The History Lives Series
The Story of a Series
In 2003, my fellow writer (and spouse), Mindy Rice Withrow, and I were asked by a small independent publisher to write a five-volume series of books for a Protestant readership, and the History Lives series was born.
We were already planning a series like this at the time, which we imagined as a love letter to our twenty-one nieces and nephews. We began by crafting a series that would allow them to see their faith from a perspective that included not only their own tradition, but also the traditions of others. Figures were chosen based on their significance, contributions, and legacy; their stories are told so as to capture their own understanding of what they were accomplishing, and not so much as an endorsement of that position.
What we produced was a hybridized historical fiction and creative nonfiction account of the history of Christianity for the young adult reader, covering individuals from every geographic, ethnic, and economic background, but who were important for establishing the various traditions of the Christian faith. Some of these figures were warmongers and some were pacifists. They were all products of their day.
To purchase the series, find them on Amazon.
How a Series and Its Authors Change
Since completion, the series has grown in popularity and is now a boxed-set and available not only in print, but also for Kindle. What has also proved interesting, however, is not so much how a series within a niche audience can evolve, but how much two people can change in ten years. As I look back on this series, I realize we are very different people. Had we written this series today, we would have put more distance between our worldviews and the writing of history. We were both raised in conservative baptist homes, made our way to the Presbyterian church, then to the Episcopal church, and now we are someplace very different. With hindsight, I can chart many of these changes with each volume. We have always been intellectual travel companions; as Rainer Maria Rilke says, “Love…consists of two solitudes, which border, protect, and greet each other.”
Still, these books are not only proof that a married couple can collaborate on a large project, but hopefully a helpful guide to a very complicated religion for the kids we love.