time period.
In my most recent book, Unbalanced, Carly Turnquist, a forensic accountant, is scheduled to testify in an upcoming trial when her credibility is called into question. Not only is her good name besmirched, but her livelihood is threatened, which gets her hackles up. As a forensic accountant, she is an expert at finding hidden assets, and any blemish on her credibility negates her expert opinion. In order to maintain her credibility and ability to testify in court, she must find the “bad guy” and prove herself.
If you’re a writer, what promise do you make to your readers or, if you’re a reader, what promise do you want the author to fulfill for you in their story?
More about Unbalanced:
Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, is at home in Bear Cove, Maine, happily planning her son’s wedding, when she sees a bank robbery. The only problem is that nobody else sees the robbery, and when she tries to investigate, her credibility is called into question. Add into the mix her husband’s long-lost brother who turns up then promptly leaves town, neglecting to take his young son with him, and Carly is up to her ears again in mystery and intrigue. Can Carly prove she isn’t losing her mind, or will she lose her career in the bargain?
Thanks for joining us, Leeann.