I don’t think of myself as one of those writers who’s always been a writer. Yes, I wrote little books as a child, and I remember sticking a piece of paper in one of my grandfather’s old hats that read “PRESS.” I wore it around while I interviewed my grandparents and any Oregon State students who happened to be staying with us. But I wasn’t a writer.
I was and remain a lover of stories. Whether this came from the great love I had for my grandparents–two people who chose to love me regardless of the fact they were technically not related to me–or from the stories they shared with me, I’m not sure.
My grandpa would tell me tales from his childhood and early married life. His passion for words gave me goose bumps no matter how many times he retold a story. My grandmother never hesitated to make time to read me. I’d snuggle on her lap, and she’d read until I’d finally had enough. I can still feel the texture of that over-sized chair.
Granny and Grandpa provided me with a bookshelf full of books I could read on my own. They encouraged me in everything I tried and always believed in me. They took me to church and taught me how to love by the way they lived. Their lives have made all the difference in mine.
Many afternoons, I’d find my grandpa working away on a textbook he was writing. He always sat at his desk and scribbled his words onto yellow legal pads. Today I have that same desk, and on a shelf nearby sits one of his old hats. When I was in high school, he decided to write the story of his life and I had the privilege of transferring his words from paper to my Macintosh.
When I reached my college years, it still hadn’t occurred to me that I could be a writer. I did well in my writing classes, and enjoyed the work, but I lacked enough confidence to live out my dreams.
Near the end of college I married a man who was way too good for me (and probably still is). My grandfather passed away soon after my wedding. Then came the kiddos. Four of them. I was a busy mother, taking care of my family, which now included my grandmother. We moved to the farm with Granny living in a small home on the property.
As she grew weaker, the doctor said it was time for hospice. One of the first things that happened in this transition was an intake with the social worker. She asked me what I liked to do before my grandmother became ill. After seven years of caregiving and motherhood, two of the greatest privileges of my life, I’d lost a bit of myself. If I could even remember who I’d been, would I still be the same person?
The social worker gave me much to ponder. The idea came to me that I’d like to write a book. Crazy, huh? Oddly, there was too much time in my days after Granny’s passing. So, I dove into this venture and soon had a juvenile fiction manuscript.
But once the writing virus takes hold, there is no cure. Since then, I’ve written many more manuscripts intended for the adult inspirational market. I joined critique groups, finally finding the one that pushes me to be better. These women have become some of my closest friends, and without mentioning them, my writing story would have a huge hole.
Writing is a long journey. Like any art, the craft requires countless hours of practice and dedication. While months may pass with little to no validation, there are also moments of celebrations. I’ve been honored as a three-time finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest, the overall winner in the Phoenix Rattler contest, as well as a third-place winner in the Idahope contest. The Oregon Christian Writers named me their 2017 Writer of Promise. What an honor that was.
My first novel, If We Make It Home, was released by Kregel Publications in the fall of 2017. Another novel is scheduled for fall of 2018.
I’m blessed to be represented by Cynthia Ruchti of Books & Such Literary Management. Cynthia is one of my favorite authors. I love the opportunity to work with her and learn from her vast wisdom.
While the writer’s road is not without bumps—many quite deep—I love what I do. I think it’s the path God has always had for me.