I was asked recently why I wrote the Caselli Family Series. I sat at my computer for a long time trying to find the reason “why” I wrote the series, but I couldn’t come up with a single answer. I think that’s because I really didn’t have a “why” for writing the series, it was just something God put on my heart. And since the story’s inception (1996) I have not lost one bit of the intense desire to share it with the rest of the world.
It’s been a fairly difficult project, and there are several reasons for that. Firstly, the base of the series The Pretender had to be written from a young adult perspective. I was thirty-two years old at the time and reaching back into my “coming of age” years wasn’t easy. We see things differently as we mature so it was hard sometimes to relate to the antics of my teenaged characters. It was hard as well putting that on the paper in such a way that reflected the immature actions and feelings of young adults. However, in drawing on the experiences of my past, I was able to put a lot of authenticity into the story’s plot. Many a reviewer has remarked that it’s simply “unrealistic,” and to that I say: pay attention to your kids. They’re doing some risky things out there—even the good ones.
The next difficulty was attempting to mature my young adult characters, ever so slightly, as I began Book 2 Pit of Ambition. There were older characters to anchor the story, with mature development lines, but I had to figure out a way to age the character of Angel/Tillie in such a way that it revealed growth and wisdom. At one point, long after her marriage to Alex, she’s thinking of Noah and recalling what a wonderful man Noah had appeared to be at the time she met him. She finally draws a defining conclusion: Noah was ordinary, so unlike Alex who seemed as extraordinary as a flashy star. Angel/Tillie is growing out of her immature naivety. And it was important for her growth to begin, whether in realizations, or later in Pit of Ambition, to be able to forgive without exemption.
The growth and maturity that begins in Pit of Ambition sets the stage for Book 3, A Blackguard’s Redemption. The earlier young adult feel of the series will quickly fade as very adult issues are faced once Tillie and Noah realize what has transpired. And though Noah has taken far greater strides forward in the maturity department, he will have setbacks like none other. In fact, one of my earlier readers told me once that while she was praying she lifted up Noah, and then had to laugh at herself. Noah’s struggles will become that painfully real in A Blackguard’s Redemption, and he will draw Tillie into the suffering with him.
What I would like most of all is for my readers to seek out and understand the power of prayer when combined with God’s will in a matter. And while we may not like the way God’s will appears to be playing out, we must resist the urge to force our own will into any situation. In the fictional setting of the Caselli Family, we see the ramifications of someone having the ability to change the circumstances just enough so that he doesn’t have to deal with a difficult situation. In doing so, Giuseppe changes the life of his daughter, but he also, unknowingly, derails the lifelong work of his son, Marquette. Now, please don’t take that to mean that I believe that we can thwart the will of God, because I don’t believe that one bit. However, we can delay His blessing because of our own disobedience, and we can drag others down with us in the process. Rest assured, God’s will will be done, even if we make the choice to use deception in order to “fix” things. No matter how long we try to put it off, God will have His way. He makes certain that all things are made right in His time, His sovereignty trumping all of our efforts.
Though there will be Book 4, The Gift, and Book 5, The Truth, that is all that I can say about the series at this time. Those books will be released in 2019.
I pray that each and every one of you will read this series and delight in it the same way that I have. I pray for each reader as well that God will give you a holy craving to explore His Word and His ways to the greatest possible depths. That you would not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 esv
Thank you and bless you for taking this journey with me. It means the world to me.
If you think you might be interested in my Christian fiction, get the first 4 chapters free here: www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com