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Author as Ally: S. D. Smith’s Green Ember Notes From the Front

I’ve been working hard the last few weeks sharing about the new books, hustling to remove obstacles for families who are keen on these new stories with an old soul. It’s easy to lose the big vision in the hustle and hurry of urgent tasks. But again and again, you guys are reminding me why good stories matter. My friend Heidi says the best stories (anchored in truth, goodness, and beauty) are not as escape from reality, but an escape into reality. She’s right. 

Your notes of encouragement, in messages online and in the mail, are helping me remember the big picture. You’re helping me see beyond the veil of clouds to the Mending. 

Often these notes are just joyful expressions of a shared adventure as a family. But I’ve heard from families whose reluctant readers have fallen in love with stories after beginning with The Green Ember. I’ve heard from more and more military families who feel understood and appreciated. I’ve heard from countless missionary families who feel encouraged. Most sobering, I have notes from many families who say they have felt joy and hope in the midst of serious illness—often of a child—while walking together through these books. 

I don’t take these notes lightly. They mean that we are allies, and that my modest reinforcements have arrived and helped in some small way at the front in which you are so heroically fighting. I have so badly wanted to be an ally to you. Your battle is crucial, because it’s another fight for the hearts of your children against the ever-threatening darkness. I’m on your side. 

Your notes are fuel for my desire to serve and love you the best way I can. So, I’m working on the stories. Honest, hard, hopeful stories. Not sneaky-teachy, or manipulative and dominating. Not allegory, but applicable (to use Tolkien’s words). Real stories, the best this West Virginian can do. I’m getting them ready for you. We are all complicated creatures with complex desires and aims. But I have no doubt about the main mission of my vocation. I make these stories for you, to delight and quicken your heart, because I love you and I want to serve you. 

God bless you. Keep up the fight. I’m on your side. 

Thanks for letting me know that you’re on my side, too. 

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