The Story Behind the Story

0 comments Posted on March 4, 2021

by Joan C. Benson

Have you ever wondered why authors write what they do? I have. In my case, the backstory for my debut historical fiction novel, His Gift, is quite personal. The key conflict is based on a true event in my mother’s life at the onset of The Great Depression.

I began His Gift after my mother passed away. While reading her diaries, I heard her “voice” in a fresh way, not as my mom, but as a young woman with dreams and determination to see them happen. I knew snippets of “her story,” but as an adult writer, I recognized her life contained a drama deserving to be shared.

Armed with ideas, my husband and I traveled to Royal Oak, MI, to research. We located my grandparents’ home, and the music conservatory where my mother studied. I researched what seemed like miles of microfiche about the 1920s at the Detroit Public Library.

I felt prepared to write. However, after the conflict was developed, I hit a wall. There was no real-life resolution. Seeking God’s help, I prayed, I read, and I also gave up. Multiple times.

One day, I had the inspiration I had prayed for. I wrote with passion, knowing the ending would bring glory to God. Upon completion, this self-described depressing period of history was alive with hope—through Christ, our only hope in all seasons.

This was my novel’s backstory—the story behind the story of His Gift.

Joan C Benson is a wife, mother, grandmother, and author/speaker. She has written for thirty years in educational publishing, contributing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and curriculum. Her work has published in multiple Christian magazines and LifeWay Publishing’s children’s ministry. Her debut historical fiction novel, His Gift, was published by Elk Lake Publishing in 2020. Visit her on her website at, on Facebook at or on Goodreads at


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