Have you noticed that the Inspy Romance bloggers are also IR readers? That’s how I started my journey with this blog, as an avid reader. Now that I’m part of the rotation, I look forward to the daily posts in my inbox just as much as I did when I was a reader. I learn from the other authors, and they encourage and inspire me.
A recent post that got me thinking was Marion Ueckermann’s When I Grow Up. I naively thought all the IR bloggers were like me, basically crafting stories before they could write. I enjoyed her post so much I thought I would share my “backstory.”
As I referenced above, I was scribbling stories on scrap paper before I could read or write. I was teased and most likely admonished for my active imagination. By the time I was in middle school, I was writing for the newspaper and remember creating a poem to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. I wrote it in about twenty minutes and the teacher couldn’t believe it. She let me know that was a gift, and to keep writing. When our Social Studies teacher assigned a homespun diary, I was in my glory. I told people as far back as the 1980’s I was going to be the modern Laura Ingalls Wilder. Here was my chance to channel my inner Laura! Somewhere I have a copy of that diary and the encouragement the teacher wrote.
By high school, I was influenced by S.E. Hinton, author of The Outsiders. I was going to bypass boundaries and have my full name on books, no hiding my identity if my story was more masculine, as The Outsiders was. I decided I’d write a similar theme based on the cultural differences between my hometown and the small hamlet near my home where I rode the bus. Each night I wrote a little chapter. Funny thing. It wasn’t masculine. It turned into a serial romance. The country girl falling for the city boy, both affiliated with cliques that demanded loyalty to their town. When I return home to visit friends, we will talk about the great love story of Dawn and Rob. Ah, memories.
Although I wrote for yearbook and the newspaper, I lacked proper grammar training and my writing wasn’t near as strong as others. By the end of high school my teacher discouraged making a living writing. With that, I pursued a B.A. in Communications, but walked away from my love, fiction.
Until Jesus called me back. After college, I was a new Christian praying for a husband and full of romantic ideas. My first series, Surrendering Time, came from those years and my visits to the Adirondack Mountains. Match Made in Heaven was the first romance I wrote as a new Christian, a fictional salvation story that I never planned to publish. Quite the change from my high school days.
Today I write because I know it was what God created me to do. Not because I’m the best, although I pray to improve each day. I want to be a vessel God uses to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. Today that tagline is often how readers find me if they can’t remember my last name. It’s been quite the journey, from Writer Girl to the author who isn’t ready to give up the chocolate!
As you probably know, I’m working on a new series, Surrendering Hearts. Anchored Hearts will be a winter release (I’m keeping that generic because I just lost 6 weeks to a family emergency) and I’m so excited for everyone to get to know the Hart sextuplets. Here’s a short look into the oldest sibling, Jordyn. Want to read more? I have a free sneak peek that includes MUCH more! Grab yours HERE.
Jordyn Hart felt her wrapped chocolates lying dormant in her pantsuit pocket as soon as the hot studio lights warmed her face. She pursed her lips and resisted the urge to fidget rather in attempt to discover the fate of her sweet treat. With the television camera focused on her and America’s news sweetheart, Julia Turmeric, Jordyn swallowed and tilted her head as she offered a smile almost as warm as the lights. Once again, time for the annual live interview with her siblings.
Julia leaned back in her chair and shook her head with a laugh. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here with you all for the twenty-fourth time.” She lifted her black-rimmed glasses off the bridge of her nose. “I didn’t even need these when I first introduced America to you.”
Jordyn glanced down the row, each of her siblings in place by birth order. She was the first, but only six minutes separated Jordyn and Paige. Ryan, the second born and Jordyn’s rock, sat as straight as if he was still in the military. She was pretty sure even those who trained him in the Navy smiled more than he was for the camera. But he showed up for the interview. That was something.
“Jordyn, let’s start with you. You’re a young woman nearing the quarter-century mark. What’s life like for you?” The interviewer was much more than Rise and Shine’s anchor with her own Wednesday evening show, Wednesdays with Julia. To her, she was their “Aunt” Julia.
“I’m as surprised as you are. Seems like yesterday you interviewed us from the house where we were bouncing on the trampoline and having water gun fights.” Jordyn moved a piece of her hair behind her ear. “These days I’m anchoring the noon report here at WFRN, your first station. I love it, and it runs in my blood, as you know.”
Julia’s face softened. “Folks, as most of you remember, their mom Lisa worked with me at WFRN. Our dream was to move up together and eventually host a national show together. Jordyn’s got the chops to take my place, honestly.”
I’d love to hear about your childhood interests. Did they turn into something you love as an adult?