I am often asked how I got started writing, so I thought I would share my writing journey with you!
I’ve loved reading since I first visited the library as a young child and checked out a tall stack of picture books. I soon graduated to chapter books and spent many happy hours, lying on our porch swing reading. Those lazy days gave my imagination a chance to grow, and they helped me develop a love for well-told stories. My love for writing began when I penned my first novel at age twelve, Passport to Paris. I wrote it out by hand, and my mother typed it up for me. Now that’s love!
I continued to be an avid reader through my school years, and though I enjoyed writing, I mainly focused on art, and that became my major at college.
My husband and I were blessed with five children, and when our oldest son had some learning challenges, we decided to homeschool. That was a huge investment of time and energy, but it was a wonderful choice for our family. It revived my love for history and exposed me to great children’s literature as I read aloud to our kids each day.
Our family spent time in Kenya as missionaries in 1996-97. After we returned to the US I missed Africa so much that I decided to write a story set there as a way to relive some of our experiences. I poured out the story without knowing much about the art of writing fiction. I loved it! But when I showed it to an editor at my first writers’ conference, I found out I had a lot to learn about writing novels. I almost gave up writing at that point, but the Lord used a kind neighbor to encourage me with a gift of several writing craft books. I sensed the Lord telling me to press on and learn what I needed to learn to become a skilled writer.
Soon after that I read a novella by Beth White. I was so impressed with her story, that I emailed her and asked for her advice about learning how to write fiction. She was very encouraging and directed me to a new group that was forming online called American Christian Romance Writers. I joined ACRW in 2000, which later became ACFW, and I connected with a wonderful group of published and aspiring authors. There were less than 100 of us that first year. Now there are almost 3000 members.
Through ACFW I met Kristy Dykes, who became a dear friend and mentor. Her love for the Lord and encouragement were priceless! She critiqued my work and invited me to be one of four authors who submitted a novella proposal to Barbour. Wedded Bliss was accepted and published in November 2005. I joined a critique group, and those friends helped me polish my writing. A few months after Wedded Bliss was published I received a contract with Love Inspired for my first novel, Along Came Love.
During those early years before I was published I wrote five novels and two novellas. I call those my “learning how to write novels.” Since then I’ve had several more novels and novellas published, and I have two more contracted. Winning a Carol Award, The International Digital Award, and the Crystal Globe Award have been great encouragements along the way! But most of all I feel blessed that God has allowed me to share the stories He puts in my heart. My prayer is that readers will be touched with God’s love and truth, and they will be drawn closer to Him as they read my novels.
I recently celebrated the release of my eleventh novel, The Governess of Highland Hall, Book One of the Edwardian Brides’ Series. I’m very grateful for all God has done to open up doors and help me along on my writing journey. I’ve wanted to write longer historical novels for several years, so this feels like a dream come true. If you like Downton Abbey and English novels like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, then I think will enjoy The Governess of Highland Hall.
I’d love to hear more about your story. As you look back, what’s one important turning point in your life-journey?