Hey guys! Katja here. The lovely Chelsea @ Light in the Tunnel & SAW Publishing is taking my blog over today for a behind the scenes of her new release, “By This Shall They Know”! I loved her selections, so I am really excited about this 😉 *hands over the mic*
I’m really excited for the opportunity to guest-post on Katja’s blog today! Thanks so much, Kats, for letting me do this!
The fun part about taking a trip behind the scenes is that I can give you all a sneak peek of what I was actually thinking as I wrote the story, as well as touching on key points that were meaningful to me as the author.
Today, I’m eager to share with you the four hymns that were included in the story, and why they made it into the final draft!
My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
The inclusion of this hymn was originally simply because I needed a closing hymn to bring Sadie back into reality after a lengthy musing. Originally, I didn’t think I was going to include the hymn text or title but merely mention its number offhand and keep it as a little inside detail that the hymn corresponding to that number actually had some significance to the story and the author.
But when I went searching for a hymn that would hold meaning for Sadie, I realized that it would actually be beneficial to include part of the lyrics in the text. This hymn was also significant to me in my journey into a new church culture, and yes—in the hymnal my church uses (Hymns of the Church, Benchmark Press, 2011) it is number 172! Here is a recordingof the hymn.
The Servant Song
When it came to writing the feetwashing scene in chapter six, I knew almost right away what song I wanted to include there. It’s a song that typifies brotherhood to me, and remains one of my favourite hymns on what discipleship and the Christ-life really look like. In my own life, this song takes me back to a challenging time for our congregation that happened to coincide with a Sunday School quarterly focusing on servanthood. Our superintendent at the time led us in singing this song more than once during the weeks of study and it became a kind of rallying point for us as a church.
It is also a song that is often sung during feetwashing, and thus made a very natural inclusion in that scene of the story—in fact, some of the details, Sadie’s musings, and the connections to the song do shadow real-life memories of mine. The original scene included direct quotations from “The Servant Song” but unfortunately it became difficult to obtain the permission needed for ongoing print-on-demand services and it seemed better to remove quotations. Interestingly, I think the scene is much stronger since I had to rewrite it! You can listen to a recording of “The Servant Song” here.
O, To Be Like Thee
I didn’t set out to include this hymn in the story, but as I was writing the Biblical Social scene and Margaret’s struggles with divided motives, it slipped in very naturally as a way of bringing her to a realization of her mistake.
“O, To Be Like Thee” is a song that is personally challenging to me, as it points out so clearly the importance of making likeness to Christ our first motive, and it just worked very nicely into the story without much effort on my part. Here’s an acapella version of this familiar hymn, incidentally sung from the same hymnal listed above!
Dear Lord, Take Up The Tangled Strands
This hymn was not in the first draft. When you read the scene (or if you have already!) you’re going to think I’m crazy, because the entire scene revolves around Margaret’s ineffectual efforts to play this hymn on the piano and the lessons Mrs. Matthews draws from it. But in the first draft, it just wasn’t there.
Rather, I wrote the whole scene for a generic hymn-tune involving mild dissonance, planning to later find a hymn that worked. When I did come back to choose a song, I was delighted at how appropriately the words of this hymn fit into the context of the story (as well as the music fitting the melody/harmony/dissonance theme). It could almost have been written for it! I did have to alter the wording in a couple of sentences to better match the song—and of course, added a section of lyrics because of their significance—but in the end it worked amazingly well! For the full score and midi file of this hymn, click here.
By This Shall They Know is Here!!
Annnd – By This Shall They Know is also finally available for sale! If you want to grab a copy and read for yourselves all the scenes mentioned in this post, you can order both kindle and paperback versions here.
And if you’d like to hear more about the story, don’t forget to hop over to my release post and visit the other stops of the launch tour below!
Launch Tour Stops
Book Review and Behind the Scenes: 5 Key Conversations shared by Joy Adewumi | D’JoyGene
Book Review by Kylie Hunt | The Film Director’s Wife
Book Review by Esther Jackson | Neath the Hackberry Reading Club
Book Review by Katja Labonté | Old Fashioned Book Love
Behind the Scenes: Hymns and Songs shared by Katja Labonté | Little Blossoms for Jesus
Behind the Scenes: Thunderstorm Scene shared by Abigail Harris | Read Review Rejoice
Author Interview by Kylie Hunt | The Film Director’s Wife
P.S. Katja just popping into say, here’s my review of By This Shall They Know!