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Finding the sacred in everyday life
‘Replication’ delves into purpose — even for clones
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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Oct. 29, 2012 12:15 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Jill Williamson

The idea that each person has a purpose in life is important to author Jill Williamson – so much so that it’s the current that carries readers through her teen book “Replication [The Jason Experiment].”
“Every person is created for a reason,” Williamson said, adding that people’s purpose can change, like in her life.
Williamson studied to be a fashion designer, then worked toward being a motivational speaker for teens before deciding to write speculative fiction for young adults. Now, she’s bringing the topic up for readers to wrestle with in “Replication” where humans and clones struggle with what their contribution should be.
In “Replication,” one of Williamson’s six Christian teen novels, Abby discovers her scientist father is working in a hidden human cloning facility called Jason Farms. One of the clones, J:3:3 (aka Martyr), escapes in her father’s pick-up truck because he desperately wants to see the sky and the outside world before he expires on his 18th birthday. Eventually Abby and Martyr work together to try to free the other clones, especially Baby because Martyr protects Baby and the other “broken” clones in the facility.
“Everybody loves Martyr,” Williamson said, “and I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that they have had to think about the things they have taken for granted. It’s made them pause and notice the world.”
“Replication” is planned as a three-book series, but Williamson is currently working on other book projects, raising an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old and involved with youth ministry in eastern Oregon where her husband is a youth pastor.
“I’ve always loved to read teen books,” she said, and she often shared books with the teens she knew and wished that there were more options in Christian fiction – more books that Christians could agree on.
Then reality struck. Agreement was hard to find and writing took practice. Publishing took networking.
Still, it was fun to create characters who are real and flawed, so Williamson stuck with it.
“Stories are powerful,” she said, like a woman who has found her purpose.
About the Simply Faithful book club
For about a year Marketta Gregory, author of the Simply Faithful column, has invited readers to join her in reading and discussing books with spiritual themes. So far, the community has read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and “Rooms” by James Rubart. The current selections – all four – were chosen to encourage younger readers to participate in the conversation. They are:
  • “Who Built the Stable?” by Ashley Bryan ($16.99, Simon and Schuster).
  • “Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish” by Jenn Kelly ($12.99, Zondervan).
  • “Replication [The Jason Experiment]” by Jill Williamson ($15.99, Zondervan).
  • “Graceful: Letting Go of your Try-Hard Life” by Emily P. Freeman ($12.99, Revell).
  • Meet Jill Williamson
    Learn more about author Jill Williamson at her Website: www.JillWilliamson.com. You can also find her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Look for @JillWilliamson.
    Readers have the chance to chat live with her at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 on the Simply Faithful Facebook page.

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