A Dozen Apologies Spotlight: Author Theresa Anderson

2014 February 14
by faylamb

Theresa AndersonToday’s spotlight shines on Theresa Anderson, a former chiropractor turned writer, editor, and homeschool educator. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Christian Communicator magazine, ChristianDevotions.us, and Relief Notes, an anthology. An active member of the Christian Authors Guild, Theresa has served as its newsletter editor and webmaster, and is an Apprentice graduate of Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She currently serves on the Women’s Ministry Teaching Team of her church. Theresa is passionate about living a natural, healthy lifestyle. She enjoys baking, gardening, chicken farming, and filling up her husband’s to-do list. Theresa resides in the Atlanta area with her husband Michael, two children, and one aloof cat. You can connect with Theresa at her website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Can I really say that my character, Ted Rivers, is a complete fake—a figment of my imagination? Shouldn’t I impress others by describing the process of developing my character? This was my self-questioning, or self-interrogation, as I struggled with insecurity in my newbie fiction writer status, and lacked an intelligent strategy to create my character.

As a non-fiction writer, I deal with real life. Facts. Research. Tangible issues and practical solutions affecting the lives of real people; walking, talking, breathing humans, not fictitious characters. At a writer’s conference over one year ago, I drove two faculty members from the airport to the conference location. The conversation in the car turned to fiction books: what manuscripts these individuals were reading, and what novels they liked. They asked my opinion. My response, “I don’t do fiction. I don’t read it. I don’t write it.” I continued my dogmatic stance, “I don’t like getting wrapped up emotionally in a character and a story that isn’t real.”

One thing I’ve learned in my relationship with God is: the minute I say I won’t or don’t, He takes joy in changing my mind and attitude. Over the years, I’ve surrendered to the fact that Father knows best, and I’ll walk through the doors He opens. So, when Tracy Ruckman, publisher and owner of Write Integrity Press, invited me to the A Dozen Apologies adventure, I admit I hesitated. I was a self-professed anti-fiction snob. I confessed to Tracy that I’ve never written fiction before, and I secretly hoped she would rescind her offer.

So, there you have it; two confessions. I lacked an appreciation for fiction, and I lacked a plan for my first time writing it. But I had a prayer. God, You opened this door. I trust that You have already equipped me, and I ask that You help me to create a story that doesn’t disappoint. Please Lord, don’t let me mess this up! Not an impressive prayer in my opinion, nor was it lofty, but I had no idea how I would fare in fiction.

To my pleasant surprise, writing fiction was liberating. Ted came to life as I typed. From the corners of my cobwebbed imagination, I extracted a character. God exhaled over my brain, and the dust bunnies collecting in the crevices rolled away. For the first time, I was truly creative. In non-fiction, one interprets and reflects upon events and experiences. It’s retrospective. A writer is limited by the frame of reference. While writing my hero chapter, the skies the limit! Ted was a piece of clay I formed into shape.

But before the fiction fans start to gloat, according to William Zinsser, in On Writing Well, “don’t be buffaloed into the idea that [non-fiction is] an inferior species. The only important distinction is between good writing and bad writing.” Writing fiction offered me a sense of freedom, like a horse galloping across a vast open prairie. Non-fiction on the other hand is akin to a round pen that corrals a horse for a specific purpose. Each has their welcomed place and function.

As for truth, the universal themes of forgiveness, humility, and humor weave throughout A Dozen Apologies. We all grapple with these experiences, sometimes conquering and other times failing. We cheer along with our characters, and sympathize with their pain, as they flesh out their battles within the pages like we do during our days.

Ted oozed integrity. I admire that in a man and that value naturally bubbled to the surface as I shaped him. His love and respect for animals, a cause I share, though I didn’t know much about horses. That required research to make Mara’s stable job realistic. I “studied” at a nearby stable with a trainer I shadowed for a day. My story became so real, the characters started talking back to me. The truth I thought fiction ignored, stared back at me through the story I created.

If God had a hidden agenda to prove me wrong about fiction, He succeeded. But I think His purpose was far greater: for me to experience the sheer joy of creating Ted, Beth, and their dynamic with Mara; and also, to join the tremendous team at Write Integrity Press. The talent in its writers is staggering. The out-of-the-box approach by Tracy Ruckman, along with her commitment to her projects and to her writers is inspiring. Fay Lamb, editor extraordinaire and encourager, has a genuine heart to see other writers succeed giving generously of her time and expertise. I have been blessed beyond words to contribute, and our prayer has always been that our readers will be equally blessed by A Dozen Apologies.


Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.

In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

Beginning today, readers can find out the identity of the winning hero. And the best news of all: A Dozen Apologies is free on Kindle. But hurry, this offer runs today through February 16.





3 Responses leave one →
  1. February 14, 2014

    Yay Theresa!

  2. February 14, 2014

    And I am blessed beyond words with this post. You’re gifted, Theresa. Your imagination brought those characters to life, and I’m grateful.

    Isn’t God awesome the way He works? Never say never. 🙂

  3. February 15, 2014

    I always wonder how Tracy comes up with her team of writers. Your post is enlightening and inspiring. Tracy’s a unique person, one who loves and is loved. I’m sure you are abundantly blessed to be one of those she has chosen to write for her. May God continue to bless you on your writing journey. I love “A Dozen Apologies.”

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