Last week I shared how I became a writer. Later that night, after I wrote my post, I received a surprising email. Here is the story… (*I originally posted this on August 6th, 2011)
I first heard about Marcher Lord Press through a blog interview a few years ago. By then, I knew enough about the writing industry to know that publishing a Christian fantasy would be difficult. Hardly any Christian publishing companies were taking those kinds of books. They wanted romance, historical, Amish. Not a fantasy set in a different world. Not my kind of book.
Then I read Randy Ingermanson’s interview with a man named Jeff Gerke. Jeff was starting a new publishing company that would only produce Christian science fiction and fantasy. He saw a market out there that no one was reaching. So he was going to reach it.
After reading that interview, I turned to Dan and said, “My book might have a home someday.” I never realized how true those words would become.
I watched Marcher Lord Press with interest. I watched the books produced. I read the books. And they were good. Really good. I was still finishing my own book at the time, but I knew when I was done, I wanted to submit it to Marcher Lord Press.
Later that spring, I went to the Mt Hermon Writing conference with a finished book in hand, ready to show it to agents and publishers. I also met Jeff there. I told him about my book. He seemed interested and told me to submit it. But he also warned me that it would take 12-18 months for him to get back to me about it. That was fine with me.
I went home and sent off my manuscript. I also sent it off to a couple others who were interested. Then I started writing the second book. I heard back from the others. The message was the same: good book, but not for us. I didn’t lose heart. I knew I suppose to write. But that didn’t necessarily mean I would be published.
Then life happened. Dan and I found ourselves at a crossroads a couple months ago after he was let go from the church we were serving at. All thoughts of publishing disappeared from my mind. Instead, I found myself in God’s crucible. I was being reshaped and reforged by grief and heartache. Dan and I clung to each other and God as we sought what we should do next. It finally came to the point that I would need to go back to work full time in order to help my family.
But how did publishing fit in with that? I didn’t know. We were beginning a whole new way of life with me working and Dan taking care of the kids, going to school, and looking for work or church planting. I finally knelt down one night after the kids went to bed and cried. I knew I couldn’t work and write and take care of my family. Something had to give. And I knew in my heart it had to be my writing. So for the first time, with my whole heart, I gave my writing to God. I cried as I prayed. Giving up one’s dream is really hard to do. But I was willing to give it up if God so chose.
After work last Friday, I received an email from Jeff… and didn’t open it. I waited until the kids were in bed. Then I did the dishes, all the while praying. I was scared of what the email would say. If Jeff said no, then I was free to walk away from writing. If Jeff said yes, then my life would be changing again.
I finally sat down and opened the email. Jeff’s first words were would I like to be a Marcher Lord?
I ran to Dan’s office crying. Poor Dan, he couldn’t figure out if they were good tears or sad tears. I finally said Jeff wants my book. Then we both came running back to my computer and finished the email. Then I sent off my reply. Yes, I wanted to be a Marcher Lord.
I couldn’t believe it. I walked around the house the next two days in a daze. I felt that gut twisting sensation you get when the roller coaster reaches the top and you’re looking down right before the plunge: excited and terrified. The contract came in. I read over it a couple times, had Dan read it, then signed it.
Monday, the news broke and life has not been the same since. From the moment I started writing years ago to now, I can see God’s hand on my writing journey. Everything has happened in His time. And everything I learned on the journey: patience, dealing with rejection, being teachable, has made me the person I needed to be as a published author.