I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time in 2007. I'd always wanted to write a novel, and I'd even made a few abortive attempts in my younger days. But if I was going to actually complete a novel, I knew I couldn't just sit down and write one. So I went into NaNoWriMo with a plan. I'd spent my free time the previous three months writing character profiles, making detailed setting descriptions and sketches, and formulating chapter lists and chapter outlines. Even with all that planning, it still surprised me when, at the end of November, I emerged with over 50,000 words and an almost-complete first draft of a novel.
I spent a lot of time over the next four years looking at a pile of papers. I would take a pen to it every so often to proofread and edit, but for long stretches it just sat there. I didn't really foresee a market for it, as the novel itself is very Lutheran, and the Lutheran publishing house associated with my church body doesn't really publish much in the way of fiction; and with all the Lutheran apologetics that made its way into the novel, I just didn't see anyone else wanting to publish it. I did some vague explorations into the realm of self-publishing, but I decided at first that I didn't want to go that route. I was worried about formatting the pages. I was worried about assembling the files. I was worried about a cover picture. And, to be honest, I was worried that it just plain sucked.
But when I once again successfully navigated NaNoWriMo this past November and wrote book two, a sequel to the 2007 novel, I decided it was time to give self-publishing another look. I took some preliminary steps, asked some proofreader friends to take a look at what I had, and gave the novel another long, hard look.
Today, for the first time, my novel is in print! Love Divine, book one in the "Thy Strong Word" trilogy, has been called a "reluctant love story". It is the tale of a single Lutheran pastor and a young widow who meet when neither of them is expecting a relationship. He's content with his life as it is; she has finally found peace nearly three years after the death of her husband. How will their lives and vocations be affected when God brings them together? How will Justin's congregation react to their pastor's new social life? How will Beth overcome the guilt she feels in moving on with her life?
If you would like to learn the answers to these questions, consider purchasing a copy by clicking on this link. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.