Wednesday, December 15, 2010


by Laura O'Connell

I'm delighted to be guest blogger today because my debut novel will be released in April 2011. Even Before Publishing is an Australian Christian publisher headed up by Rochelle Manners, a dynamic woman with a passion for Australian Christian fiction. This is an opportunity for Australian authors who sometimes feel they are isolated from the overseas publishing world.

African Hearts has been a work inspired by God and written with His grace. I struggled with God when He presented me with the idea. It’s too controversial, and it’s set in Africa where I’ve never lived, but God persisted and I felt compelled to write the story. The last couple of years have been a journey of understanding about who I am as a writer, where I fit in the market, and what God has in store for my future as an author.

My journey started twenty years ago when I felt God calling me to write, so I plodded along in the writing process for honing the craft, until He felt I was ready to tackle the idea for African Hearts.

Research, if I was going to write about Africa, I had to do research. To my astonishment I found the research a bit of fun. I watched You Tube videos, viewed Ugandan sites on the internet, and I read the Ugandan newspaper, and books from the library. My best piece of research though was interviewing a local African missionary. She shared much about her time in Africa, so much so I was transported into a world that intrigued, saddened, excited, and educated me about a life that was very different to my own.

During the writing process, I drew close to God in a way I’d never thought possible. His spirit was deep within me giving me the words and nudging me back to the story when I was straying off target. I was grateful for His presence throughout the writing process because I learned what it means to lean on God, and also that He is faithful and never leaves us. It is I who leaves him trying to write and do life in my own strength.

African Hearts is a novel that will challenge you about your current position in life and whether you’re living it the way God wants you to be living right now. African Hearts is about Australian, Gina Messina, who goes to Africa to find her dying brother, but her brother’s doctor has some unexpected news that challenges her to make change in her life.

A few days ago, my husband and I made change in our lives, and started our new adventure travelling around Australia in a caravan to write and encourage others to be the people God created them to be. You can follow us and be part of our journey at my website

I wish all readers a joyful festive season.

Laura usually lives with her husband, Frank on the Gold Coast. She has one son, Dan who started his own life’s adventure a few days ago, too. Laura is passionate about encouraging people in their life’s journey.

To learn more about Laura and her debut novel, African Hearts, please visit her website.


  1. Hi Laura,
    I hope you're enjoying the journey! I love the way that book came together:-)

  2. Nice to meet you, Laura! I'm taking the liberty of adding you and your book to the international wiki. Enjoy your travels :)

  3. Laura, thanks for visiting with us today. Congrats on the upcoming release of your debut novel! I can't wait to read it :)

  4. Sounds like a wonderful book, Laura and one I need to read!

  5. Thank you all for your congrats and best wishes. We are in Melbourne at the moment after travelling for four days. We have electrical problems with our caravan, and being so close to Christmas, no one can help us until the New Year. But that's okay, because it means I have time to relax and unwind for Christmas and start the new year with new vigour.

  6. A special thanks to Valerie for including me and my book in the international wiki.