I’ve received some interesting questions and comments over the last few days. I thought you might like me to share.
Christine from Wisconsin asked about my experience of winning the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild First Novel Contest in 2004.
I’d finally finished my first book (and the first thing I’d ever written) and decided to enter the manuscript in the contest that Mr. Jenkins and Tyndale House Publishers sponsored. It was the first ever, First Novel contest. I think I’d read about the contest in Writers Digest Magazine. I was definitely a novice without a clue as to what I was getting into. I had listened to Mr. Jenkins speak at a conference a couple of years before this, and I was impressed by his knowledge and his encouragement to writers, not to mention his wonderful sense of humor.
I hoped, as I sent Troublesome Creek off to Colorado Springs on a wing and a prayer from my home in Kentucky, that maybe, just maybe, someone there at the Christian Writers Guild would take a look at my project and give me a bit of encouragement. I’d already been told by an editor in the business that my book was too long (correct) and that historical fiction did not sell (INCORRECT).
A few weeks after entering the contest, I received an e-mail from CWG saying my manuscript was in the top 20. A couple of weeks later it was in the top 10. This was definitely encouraging—my prayer had been answered. Then I received THE PHONE CALL, Troublesome Creek was in the top 3! The three finalists, along with our spouses, were invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Atlanta where the winner would be announced.
Imagine my delight when my too long, too historical fiction novel was declared the winner. Now I’m writing my 7th book for Tyndale, Tattler’s Branch.
Another reader, Kathy, wondered, since I wrote of my recent experience with a skunk, if there would be a skunk appearance in a future book. Some readers might remember that the never-do-well character, Isa Still from Still House Pond had tried his hand at skunk farming.
Nelda, a retired teacher, shared a story from her childhood. She caught a mother skunk with 3 babies. A doctor bought them and removed their scent glands. He kept them for pets.
And Victoria sent me an e-mail of encouragement. She wrote in part, “I truly get lost in your characters. So, please don’t let this one (Skip Rock Shallows) be the last one in the series.”
Good Lord willing, if you’ll all keep reading, I’ll keep writing.