A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West) by Faith Blum is a Christian Western novel. I LOVED this book for several reasons.
- It’s a WESTERN! I am a Cowgirl at heart. I was practically born on a horse. I’m a 5th generation Oklahoma Panhandle Pioneer. Dirt & calf slobbers make me happy.
- It’s CLEAN! I usually don’t even consider reading westerns because the lack of clean. Even the movies are dirty now. I understand cowboys, but you don’t have to put all the details of their often crude language and behavior in a book or film.
- It’s SIMPLE! Oh the story is complicated enough. I sat on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. By simple, I mean NO romance! Yay! Young people today get way, way too much romance and not nearly enough good, old-fashioned reality.
Faith has done a wonderful job, weaving a realistic story. I was truly picturing the scenes in my mind, running out of breath with the characters as they ran, holding it when they hid, getting upset when they were faced with unfair obstacles. By the end of the book, I was so attached to the characters, it was almost as if they were just neighbors down the road. I am truly looking forward to the next book so I can follow their lives.
The synopsis of A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West):
Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who’s hunting them.Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom’s gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss’s right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what’s one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?Can Joshua lean on God’s strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town? Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running–the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?
A little about Faith Blumm:
An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, moderating on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?). As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always loved reading and writing. I think I started writing around age 10 when Mom gave me a book to write about our camping trip. Now I write because I love to create new stories and I want to always point to God with those stories.
What inspired you to write A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West) ?
A picture and a contest. A homeschool magazine we get had a short story contest. I was too old for the contest, but I got inspired to write anyway. The contest was to write a short story based on the picture on the front of the magazine. The picture had a boy and girl hanging from a rope down a cliff with a cougar staring at them. The girl was pointing a pistol at the cougar. My story ended up being much longer than a short story, so it was a good thing I didn’t want to enter it into the contest.
Where did you get some of your ideas for a Christian Western?
I have always been fascinated by the Old West and what it would have been like to be a Christian during that time. I love reading Louis L’Amour’s books, but there is always an element or more in his books that is not Christian. I have started expanding my Western reading, but most of those books are romance and I really wanted to have some books that the whole family could read and enjoy. The first book in the series is more of a young adult adventure novel, book two is more of a romance, book three is a mail order bride/life change type book, book four will be a mystery. Books five and six are still in the planning stages, but I think they will be (very light) romance and a coming of age, respectively.
How many books do you anticipate will be in the Hymns of the West series?
Five or six so far. I have ideas for at least four with the possibility of a fifth and sixth bouncing around in my brain at the moment.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West) is Christian fiction that does not sugarcoat the Gospel or the evil nature of man. That being said, I think the message is that no one is beyond God’s salvation.
Do you work from an outline, or just write?
Yes. I typically work from a very loose outline, but I know that sometimes my outline won’t end up fitting the characters as I get to know them better. For example, the original draft and outline of “A Mighty Fortress” had a very different ending than what I ended up publishing.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The book that has most influenced my life in general is “The Holy Bible” by God. The book that I think has most influenced my writing is “Peter’s Angel” by Aubrey Hansen,
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Knowing exactly what phrases and words a person in that time period would use. Also, editing. I have a bit of a natural editor inside me that catches nearly every typo…as long as it isn’t my own writing. It drives me crazy sometimes.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Only one? Oh dear! That is hard. I guess I will say Bodie and Brock Thoene. What strikes me about their books is how they insert so many historical facts without you even realizing that is what they are doing.
What was the hardest part of writing “A Mighty Fortress”?
Keeping the accents to a minimum and staying in the time period when they were talking.
Did you learn anything from writing A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West) and what was it?
Don’t rush the writing and editing process. I did that to push the novel out by the deadline I wanted and I regret that. Warning to those of you who want book 2 like a week ago, but I’m not going to do that this time around.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing. No matter how bad it seems or how hard it gets, be persistent. Some day you will write that one book that touches your heart and that of someone else and just happens to be a masterpiece.
You can purchase A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West) from Amazon.
You can learn more about Faith Blumm at her Blog, more about her book at her Author site, or follower her on Facebook, Twitter, & Google.