In 2003, I started my first novel. I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who became close friends, ones who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. What an understatement.
POV? Never heard of the term. Omniscient? That's what God is. Show don't tell? How do I tell a story without telling? Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought all the books on the craft of fiction writing they recommended. I read them and absorbed more. The next year, we formed our own private crit group and have been together ever since.
In 2006, an editor took my manuscript to committee. While I waited for the result, expecting a contract of course, I got an agent. However ... sigh ... the editorial committee said no. I was discouraged. I cried out to God, asking ... okay, whining ... why wasn't I getting anywhere? I had been so sure God called me to write. I needed a sign. And God gave me the one in the form of a contest win. That carried me for months.
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While I kept writing and going to conferences, and committees, my critique partners kept getting published. Finally, in 2010, my agent called. My manuscript had passed editorial committee and was going to pub board. This was it!
Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor would hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired and her computer hard drive was wiped clean. I was lost in cyber oblivion.
Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a rollercoaster. Once again, I whined, "Lord, what's going on?"
And He said, "Wait. Trust me."
He didn't offer me another choice, so I chose to trust. The next three years went about the same.
Then, in August of 2013, nearly eleven years after I began this journey, my agent called with an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. And my heart quickened. All right, God! This was it. This time, He said, "Yes." Even better, my artist husband was allowed to paint what became my cover.
I'm so glad I didn't push but listened to my agent's advice. If there's one thing I've learned during this journey, it's this: God must be part of the equation. Though I'd learned the craft earlier, He wasn't ready for me to publish. I won't know why this side of Heaven, but I'm okay with that.
I believe people let down their guard when they think they're being entertained. Through fiction, I can entertain readers. Through fiction, I can present seeds of God's truth. Then when they least expect it, the story can reach out, touch their hearts, and change them. And isn't that why we write?
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.
With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.
Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She's a novelist, playwright, and humor columnist. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival, released Sept 8th, 2014. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, their chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You'll find Ane at http://www.anemulligan.com/.