I’ve always loved books. And loving books means being aware of some amazing authors and writers. Now that I am a part of the writing community (and its a big one!) I’ve had the privelage of getting to know so many writers on a more personal level. They become more than names on books and blogs. They become friends. I’m excited to spotlight a few today!
I met Janet Thompson while at a writer’s event in my hometown, Idyllwild. Janet and I got to talking and she was such an encouragement. She recommended I attend the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference and the following year I did. I’m so glad I met Janet during a time when I was just beginning to find my feet as a writer and an author. Her kindness and smile left an impression on me that day and I am honored to count her among my writing friends!
Janet shares a little about her newest bible study series: Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading With God
Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah, each pleaded with God for a baby, but I wanted to include other life circumstances where women might plead with God, so I sent out a request for stories. I was amazed at the response and the variety of stories I received. Women were graciously willing to share their vulnerable experiences to let other women know they were not alone. That’s the heart of mentoring: sharing those-been-there-done-that experiences and with God’s help I made it through and you will too.
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Another author I’ve had the privilege of getting to know is a sweet-as-can-be lady by the name of Keli Gwyn. She’s a born encourager and a bright light in the writing world. I am so thankful that I “bumped” into her in cyber space and have gotten to know her better through blogs and emails. I’m looking forward to meeting Keli one day at a writer’s conference. She writes sweet inspirational romances and to give you a sneak peek into her debut novel, I asked Keli what she hopes readers will take away from A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado California and what aspects of the story might encourage readers to reflect on their own lives or the world today:
Having had a controlling father she could never please, Elenora feels the need to prove herself in every area of life, driving herself hard and missing out on happiness in the process. I like to think readers will come to see, as Ellie does, that we’re loved not as much for what we do, as for who we are. Our Heavenly Father looks at our hearts, not our lists of accomplishments and awards. Ellie feels distant from God and doesn’t experience His comforting presence. Much of the time she’s too busy following her own agenda to hear His still small voice, as she longs to do. What she discovers, as I hope readers do, too, is that when we relinquish control to our loving Father and follow His leading, our lives will be more fulfilling and more enjoyable.
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Last, but definitely not least is Karen Barnett. I was at the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference orientation and the speaker decided to do an ice breaker that involved writing a bit about yourself, turning it into a paper airplane, and flying it across the room. Turns out I can’t throw a plane to save my life and it landed on the ground next to Karen who was practically standing beside me. We got to talking and had so much in common. She’s been a great encourager both at the conference and ever since. We’ve kept in touch and I’ve enjoyed following her journey towards publication and always watch for her latest blog posts. Karen’s historical fiction is set in the early 1900’s. Here’s what Karen hopes readers will take away from her stories:
My favorite part of writing God-stories is that He never changes. As Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Whether my characters are stumbling through earthquake-damaged streets in 1906 or sneaking out of the house to meet rum-runners during Prohibition, their faith journey is not so different than our own. I hope my readers will identify with the character’s inner struggles—whether it be grief, insecurity, doubt, or fear—and realize that we have a loving Father who is willing to walk beside us through all the dark valleys of our lives (Ps. 23:4)
I’m so glad to get to spotlight these three awesome ladies. I hope you’ll visit their websites and check out their books. I’m so thankful for the authors and bloggers I’ve gotten to know over the past few years, both in person and online. This list could seriously go on and on. I have met so many amazing and talented writers and truly count it a blessing to be among this community.