I had a dream of being a writer forever, but put all my writing on the shelf to homeschool my four kids over a 20 year span. It was great. But what about writing? Well, I gave it to God and just kept praying for an open door if he wanted me published. This story of how I got published is better than fiction.
I was shopping in the bargain bin at my local Ollie's and started to chat with the lady who was also grabbing Amish fiction. She said she knew many of the authors; they were her "clients". I felt sorry for her, thinking she was delusional, although she seemed quite normal. (I thought all literary agents lived in NY) So I told her I was writing an Amish novel based on my Amish friends and to get through the grieving process. I'd lost my mom and two cousins over the past 13 months. We exchanged emails. She contacted me and I thought...OK...I'll have coffee with this nice lady. Maybe a new friend? Maybe we can go to counseling together? So we chatted and I almost fainted when I found out I was talking to Joyce Hart, the CEO of Hartline Literary Agency, one of the most respected literary agents in Christian fiction and non-fiction. (Anyone else out there ever hear of Ace Collins? Suzanne Woods Fisher?) I swallowed hard. Was this the door I was asking God to open, and it happened in my everyday life, while shopping in a bargain bin? Yes! Joyce was like an angel from heaven, helping this fledgling fly not only to get published, but by patiently being my friend. She knew I was grieving...My first draft for Knit Together had my cousin who died of cancer in it. Then I took her out, being too depressed to write about Renea. Eventually the manuscript shrunk from 93,000 words to 81,000, some because of editing... The road to being published with Helping Hands Press is interesting too. Suzanne Woods Fisher, one of the Queens of Amish Fiction, was asked by them to write a continuing serial, something that's making a comeback. She referred Helping Hands Press to me. Three years later, I have several novels and novellas, some published with Lamb Books, a small independent publisher, and Lord willing, I'll write many more.