Behind the Books We Love from Author Hope Bolinger

About Behind the Books We Love From the Authors We Love tour

Books are often so much more than just a way to pass the extra minutes or hours of the day. Books are both a way to escape reality, as well as to reshape our reality with the values we take from stories or testimonies. Any dedicated reader likely has a favorite book that changed the way they looked at life or a situation, and that’s because authors–often intentionally–write their books from personal passions or experiences.

In our new blog series, we are sharing the purposes and inspirations of these books. Behind the Books We Love From the Authors We Love will be an ongoing series for the next few months and will feature authors of all genres to all ages of readers. You may recognize some of their books as being featured on Literature Approved before, and others are entirely new. But these posts are sure to give you a fresh look at a book that you loved, or may even motivate you to pick up one you’ve never read. We invite you to join us by checking back with us every couple of weeks, or ensure that you’re following us so that you get the articles in your email–who knows, maybe your favorite author will be featured?!

Catch all the Behind the Books posts

Behind Blaze from Hope Bolinger

It all started in a gen ed class.

Our professor was the type who like to go through 70+ slides in our 50-minute class to cover as much material as possible. We had to study 39 ancient books in a semester, after all, and that left little time for discussion, hand cramping from jotting down so many notes, and sometimes, thinking.

On Wednesday, she decided to go through the Book of Daniel. Yup. The dude who got tossed into a lion’s den in Ancient Babylon. Fun stuff.

So as the side of my hand bled purple from the amount of ink I’d smudge from turning notebook pages, something she said stopped my hand cold.


“So Daniel, and his three friends, would’ve been about fifteen or sixteen years old when they entered Babylonian captivity.”


I slumped back in my creaking metal chair, almost as if the weight of her words pushed me into it.

Fifteen or sixteen.

These teens entered a three-year education.

Where the largest kingdom in the world tried to strip them of their cultural identity.

And they stood strong. Stood up to the guards. Up to the King. Up to Babylon.

Goodness, why did that sound so familiar?

Locker slams and the blare of a school bell that announced the end of sixth period rang through my head for a moment. Oh, right. High school.

By the time my prof. hit the 56th slide, the ideas formed together as my friend nudged me and raised an eyebrow at my notebook, notes about 30-something slides behind. I ignored her and pressed my fingers to my lips and leaned forward in pure concentration.

What if I put the Book of Daniel in a high school?

Gen-Z teens, after all stood up (and are standing up) to Babylon and kings of corruption today. They’ve stood up to stigmas, to racism, to intolerance. Even if that means facing fiery furnaces of tainted administrations, violence crises, and adults who won’t take them seriously.

What better time to place Daniel and his friends?

“For Friday have Hosea, Joel and Amos read.” The PowerPoint clicked to black.

My friend nudged me again as I shut my notebook. “You OK?”

“Mhmm.” I wasn’t. I just had a book idea, which meant a lot of fiery furnaces in the future for me. But I didn’t care. I guess I would have to do a little standing up myself, too.


Read Our Review of Blaze

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Author Bio:

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. She is excited for her modern-day Daniel “Blaze” to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She enjoys all things theater, cats, and fire.