Hunted by Darkness started out as Predestined and was my response to the world. First, it was my response to my students regarding what ailed the world. I couldn’t explain it to them. Not the real nuts and bolts of what made this world tick, and it drives me crazy every day when I see them hurting and lost and frustrated and depressed. To stand by and teach English when what they really needed was Jesus in their life was choking me. I wanted to tell them all about Him, and how faith can truly change the life journey. I wanted them to know they were predestined to be sons and daughters of the Almighty King of the universe. The premise for Hunted by Darkness was born.
Second, I wanted to touch the lives of others in the way Frank Peretti touched my life when I was a teenager in the late 80’s early 90’s. I was a missionary fresh out of college and spent several years on the field. Those were the most awe-inspiring, faith-testing, spiritual-developing years of my life. Though, having my own children comes in as a close tie. Anyone who’s raised a two-year-old to three knows they awaken the kraken hidden deep in all parents. When I finally decided to obey, I wanted my children to see me on the mission field, using what God gave me to serve Him.
However, when God told me to write this book, I didn’t say yes right away. As a matter of fact, my first response was an emphatic NO. No, I had no idea how to write fiction. All I’d ever written was narrative nonfiction with my two memoirs, one about my husband’s brain cancer, and one about my teaching experience in an inner city school. No, I didn’t have time to write or learn to write this crazy fiction book suddenly sitting on my heart and in the corner of my vision. So, he made it my job. Literally!
My principal called me into her office to tell me that this August I’d be teaching a year-long Creative Writing course with no curriculum. I walked out of her office, stared at the ceiling and said, you win God. Of course, You do. I should have listened the first time you told me. When the kids and I got together, we decided to do something different with our Creative Writing. Instead of pursuing small stories, I invited them to write a book each in whatever genre they wanted to, and I’d do the same alongside them. It was one of the most epic, eye-opening, wonderfully-bonding experiences I had in teaching. Sharing a love of words, of creating something of our own, of daydreaming together about amazing out-of-this-world hopes. It was FUN teaching! I finished writing Predestined (Hunted by Darkness) in the month of September.
I went on during that year, to write the other two novels that would soon make up the trilogy that I’ve since expanded to be a four book series. And now, I’m closing in on the end of that series SO many years later. I didn’t know it then, but God was calling me to the mission field again. He was telling me He had a new direction for my life. I don’t mean instead of teaching, I believe He means alongside teaching. I’ve had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had prior to writing books. People see me differently, listen harder, get excited to talk about writing. It’s been a true blessing! Now I have plans for at least seven other series. I plan on knocking out one at a time, and I don’t see this writing thing slowing down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I’m praying God takes it to the next level and then the next and so on and so forth. He is God! Nothing is impossible with Him.
What I know now without a shadow of a doubt, whatever God calls you too will bless you more than you can imagine or dream. Whatever obstacle He puts in your path is designed to heal you in ways you didn’t know you were broken. Whatever gift He gives you is designed to fill a need you didn’t even know you were going to have yet.
You say, what about your husband’s cancer! That couldn’t be a gift from God. I can’t say one way or another, but I can tell you that, though my husband changed dramatically after the cancer, having weathered a storm like that together has solidified our faith, deepened our connection in marriage, and taught us both that this life is but a vapor here today and gone tomorrow. Live it with purpose.
J. L. Burrows