Hey, Visionaries! Has anyone else had a crazy life lately? I took on more than I could chew and ended up dropping a lot of responsibilities and not getting everything I needed done. #peoplepleaserproblems and #overachieverproblems, but things are looking better now. Some of the responsibilities I took on are either over or nearing completion, and I'm hoping to focus on other things.
Namely, this site and the virtual conference I am endeavoring to put together! But that's news for another time. :)
Today I am super excited to have Abigail Thompson (whom I always want to spell Abbigail because of my dear friend's name...hehe...) teen author and founder of #ProtectCleanFicition! If you don't know her or what #ProtectCleanFiction is then continue reading because the interview explains it all!
Hey Abigail, I’m so excited to have you on Writers’ Vision today! Thank you so much for being willing to answer some questions!
Of course, I’m so excited to be here today! Thank you for having me on. I can’t wait to get into this.
First off, would you tell us a little about yourself?
I am an 18-year-old independent author of the Amazon bestseller Christian Fantasy, The Whispers of the Wind, and the poetry collection Scrawled Out Timeline, and founder of the social movement #ProtectCleanFiction. I am a military brat and have been on many unexpected adventures in my life because of it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world! If I’m not writing books or trying to start social movements, ;) you can find me reading, hanging out with my friends, serving or leading at my home church, probably killing myself at a CrossFit gym somewhere, or doing any other 101 things I enjoy.
And a little about #ProjectCleanFiction! Which I am so hyped about, and glad someone took that step!
#ProtectCleanFiction is a social movement aimed to change the culture around sexuality in books by providing a thriving, loving community of readers, authors, and social media influencers alike and educating readers about the dangers of smut in fiction.
#ProtectCleanFiction wants to be there for readers who feel like no book is safe these days from content they don’t feel comfortable reading. It wishes to encourage readers by providing endless recommendations by trusted authors and vetted books so they know that their books are held to the same standards as their own.
#ProtectCleanFiction hopes to become one of the first trusted rating systems by readers so they can quickly discern if a book is free or not from certain sexual content. So, begin to check indie releases and small presses for the #ProtectCleanFiction Approved emblem.
You can learn more at www.protectcleanfiction.com, where exciting updates are coming soon!
What prompted you to start #ProtectCleanFiction, and how would you like to see it grow moving forward?
This is an amazing question! I have almost always been an avid reader who always loved a book with a good romance. However, as I got older, it became harder and harder for me to find good books without unnecessary sexual content. When I was about fourteen years old, I remember reading a book with an open-door scene for the first time; I was struck and slightly confused about what was happening. Eventually, without seeking it out, it happened again. All these were books marketed to YA. Quickly, I realized that these scenes affected how I viewed the people around me. I was thinking things I’d never thought before and don’t bear repeating. I wasn’t intentionally seeking them out, but that didn’t stop the damage. Those scenes have stuck with me, which saddens me to no end. I was nonplussed as open-door romance became so widely consumed that Colleen Hoover out-sold the Bible in 2022, and even more so when I would go to the bookstore and find girls around fourteen to fifteen years old sitting in a pile of open-door, “smutty” books with no real knowledge of what it did to their minds. The mental hoops adults jumped through to justify this behavior disgusted me, especially as they began to justify writing such content in books marketed to teenagers.
God began stirring up my heart, reminding me we can change culture. We have the unstoppable God on our side; we don’t have to just sit back and let these things we disagree with happen. We can be the change through love, faithfulness, courage, and prayer. I had such a deep stirring in my spirit to do something! It was a chilly morning in late December, late January, and I remember praying, “What is it you have me do, Lord?” after my Bible time that morning, and it struck me, quite literally, it felt like I had been zapped with this rush of adrenaline. I raced for my computer, fumbling to open a new Word doc, and typed, “Change the culture on sex in books,” that was literally it. The document had one line, but eventually, the Lord was gracious enough for the idea to grow from there.
What can we expect from you in the future? I know the second book in the Halcyon Epics is releasing in April of 2024, but what else do you have up your sleeve? (Which reminds me, I need to read the first book in your series…too many books, too little time, folks.)
I have many plans, which obviously are in the Lord’s hands, but a girl can dream! My biggest dream, as of right now, is to write an older middle-grade series set in the same world as the Halcyon Epics, full of magical schools, friendship, Godly leadership, and pretty much everything Harry Potter wasn’t for me. (Is that controversial to say?) And yes, as you mentioned, the second book to the Halcyon Epics, The Silent Screams of the Sea, will be released on April 18th, 2024, which is surreal for me to write since most days I still feel like a child cloistered away in my bedroom plunking away on an old laptop. I also dream of writing a faith-filled, teen, sweet romcom with homeschoolers as the main characters since homeschoolers deserve happy endings, too, but I have no ideas, just vibes, so most likely, that’ll stay a dream.
So, other than being an author and influencer, what are some other things we should know about you?
I have a HUGE heart for fostering, adoption, and babies inside the womb. I will likely foster and adopt sometime in the future when I am married. I have even considered never having biological children, so I have more room for foster babies and the like.
However, it is more likely that I will end up with like nine kids, half adopted, half biological. Again, though, it’s all in the Lord’s perfect plan. If I can encourage someone to do something beyond my bounds of expertise, it is care about children. Not only children but the forgotten, slandered, “burdensome” children society says we are better off without. Jesus tells us to love “the least of these,” I truly believe children who are at risk of being aborted, in foster care, and in other turbulent situations are “the least of these.” Children are blessings from the Lord and deserve love, care, and affection at all ages.
I highly recommend learning more at LiveAction.com or StudentsforLife.com on ways to support life at all stages.
What is your biggest tip for other authors when it comes to writing clean fiction?
Write about what you wanted as a kid. I’m serious; maybe your writing is more mature than what you were reading as a child, but writing the ideas, themes, plots, and content you yearned for but could never find. Maybe it’s even something you wish to see more of now. If this crazy writing journey has taught me anything, it's that people want that crazy, clean, sci-fi opera with James Bond somehow there as well. I was told that maybe I could find one or two thousand people interested in a book like The Whispers of the Wind, but that wasn’t true. I have found a market hungry for books like mine. Clean fiction relies on good storytelling full of epic plots and heart-wrenching characters, not just sexual scenes. People want GOOD STORIES, so don’t be afraid to write them.
What are the best ways to grow your platform, in your opinion?
A super fun question, but not a super fun answer. Consistency and solid branding. And by branding, I don’t mean just what colors your Instagram page is; I mean what you are KNOWN for. If you study people with massive platforms, they are known for one, two, maybe even three things. Frankly, once I started being intentional about what I’m known for, people started to pay attention.
You will notice a pattern if you do a deep-dive into my content. I’m known for three things: writing Christian fantasy, speaking out against smut, and being bold in my personal convictions, like abortion and human trafficking. I chose these things intentionally because I was already passionate about them and knew I could produce consistent content about them. What you're known for may look completely different, and that’s completely okay, but be consistent.
Now, consistency, perhaps you are already consistent, or you were like me and here one week and absent for two weeks. Either way, it’s vital to grow and build a platform that people trust. Find a schedule that works for you and stick with it even when it feels like you're receiving a minimal response; it will pay off.
Do you have a favorite book that you feel represents #ProtectCleanFiction well?
Any and all Ruta Septy’s books. They are amazing, full of rich storytelling without anything sexual to keep them selling.
Last question: what is your why as a writer? (If you need context for this question - https://www.writers-vision.com/post/why-do-you-write-finding-your-why-as-a-writer )
I write to share hope. This world is full of hopelessness that just oozes from us, and it breaks my heart because there is hope to be found, and His name is Jesus. I write to show how in every circumstance, from the craziest to the most realistic scenario, there is hope to be sifted from it. Even when we feel lost, broken, forgotten, abused, cast aside… there is hope. I write to prove this with my characters, worlds, and plots. I read an article that said reading fiction made you more empathetic and self-aware and that we learn things that cannot be learned in textbooks. We learn how to emotionally process the world around us, and with that information, I write hope because I always want my readers to walk away renewed in purpose and emboldened or revitalized in their faith.
I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, and I definitely recommend checking out #ProtectCleanFiction!
What have you all been up to you? Did you enjoy this interview? Do you and Abigail have anything in common?
Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from all of you!