Inspiration for The Color of Light

With one week left until The Color of Light appears on bookstore shelves, I’ve been busy.

The Color of Light InspirationNot only am I hard at work on When We Were Sisters, but this week I completed a guest blog and an interview about the novel. Yesterday I asked to rewrite the back cover copy for Sisters, and I began work on my newsletter with a unique giveaway this month.  (You can sign up on almost any page of my website.) So it’s been busy around here.

I thought instead of something completely new this week I’d post the inspiration page I wrote for The Color of Light, in case you haven’t had time to see it. If you’re intrigued and follow that link or click books on my website, you’ll also find an overview, reviews, a reader’s guide and an excerpt. I’ve also included a recipe from the novel here. One of my readers tried it the day it went up and says it’s a keeper.

But since I wanted to share something original here, I’m including photos of my characters. Meet Analiese and Shiloh, or at least close to the way I envision them. When you read the book tell me if these fit with the way you saw the characters in your mind.

And now, enjoy my “inspiration” page.

I’ll admit that writing about churches is tough. So many of us have preconceived notions about what it’s like to be a clergy person in any denomination or religion. We forget to view ministers/priests/rabbis and all other people serving religious communities as human beings, flawed and struggling. I think that’s why when clergy falls from the pedestal, as we see far too often and publicly, we are shocked and disheartened. So exposing that basic humanity can be tricky for an author.

As the wife of a minister for many years I’ve seen the best and worst of my husband’s colleagues and friends. I know them for the people they are.  I had fun with this in my Ministry is Murder novels. And I’ve tackled ministers as “heroes” in two novels, one, Dragonslayer, which won the Romance Writers of America RITA, and another, Endless Chain, the second novel of my Shenandoah Album series, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. While critically acclaimed and meaningful to many of my readers, neither novel was among my bestsellers.

Knowing this, I still chose to write about Analiese Wagner, the minister of the Church of the Covenant in Asheville, North Carolina and home of the Goddesses Anonymous. That series began four years ago, and this is the fourth novel. Many readers have asked for Analiese’s story because she’s been a consistent character and wise woman in each of the preceding books.

The Color of Light Inspiration

But Analiese, like every real minister, must have her challenges. I considered all the possibilities. Battles between churches and their clergy are all too common. Personal struggles are, too.  1700 ministers leave ministry each month citing, among other problems, exhaustion, depression and negative impact on family.  This is never an easy job, and I didn’t believe it would be easy for Analiese, either.

In the end I knew that Analiese must struggle here with both her congregation and herself. And she does.

I’ve never been as happy with a title as I am with this one, which was suggested by one of my readers. I think you’ll see why it fit so perfectly.


  1. Darla S Fain on July 23, 2015 at 9:51 am


  2. Kim B. on July 24, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Can’t wait to read it!

  3. Rona Reder on January 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I loved “The Color of Light” . Will it be the last book in the Goddesses Anonymous series or will there be more?

    • Emilie Richards on January 29, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Rona, I’m so glad you loved it. At this time I’m not planning another in the series, having written two non-series novels since, but stranger things have happened. Look for The Swallow’s Nest in June. While it’s not connected, an idea from writing the Goddesses Anonymous series was the catalyst.

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