Dreams are the stuff life is made of, especially a writer’s life. Even as a child, I knew deep inside that I was a writer. I daydreamed . . . a lot. I actually wrote my first book—a romance, of course—in the third grade. That earned me a spanking from my mother because the heroine (me) wanted to have the hero’s baby: my first lesson in censorship.
Then I remember falling in love with Audie Murphy in the movie I wrote in my head. He played the part of a cowboy grievously wounded by an arrow, and I nursed him back to health even though we were under constant attack out on the plains. He was the stuff dreams are made of.
My grandmother Addie Spaulding Stowell wrote and published her first novel at the age of seventy and continued to write well into her eighties. Since I was a budding writer, too, she passed on all of her old issues of The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazines to me. From the time I was eight, I practically cut my teeth on craft.
And then there was the fact that Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was my grandmother’s second cousin, which surely assured my future as a New York Times bestselling author. Not so much.
Since I had vowed to write my first novel before the age of thirty, I just squeaked by and churned out Love’s Golden Dawn on one of the first correcting IBM typewriters. I’m still in love with the title, but the manuscript lies moldering in the grave.
In fits and starts, I continued to write while holding down a job, first as a newspaper reporter and editor, always chasing the smell of paper and ink. God answered my prayers in December 1993 when my co-author, Carrie Younce, and I published Sedona Storm, a bestseller for Christian publisher Thomas Nelson, followed up by Secrets of the Gathering Darkness. Success, right? Alas, success is fleeting.
Dreams are ephemeral, and God sometimes has other plans for you. For me, when my husband Mike was sidelined with A-Fib, I became the main breadwinner. Oh, I continued to write gift books as work-for-hire projects. Mothers of Influence was my last. By that time I was a Christian book editor, and the Lord brought me to a fork in the road. Instead of continuing my writing career, I set aside my dream and used my gifts and talents in the Christian book industry as an editor.
Frankly, I thought I’d never write again, but after I retired and continued to work as a literary agent and freelance editor, characters popped up at the strangest times. Storylines ran through my head. I saw Technicolor movies in my mind again. Hello, God, is that you? Do you really want me to write another book?
Well, I’m here to tell you the dream is still alive. With the encouragement of fellow writers at Seekerville, I finished Dreams of My Heart, the first book in my Reluctant Brides series, early this summer, and I’m halfway through the manuscript of Book 2.
As Eric Liddell, whose life was so beautifully portrayed in Chariots of Fire, once told his sister, “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
When I write, I feel God’s pleasure.
If your dreams are God’s will, you may take a few detours in your pursuit of them, but if you are willing to wait, the Lord will bring them to fruition. I don’t know what lies ahead. But I do know that every experience along the way has made me a better writer.