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Jill Williamson is cool.
She was raised in rural Alaska where daydreaming and reading were her sources for entertainment. She read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Little House on the Prairie, The Hobbit, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Her all-time favorites are speculative fiction novels, so it’s not surprising that when she started writing, her prose went in that direction. She’s the author of the Blood of Kings trilogy and the recently released Replication: The Jason Experiment.
I was at a Christian writer’s conference not too long ago, and I noticed a whole group of folks wearing buttons that said, “Clones are People, Too.” It caught my attention, and it didn’t take me long to find the source. This woman, Jill Williamson, who’d won all kinds of awards for her fiction, was getting ready to release her newest work about CLONES into the Christian marketplace. I wanted to delve into this unusual brain of hers a little. I mean, she developed an App for determining your expiration date as a clone.
I asked her to talk to you today about the ways in which God can use our unique interests and talents and how, exactly, a book about cloning can bring a reader closer to an understanding of our Maker.
I didn’t always want to be a writer. But I was always a daydreamer. I grew up in Alaska. I didn’t have electricity, so I had loads of daydreaming time on my hands and became quite good at thinking about what could be.
Fast forward to 2005 when I was writing books. I was riding in a car through upstate New York, past endless amounts of ranches, orchards, and farms. It got me thinking. What if there was a farm where they grew people? Clones. Ooh! It could be called Jason Farms.
I knew Alaska would be a fun and ideal location for such a story. The last frontier is such a vast state. Most people move there to get away from the world. And no one tends to ask many questions. It was the perfect place for an underground cloning lab.
I knew right away that I wanted a main character who was the daughter of one of the scientists. I decided to call her Abby. And if I made Abby a Christian and her father an atheist, that alone would create conflict between the two on issues of ethics.
I also wanted to have a male point of view character. I decided to have my guy be one of the clones. I called him Martyr because the guards in the lab nickname the clones based on their personalities. With Martyr’s character, I wanted to explore God’s purpose for human beings. I wanted him to discover that even though he was a duplicate of another human, he was unique and called by God to live a purposeful life.
And that’s where the idea for the book that became Replication: The Jason Experiment came from.
I believe that God created us all to serve a unique purpose while we are here on this earth. I wasn’t raised to believe that. I found out through trial and error. I started sewing my own clothes in junior high school, and more than anything, I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up. And I chased that dream all the way through college to New York City and then to a few assistant fashion designer jobs in Los Angeles.
But the harder I worked and the closer I grew to God, the more I began to see that this wasn’t a dream he had for my life. It just wasn’t what I expected it to be. And after four years working in that industry, at the age of 26, I chose to let that dream go. And for a while I prayed about what God wanted me to be when I “grew up.” But shortly thereafter I learned something invaluable from my pastor. He told me, “If God told us what he wanted us to be when we grew up, we’d cheat to get there faster.”
Don’t get me wrong. God calls people to things all the time. But sometimes he doesn’t. And I don’t know about you, but I’m always in a hurry. And God doesn’t want us to live life that way. Each day’s journey is important. And it’s part of our story. And if I hadn’t chased my dream of being a fashion designer, not only would I still wonder today if I had totally missed out, I wouldn’t be the same person.
Because those years of dreaming about fashion and making my own clothes and prom dresses, those years of going to school and working in the fashion industry, they are part of who I am. And God taught me so much about life through those experiences.
Don’t be in a hurry to live your life. Slow down. Enjoy each moment. Serve God in each moment, for that is your purpose in Christ. Trust him in all things, and he will lead you to where he wants you to be in his perfect timing.
It’s not always easy, that’s for sure. But I’m committed to saying “yes” to whatever he brings to my future. Sometimes saying “yes” to God is a no brainer. But sometimes it’s really hard. But you will never regret saying “yes” to God.
How about you? Do you feel that God is calling you to something specific? Do you feel a little lost with what you should do with your life? What are some ways that you say “yes” to God each day?
Jill also runs a great site called Novel Teen, where a group of bloggers review fiction for Christian teens. Take a look and check out the archives for reviews on books you might have missed.