I might as well just jump into this story, so I’ll start at the beginning.
I always wanted to write, but was scared of failure. I loved to read romance, especially westerns, and I enjoyed the Christian fiction I could get my hands on.
Finally, I decided I’d better put up or shut up. I went to the library and found one book on the shelves about writing fiction that sounded like it might be helpful. It was by Kathryn Falk. I think it was called How to Write a Romance. I devoured it. By this time I had started my great American novel. I didn’t know anyone who was published or even dreamed of becoming an author, so I was working in a dark hole with Kathryn Falk’s book as my map.
According to Miss Falk’s book, it would take several months for an editor to get back to me, so by my calculations, I needed to query somebody since I was about 100 pages into my story. Then something BIG happened.
In August of 1995, I was listening to public radio on the way to work. I heard a senior editor of a well-known Christian publishing house talking about the growing popularity of inspirational fiction. I pulled over on the side of the road and wrote down everything she said, including the fact that she said if anyone had a story to tell, she'd be willing to look at it.
My hand was literally shaking, and I queried her immediately.
Such a God thing, right? Here I was right on target. I had just enough time to finish the manuscript before she asked to see it. Things were going good, really good!
Between that query and her response three months later, I hooked up with a local writers' group, and had my work bled all over, in good way of course. Somewhere about this time, I realized I had a long way to go to be a published author.
So, what was the editor’s response? She asked me to send what I’d written. GULP!
This was bad, very bad! The story was horrible, no real beginning, middle, or end, and I'd learned just enough from my new writer friends to know that I was in real trouble.
The only thing that saved me was that the editor left the publishing house before I could get anything in the mail and I was off the hook.
I slinked back into my hole and got serious about learning the craft of writing.
Fast forward 15 years.
With a fairly large portfolio of contest wins, rejection letters, and near misses at a smattering of publishing houses, Tyndale House Publishers released my debut novel, Stealing Jake, in July 2011.
And who was the mystery editor I heard on the radio way back in 1995?
Tyndale House, Senior Editor, Karen Ball.
And lest we think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, Karen is now an agent with the Steve Laube Agency, and I’m blessed to be represented by Steve.
Now how’s that for coming full circle?