Well, I have covered 16 years of my writing life in fewer than 30 posts, and we are now up to 1997. My last post ended with mention of the dream I had.
That was in April 1997. Don’t remember the exact date, but I do remember how vivid the dream was in my mind when I woke up. And although it wasn’t about me, I knew instinctively the experience from my own life that was at the core of this idea. But I still had another historical romance to write on my current contract with Publisher #3 (Harper) and no time to try to figure out what a single title contemporary women’s fiction would look like — or if I had the skills required to write one.
In July, I went to the RWA conference in Orlando. I had breakfast with one of the CBA editors who had asked for a proposal from me. During our time together, she asked me if I felt “called” to write Christian fiction. My reply was, “I don’t know if I’m called. I only know I want to be where God wants me to be.” That became my prayer throughout the remainder of that summer. “God, show me where You want me to be. Father, what am I supposed to be writing.”
Okay, I once again have to do a fall back.
For several years in the mid-90s, I met with three other writers twice a year for brainstorming weekends. We flew into a city, met in a hotel, cabin, or condo and brainstormed book ideas for two or three days. Two of those authors wrote category books for Silhouette. They thought it would be cool if the three of us wrote a connected series, one book for three different lines. They told me that my style of writing would fit perfectly into the Special Edition line. I had to take their word for it because I mostly read historicals and didn’t understand the differences between Silhouette lines. But I loved brainstorming this related series with them and was willing to give it a try since I knew I could go to them for help. We put our proposal together and sent it off to our respective agents.
Sometime in the spring of 1997, both of these other authors decided they couldn’t commit to doing the series because of personal/family situations that arose. So there I was with that proposal, and the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. I decided it wouldn’t take much tweaking to make the book stand alone. So I tweaked, gave it back to my agent so she could submit to Silhouette. I fully expected to be rejected. (Hey, I’d been around romance writers for a lot of years. I knew that even long time Silhouette authors had lots of proposals rejected.)
Now we are back to summer and me praying for the Lord to show me what I was supposed to write. Two CBA editors had historical proposals. Silhouette had a contemporary category proposal. I had one more manuscript to write and turn in to Publisher #3. I also had that dreamed opening of a novel, but I hadn’t had any time to even think about what I would do with it, if anything.
In August, two important things happened. First, I signed a contract for that Silhouette book, the one I thought would be rejected. Second, I found out that Publisher #3, who had discontinued their romance line, was not an option for another contract.
Lord, what’s going on? Where am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be writing?
The remainder of summer past. I finished my last historical romance for Publisher #3. I was working on the book for Silhouette, now Publisher #4. But the desire to really know what God wanted me to do with my writing and with my life kept growing stronger. I wanted to know. I needed to know.
And so we arrive at October and the phone call that would lead to the answer I sought. Stay tuned…