Waiting for God’s timing
By Kelly Irvin
Like many other authors, my road to publication was long and arduous, filled with many potholes. After twenty-five years of newspaper writing and working in publication relations, I realized on my forty-fifth birthday that I must pursue my dream of becoming an author immediately or never realize it. I wrote my first novel, a romantic suspense story, and set out to get it published. It took three years to sign with an agent. By that time I’d written two more novels in what I hoped would be a series. Another three years passed. My sweet agent used all her resources in hopes of securing a publisher for my novel.
I continued to write, but my heart was heavy. I had a full-time job, two children in middle school, and a husband who would like to have my attention on occasion. I arrived at work early so I could write before my seventy-forty-five a.m. start time. I wrote over the lunch hour. If I could, I grabbed a few hours on the weekend between grocery shopping, laundry, volleyball games, basketball games, housecleaning, and church.
One publisher kept a manuscript for an entire year before sending the nicest rejection letter. They loved the story, but it wasn’t quite right for them. I couldn’t take it anymore. I sobbed half the night.
That Sunday I sat in the church pew and I prayed. I asked God to give me a sign. Should I lay this dream aside? Should I keep writing inspirational fiction or turn my sights on mainstream fiction where my grittier stories might more easily find a home? I’m tired, God, and I can’t keep on like this.
That Wednesday, only three days later, my agent called. She had an offer from a publisher who specialized in inspirational mysteries, suspense, romances, and westerns. They published library quality hardbacks for the library market. Would I be interested?
Indeed, I was. God answers prayer. We don’t always get the answer we want and it doesn’t always come when we want it. But He is faithful in caring for us and working for our good. Since that first contract I’ve published fourteen books and have contracts for several more. But I’m constantly reminded that God is in charge of this journey and He leads the way. I need only follow and try to keep up.
Bestselling novelist Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed Amish of BeeCounty, Bliss Creek Amish, and New Hope Amish series. Her newest release is Through the Autumn Air, the third novel in the four-book series Every Amish Season from Zondervan Publishing. Her work has also appeared in several Amish anthologies, including An Amish Heirloom, An Amish Market, An Amish Summer, An Amish Christmas Love, and An Amish Christmas. Kelly is a retired newspaper reporter and public relations professional who lives with her husband in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two ornery cats.
The past filled her mind even as her heart yearned for stories yet to be told…
The mother of ten and a widow of seven years, Mary Katherine is a bundle of energy, always willing to step in and help her friends around her Amish community. Now that her last child is married, she pours her abundant creative spirit into writing stories, even as she speaks aloud to her late husband every day. Her dream is to open a bookstore with an English friend, but the church elders want this wayward widow to work in an Amish-owned store instead. When her old school friend, Ezekiel, offers her a position as a cook in the restaurant he opened after his wife died, she knows she should accept. But does she really want to spend her time slaving over a stove?
When a mysterious English stranger breaks into her house to make himself a sandwich one autumn night, Mary Katherine doesn’t call the sheriff. She turns to Ezekiel. They both see that Burke is need of more than a meal, and Ezekiel offers him the job at the restaurant.
As they set out to care for their new friend, Mary Katherine and Ezekiel find themselves often working together. Mary Katherine is drawn to Ezekiel, but she remembers the terrible risk of giving her heart to someone. Can two people in the autumns of their lives and so well-versed in the pain of loss put the past behind them and trust in the hope that comes with each new season?
Kelly, thanks for sharing your story and for being my guest again today. It is always a pleasure! I hope you readers will join me again next week for the beginning of my fall series, Faith & Fall.