Monday, March 17, 2014

Today we're featuring author Sylvia Bambola, who's sharing about writing what you love vs. writing what you know. Read on to learn her thoughts on the subject, and to learn about her latest release!

Writing What You LOVE

Mark Twain said “Write what you know.” And the words of a luminary like Twain are generally held in high esteem. I mean, practically every school in America has at least some of his works in their library. Others even make reading them mandatory. So when I find myself contradicting a known master like Twain, I know I do so at my own peril. But the truth is if I had followed his advice I never would have written a single word.

From a young age I loved reading and telling stories. My friends and I would sit around for hours making them up. And always my stories were about things that excited me or things I cared deeply about. So my rule as a writer has always been “write what interests you.” In other words: write what you love. If I’m not interested in the subject; if I’m not passionate about it, I doubt I’d be capable of interesting anyone else. To my mind, events, customs, history, all these things can be researched. And yes, that takes hard work. But it enables me to write the kind of stories I want. The other difficult challenge, of course, is to populate these stories with characters who are believable and who touch hearts.

My first novel, A Vessel of Honor, written under the pen name of Margaret Miller and published well before 9/11, was about terrorism. The rise of radical Islam concerned me greatly. How would it affect America should it reach our shores? How would it affect my family? And others? Would the issue of faith make a difference? To answer some of these questions, I decided to build my story around two women: one a Christian, the other not, so I could explore how their faith or lack of it would impact them in such a crisis. The book ended up winning a Small Press Editor’s Choice Award and being seriously considered for a television movie.

My next novel, Refiner’s Fire, was about the underground Church in Romania during the brutal reign of Nicolae Ceausescu. This subject interested me deeply because I was born in Romania but later adopted by an American family. It really caused the “what ifs” to swirl around in my head. What if I still lived in Romania? What if I had to endure such persecution? What would it be like? And how did the Christians stand up under it? To explore this I decided to use two brothers separated after World War II then coming together again as men: one, the US Ambassador to Romania; the other, a Romanian Colonel. It became a Christy Finalist and won a Silver Angel Award.

I now have six published novels, and each of them was birthed out of passion and interest. Knowledge came later. Many writers write wonderful books by “writing what they know.” I’ve even heard of some who can pump out thousands of words a day with seemingly little effort. But I’m not blessed that way. It takes me a long time to write a book, so I need to invest that time in subjects that matter to me so I can bring the things I care about to my readers, and hopefully make them care about them too.

 But in the end, every writer must find his own way—the thing that makes him want to get up in the morning and face another blank page. And what’s so exciting is this: God can use us all.

Sylvia Bambola is the award winning author of six novels, including Refiner’s Fire and Tears in a Bottle. A resident of Florida, she teaches women’s Bible studies, has been a guest speaker at Women’s Aglow and various church functions, has two grown children, and is currently learning the guitar. 

You can connect with Sylvia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Goodreads.

And you can purchase Sylvia's latest release, Rebekah's Treasure (released January 2014) now on Amazon! Here's some more info about the book:


Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value: Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.


  1. Amber, thank you for hosting me on your blog. Blessings!

  2. Sylvia,

    We're honored to have you as a guest! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the writing what you know vs. writing what you love topic. :)


  3. Great article, Sylvia! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.


Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry