At the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference in 2003, I
met several people who had a profound influence on my
entering the field of Christian writing. The first of
these was James Scott Bell . I ended up in Jim’s class
on writing fiction and found it fascinating. I’d always
been a voracious reader, but had never really thought
much about what it takes to put together a plot, bring
the characters to life, and convey a message while
holding the reader’s attention. Jim ended up becoming a
friend and mentor.
also took a class in writing “edgy fiction” taught by
another man who has meant a great deal to me, Alton
Gansky . Like Jim Bell, Al introduced me to many of the
basics of Christian fiction. He told the class, “Once
you try your hand at writing, you’ll never read in the
same way again.” He proved to be right. One of the
benefits of the conference was one-on-one time with
writers and editors, and I decided to sign up with Al
for some advice on what to do with my non-fiction work.
I still remember his casual remark that was affirming
for me: “You know how to put the words together.” Then
he took me across the room, introduced me to editor Gary Terashita, and the snowball kept rolling.
Encouraged, I wrote a novel which was eventually turned
down. But I was hooked. I rewrote that first
novel, then crafted and submitted a second and a third.
Along the way I received mentoring and support from a
bunch of folks in the writing world: Gayle Roper, Randy Ingermanson, Karen
Ball, Janet Benrey, DiAnn Mills, and many others. I
received lots of positive comments from editors, but never got that elusive contract.
Instead, I piled up rejection after rejection.
my fourth novel was rejected by several publishers, I
decided to give up. After all, forty rejections seemed
to send a pretty clear signal. But a number of factors
resulted in my giving it one more try. In
October 2008, I got the call from my agent, Rachelle
Gardner “You’ve sold your first novel.” It was
published by Abingdon Publishers in March, 2010. That
was followed by Medical Error, Diagnosis Death and
Lethal Remedy, all of which have received great
there’s a lesson here, I suppose it’s this: Do the work,
learn the craft, write, then write some more, and leave
the timing to God.