I’m so pleased to be introducing you to author D. M. Miller, who is a new friend of mine. Her debut novel, The Religion of the Heart was published last month (July) and we wish her every success on her publishing journey!
She wrote us a guest post that offers an unique perspective on the faith aspect of fiction and I hope you find it as thought-provoking as I did.
- Guest post from D. M. Miller
Call me crazy, but I believe in writing with a purpose. Lighthearted stories to pass the time can be entertaining and may even be just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking to escape whatever personal drama may be going on in your life. Actually, that’s why they call it “escapism.”
But then there is another type of reader, who wants to read something meaningful, a book that has something to say and that makes you feel. Some readers want to be able to identify with a character or a story, or both. That describes me, both as a writer and a reader.
It has been difficult for me to connect with the bulk of popular fiction these days. Am I alone in that? Sometimes I wonder if it has to do with my background, as I am the product of an interfaith couple- a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. People talk a lot about interracial couples and biracial children, but there isn’t as much commentary on interfaith, which is odd considering how common it is and how difficult it is to navigate the world of religion growing up that way.
Though growing up, we celebrated the non-religious aspect of Christmas, I always identified with my Jewish side. That’s just me. Recently I read about actor Jason Segel, who like me, has a Jewish father and Christian mother. He said, “At Christian school you’re the Jewish kid and at Hebrew school you’re the Christian kid. I think that’s the nature of groups,” he explains. “And so everyone wants to compartmentalize people and I think I decided at that point, like okay, it’s me versus the world kind of.” I can relate!
Coming from this background made it easy for me to write The Religion of the Heart. I call it an “interfaith romance,” but this is not your average run-of-the-mill romance. It starts out like a fairy tale but quickly changes the more protagonists Catherine and Abdul get to know one another. Touching on three different religions as well as the harsh realities a Jewish/Muslim couple would face, the book is not some hippie dippie, “coexist,” “can’t we all just get along” dreamy fantasy. There is anti-Semitism, terrorism, a questioning of faith and family conflicts. And then there is the love.
More than anything, I hope I can reach people, make them think and make them feel. There’s nothing like reading a book you can’t get out of your head for days.
One example of that from my own bookcase is called, The Settler, by Israeli author Orit Arfa. It’s been described as a coming-of-age story of a religious Jewish girl but is so much more. Shedding light on a traumatic event from recent Israeli history, it has everything- politics, religion, love, and most importantly- emotion. It is a story that really touched me. With that being said, it isn’t interfaith.
There really are books for everyone out there, but there seems to be a void in the market for interfaith love. Why? Jews and Christians have been intermarrying for years, and we thought that was hard. Yet the two faiths share some commonalities like the 10 Commandments. However, with the influx of Middle Eastern, North African and Asian immigrants to the West, we are now seeing more family clashes with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., marrying Christians and Jews.
People are attracted to one another. That’s human nature. First we fall in love, and we think about religion as an afterthought. It’s ok to talk about it, to address our differences. Hopefully as time goes on there will be more books to fill that void. I, for one, am doing my part to speak to that “multicultural” or “diverse” demographic. Love it or hate it, my writing doesn’t skirt around the issues. If you want to pretend an interfaith relationship is easy, don’t read my book!
This is the debut novel of author D.M. Miller. An interfaith romance, the book deals with the issues a Muslim/Jewish couple might face, no matter how religious or secular each might be. Anti-Semitism? Check, it’s in there! Islamic terrorism? Yup, that too.
A brief description:
Catherine and Abdul come from two opposing worlds. She is raised in the Judeo-Christian West, while he comes from a Muslim family in Egypt. Their first meeting is little more than a fleeting moment, but it sparks over a decade-long desperation and agonizing battle to be together.
Incompatible religions, distinct cultures and hot-tempered families vowing to keep them apart are the overwhelming hurdles they face, and reality hits once mysteries are solved and the fairytale beginning fades away. They are left with difficult decisions as they determine how important their respective religions are and whether or not the Muslim culture can mesh with the West.
Can an enduring yet taboo love conquer all when conflicting religions are duking it out, or will threatening roadblocks stand in the way?
The book is available on Amazon: The Religion of the Heart and the author is currently working on her second novel.
To read more about this lovely lady, you can find her site here: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/ where you’ll find links to an ‘About’ page and her blog.