Please welcome this weeks guest Kelly Irvin for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
God has the wheel
My writing journey began when I was a child, but it has managed to meander all over the place for most of my life. It’s taken me many years to discover God’s plan for me and to discover I was never in charge at all. I’m from a working class family and I always knew I wanted to write novels, but I also I wanted to be able to support myself. So I decided to become a newspaper reporter. I could write and get paid for it. Then I met the love of my life, got married, had two children, and one day I woke up, flabbergasted to discover I was forty-five years old. That day I knew if I didn’t get my rear in gear and start writing, I would never realize my dream of becoming a published novelist.
Right about that time, I checked out a book at the library by Dee Henderson. I had no idea who she was, but the story sounded good. When I turned the last page of The Healer, I knew this was what I wanted to write. Until then I didn’t know inspirational or Christian fiction existed. I love the way God mixes things up. A Christian fiction novel in my public library right there for me to pick up.
I threw myself into writing my series. I finished the first novel in six months, writing before work, at lunch, nights, weekends. Then what? I went to writing conferences, pitched to editors, cried over rejection after rejection. It took me another two years to secure an agent. Dear Mary Sue Seymour worked hard, trying to sell that first novel for me. Meanwhile I slaved away, working at my full-time job in public relations and raising two middle school age children. Remember middle school? The trauma of bad hair days and Spanish exams and basketball tryouts?
Another three years passed. Finally, exhausted, discouraged, and more than a little peeved, I sat down in the pew on Sunday and had a talk with God. I told Him I couldn’t do it anymore. I was too tired to work all day and write at night, and still cook supper, do the laundry, buy the groceries, and occasionally pay attention to my supportive, but bewildered, husband. I told Him I was seriously considering trying to sell to the secular market. My suspense was too gritty, my agent couldn’t sell it. I needed a sign. Keep going. Go another direction. Stop.
Three days later I got The Call. Five Star Gale, a secular publishing house that included inspirational fiction in its romantic suspense and mystery line, had offered me a contract for A Deadly Wilderness. Five Star specializes in library quality hardbacks. Libraries are their niche market. I grew up at the public library in my little hometown of Abilene, Kansas. We couldn’t afford to buy books, but I could read as many as I wanted for free at my public library. Things have a way of coming full circle, don’t they?
God is good. All the time. He has a plan. Everything happens on His time. No matter how much I wanted to steer the truck, He always had the wheel. Eleven years from the time I sat down to write my first novel, I’m still learning that. I’ve published seven novels, including five Amish romances (that’s another story) published by Harvest House and have contracts for four more. Yet, I still worry about what happens next. I keep reminding myself, it’s okay, He’s got it. Just write, let Him take care of the rest of it. Writing is a journey, not a destination.
Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. Her latest release is Love Redeemed, set in Amish country in Missouri, which debuted March 1. She is currently working on The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine. The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.