By the grace of God, my third novel, Invisible, released on April 1st.
Okay, I confess, that first sentence is a bit of shameless promotion. However, it’s also truth. I’m convinced that Invisible was written and released only because of God’s incredible grace.
Here’s the back-story: When I signed my first book contract, my agent said, “There’s a reason the word dead is in deadline. If you miss a deadline, your career is dead.” I waited to hear the smile in his voice or a chuckle to indicate he was kidding, but neither came. He was serious.
Could I write a novel in a year and meet that first deadline? It had taken me four years to write my first novel, so all I had to go on was faith. I signed the contract, and agreed to the deadline, trusting God would work through me. And He didn’t disappoint. The manuscript for my second novel, Lost and Found, was turned in on February 1st, the morning of its due date.
I spent the next couple of months promoting my debut novel, Words, which released on that same date. And I began writing my third novel. That summer, B&H Publishing Group, my publisher, booked me for what felt like a whirlwind of opportunity. I attended ICRS in Atlanta, where I spent seven days promoting Words and attended my first Christy Award ceremony.
I then spent two weeks of August in Canada where I did two book signings and spoke.
In early September, I was off to teach a workshop at a Lifeway women’s event in Birmingham, Alabama. From there, I rented a car and drove to Nashville, where I spent the next seven days attending the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference where I had opportunities to promote the upcoming release of Lost and Found.
I returned home in mid-September and two days later went in for a scheduled surgery. Nothing major. The recovery time would be perfect writing time. Though, I’ll confess, I was getting a bit nervous about that next February 1st deadline. Sure, I’d begun writing that third novel back in early spring, but I struggled with it.
I’d admitted my struggle to my senior editor during that Christy Awards ceremony in July and I shared a new idea with her that same evening. She loved the new book idea and told me to go for it.
So while I’d thought about the idea for the book during the summer, it wasn’t until fall that I’d begin writing.
But that simple surgery? It didn’t go well. In fact, there were complications and a second surgery followed in early October. Then in late October, I had surgery again. This time it was major surgery. And guess what? It didn’t go well. There were complications with that surgery too. Painful complications. In fact, the night before Thanksgiving, my housemate called my doctor, and told her I was in excruciating pain. She told my housemate to get me to her office, where she’d meet us in 15 minutes. My doctor arrived wearing scrubs and a Thanksgiving apron.
Another procedure followed the week after Thanksgiving. During December and January, I attempted to write, but all that anesthesia had muddled my mind.
You see where this is going, right?
I missed my deadline and I knew the career I’d longed for and worked toward for 20 years, would die. I expected my publisher would cancel my contract.
Everyone I knew was praying for a miracle. Praying that God would write through me and I’d somehow make my new, extended, March 1st deadline. I leaned on my faith, believing God could do all things.
But… God didn’t cooperate.
In fact, the manuscript for Invisible wasn’t turned in until late June. Between March 1st and late June, some interesting things took place.
- My publisher offered grace, time and time again.
- My agent also offered grace and encouraged me to trust God.
- In April both my agent and editor told me to take time away to relax and refresh during the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. It would be my 20th year in attendance. A major dose of grace.
- During the conference, I met Liz Curtis Higgs who took an interest in my manuscript—my long past due manuscript. She offered to critique it for me and then she endorsed it.
- In May, an acquaintance I’d lost touch with, found me via Twitter. She’d read my first novel, Words, and loved it. She wanted to know how she could help further my career. I sent her my past-due manuscript. She read it first as a counselor and checked it for accuracy in my portrayal of deep issues, and then she also endorsed it. That was Marilyn Meberg with Women of Faith.
- Finally, somewhere during that time, my editor discovered that Invisible was slated for an April 1st release rather than a February 1st release. At that point, I was contracted for a total of six novels with B&H—every single one was/is scheduled for a February 1st release, except Invisible. No one seemed to know how or why that happened, but it gave us a couple of extra months.
So does my agent still say that the word dead is in deadline for a reason? I suspect he does and I suspect that he speaks from experience.
But here’s the truth of the matter: God is sovereign over all. Even deadlines.
When we loosen our grasp of control and surrender our work to Him, He is faithful. Sure that’s easy to say as Invisible is enjoying a first week of rave reviews. But it could have died before publication and God would still be faithful.
It isn’t the outcome that determines God’s faithfulness. The circumstance has nothing to do with who God is. He has a plan for each of us and there were many, many times during my 17+ year journey to publication when it felt like God had forgotten me. When I was tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness. When it didn’t seem like His grace extended to my writing career.
But if I’d fallen to the temptation of believing those lies, I’d have given up long ago.
God is God.
He is faithful.
And filled with grace.
Whether we meet our deadlines or not.
Bio: Ginny L. Yttrup won a Christy Award for her debut novel, Words, and is the author of Lost and Found, and her recent release, Invisible. She writes issue-driven fiction heavy on healing and redemption. When not writing, Ginny loves spending time with her young adult sons and friends. She also enjoys, gardening, reading, and making jewelry for her business, Bookish Baubles.
Ellyn DeMoss -- chef, café owner, and lover of butter -- is hiding behind her extra weight. But what is she hiding? While Ellyn sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.
Sabina Jackson -- tall, slender, and exotic -- left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. What’s she hiding from? Is it God?
Twila Boaz has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival. But will she succeed?
As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God’s image.
Today, Ginny is giving away a copy of Invisible and a necklace from Bookish Baubles to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
Here's the lovely necklace. Do yourself a favor and check out Bookish Baubles!!