When it comes to writing, I thought I knew who I was. I really did. If you had asked me, I’d have very confidently answered you. This summer, I’ve dealt with being a little bit, well, multiple personality maybe when it comes to writing. I wandered and struggled and muddled for over a month, and then I had to confess something to myself, something a few other people probably already knew. Something Sandra, my amazing agent, saw in her spirit before either of us knew she saw it. (To this day, I doubt she realizes God made her ask me a certain question long ago…)
I thought I wrote romance or even women’s fiction with a heavy dose of romance thrown in. I absolutely l-o-v-e-d writing my first two books. Going in Circles and Rearview Mirror remain my two favorites, and it would be awesome if they found a home someday. But they may not. And that’s okay. I had the absolute time of my life writing them, largely because I had no idea what I was doing until I figured it out in revision.
But one day, when I was knee deep in Rearview Mirror, Sandra and I were talking and she said, “Hey. So-and-so is looking for a military suspense. Think you’d be interested?” Immediate, swift, dropped the axe no from me. Nope. No way. Absolutely not. I wanted more Circles and Rearview and books just like them. I wanted to be Rachel Hauck. Kaye Dacus. Kristen Billerbeck. I devoured their novels and others like them, and my heart was so right there writing just like that. But within an hour after I hung up the phone, these visions started dancing in my head. (No, not sugar plums. Although likely I was eating candy at the time… M&Ms if you please.) I saw this woman–a soldier–come home, pull open the closet door, and find a man. But this wasn’t just a man. He wasn’t out to get her. It was her ex-husband, there to save her, to warn her that her life was in danger. And she wanted none of it. Until a bomb blew up outside her office building. And suddenly, this plot began to weave and pull together. So I fought it for a few months. We were in the middle of a military move, my husband was about to deploy, I was still working on Rearview…
And I did not want to write suspense.
But Sandra came to me and asked me again. So I blurbed out the scene idea I’d had, she sent it to Love Inspired… and they expressed some interest. No commitment, just a, “Hm. Interesting.” So I thought, why not?
Well, “why not” nearly killed me. I have never, ever, ever struggled so hard to write a book. It’s true. At one point, due to some circumstances in our lives, I lost the will to do anything other than sit on my butt. But I fought. I kicked. I pulled each and every word out of my head letter by letter by by force. I wanted to quit. I wanted to call Sandra and tell her I’d decided to take up hand feeding rabid alligators. For free.
Except God wouldn’t let me.
Have you ever seen those personal trainers on TV? The ones who scream at their trainees. “ONE MORE PUSHUP! YOU CAN DO IT! NOW! GIVE ME ONE MORE!” Okay, that was so God with me on that book. He would not let me quit. He kept yelling in a voice that sounded a lot like Cec Murphy at a conference I went to, “If you can quit, quit!” But I couldn’t quit and still be me.
And then, just when I thought I really was going to die… God up and did one of the most amazing things He has ever done in my writing career…
Part two can be found here.