I'm not one of those authors who knew they wanted to write from the moment they discovered blank paper and Crayons. Who knew the stories I told (back then they called it lying) and played out for weeks with my dolls, would someday become books about women and their friendships?
January 1st, 2003, I sat down and started my first novel. After writing most of that first manuscript, I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who became close friends, ones who told me plainly I had a lot to learn.
What an understatement. POV? Never heard the term. Omniscient? That's what God was. Show don't tell? How do I tell a story without telling? Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought all the books on the craft of fiction writing they recommended. I read them and absorbed more.
I believe it takes a village to raise a novel. At least it did in my case. My critique partners (we've been together for 11 years) were serious about publishing, and we were tough on one another. So tough, we all earned nicknames: Attila the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen. Me? Oh, I'm Ane of Mean Gables. And so the legend was born.
I went to editorial committee several times, but was always rejected. My critique partners got published but not me. I got discouraged. I asked God ... okay, I whined ... why wasn't I getting anywhere? I had been so sure He called me to write. I needed a sign. God gave me one. I signed with an agent.
I started getting further, going to pub board. This was it! Whoopee! Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor was going to hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired before the next quarter, and her computer hard drive was wiped clean. I was lost in cyber oblivion.
Then my agent retired. Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a rollercoaster. But God said, "Wait. Trust me." He didn't offer me another choice, so I chose to trust.
Finally, in August of 2013, nearly eleven years after I began this journey, my agent called me to tell me we had an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
If there's one thing I've learned during this journey, it's this: God must be part of the equation. Though I'd learned the craft earlier in my journey, He wasn't ready for me to publish. I won't know why this side of Heaven, but I'm okay with that.
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.
With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.
Chapel Springs Revival
Barnes and Nobel link:
Chapel Springs Revival