It is a little bit like expecting a baby. The process begins slowly, with nothing to show for what I am doing at first, but I know what is going on inside my brain. The wheels turn and I get that faraway look in my eye. The writing itch creeps in and I cannot wait to run to my computer and work on the next piece of the puzzle. I jot down ideas on little scraps of paper all day long, in between writing moments, making a file of all the important ideas that come to me.
The story begins to weave itself together, forming the foundation first, then slowly bits and pieces come together to make each chapter come alive. The characters become real as they start to take on a life of their own, and it becomes extremely hard to leave them in order to do something around the house. I remember the day I was writing the chapter in The Haven, (I will not tell too much here in case those reading this have not read the story yet) where the children get trapped in the locked room on the second floor of the castle. I had to step away from the computer in order to make dinner for my family and it was all I could think about as I cooked, trying hard to keep my mind on what I was doing. It felt like I had abandoned my friends right at a particularly dangerous moment, leaving them to fend for themselves in that room. Each predicament that arose made me yearn to help them find a way out, even if the only way to finding their answer was getting on their knees and begging God for help. Just as I got down on my knees while I was pregnant with Benjamin, praying for strength to go on during that rough pregnancy, to pray for peace that all would be well with the birth, so did I have to take my writing to the Lord and beg Him for peace and patience through the entire writing process. Since the Lord was the One Who gave me the talent and love for writing, why should I leave Him out? God formed my six children (yes, I am the mother of six children, though one did not live past six weeks in the womb), and slowly weaved them in secret, making each little part perfect, right down to the teeny, tiny toenails, and feathery soft eyelashes. Just as He was the One to touch that perfect little heart and set it beating, so was He the One Who was the heartbeat of my stories.
After the story is finished, there is still much work to be done. Just as the main structure of a baby may be seen, there are still hundreds of things going on inside the body that cannot be seen. Tiny details have to be formed, edited, and changed to make the story fit together. It is a painful experience, having to hear people suggest certain things that may be wrong with it, as well as mark red all over the manuscript. Just as pregnancy can be painful, and the waiting unbearable at times, so is this process of writing. It is a process that has to finish in God's timing. He is never late.
Even at the age of eight years old I knew I wanted to write. I loved writing. I remember climbing up the large pine tree at the back of my house with my best friend one day, and I told him I wanted to publish a book someday. I cannot remember what he told me he wanted to do, but that image of us sitting there on the branch (probably getting pine sap all over our clothes!) still sticks in my mind.
The first story I remember writing was called, "Becky and the Bears." I do not know if I still have this particular story, but I have many others that I kept in a folder so I could look back on them. I laugh at how silly some of them seem now, but back then they were masterpieces. I had given them all I had and it felt wonderful. I was scared of showing them to other people though, because I was afraid my ideas would be laughed at. I was afraid of being put down, or the fact that someone might tell me it was dumb and I should not write. I loved it too much. Besides, the stories flew around my head like a bird in a cage that needed to be released.
God has done a mighty work in me over the years. Every little thing I have gone through and learned in life has helped to shape and mold me into who I am today. I do not know where I would be today if I did not have the Lord in my life. Yes, I had the struggles that all teens have, but I had Someone I could go to, Someone to turn to when I was alone, with nobody else to talk to. I am so glad Jesus was my best friend. He knew what was best for me, just as I know what is best for the characters in my story. He is writing my story; He knows how it will end and what will happen around the next bend; He knows how I will get out of predicaments. Yet, the best part of it all is the fact that He never leaves our side as we go through things in life that seem extremely tough. He is right by our side, guiding us, helping us through each moment. Praise God for that!
In conclusion, I am glad to say that the delivery date of my third book is coming up very soon. I am praying it will be right on time, so it will be available during the Ladies Conference at Heritage, where I will happily show off my baby, the fruit of my long, hard labor. Thank you all for your encouragment, support, and patience through this long process. Though this is the last book in the Orphan series (for now), I have a new idea bubbling up inside of me that will soon overflow onto paper and become my new work in progress. God has been good and all the glory goes to Him! Praise the Lord!