How I became a writer?

By Lynette Bonner

I grew up loving to read, but when it came to writing, I honestly wasn’t that dedicated. I often hear writers say something along the lines of, “I wrote my first story when I was only 8, and I never quit writing after that.” When I hear something like that I think, “Wow, that’s dedication.” I wasn’t like that. Sure I wrote my share of stories growing up, but it was an on again, off again relationship.

I always loved fiction and would read for hours in high school. But I didn’t start writing until about 1993 after my first son was born. Even then, I didn’t seriously pursue the craft until probably 1999. I completed Rocky Mountain Oasis around 2000 and shopped it to several (okay, about a million) publishing houses and agents. J If they were in Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide and said they were looking for historical fiction, they probably got a proposal from me. Then the rejection letters started trickling in. Publishing houses said, “Unfortunately, we find we must decline the opportunity to publish this project.” Agents said, “With great regret, I must pass on this opportunity….” And I began to realize the mountain I was attempting to climb.

Then in late 2001 a small e-book publisher said they wanted to publish the book! I was thrilled. The contract was good and didn’t require me to sign my first born away, so I signed with dollar signs dancing in my head – after all, the internet was booming! Surely my wonderful story would take off and I would soon be known world-wide, right? Well, ahem, I made about 90 cents before the company went out of business a couple months later, and those were sales to my neighbor down the street and my brother, I think.

When the e-book publisher went belly-up, I was back to square one. By that time, I was homeschooling my two oldest kids and had a toddler to boot. Writing got put on the back burner. 2003 ushered in the birth of our daughter and in 2004 we moved from Idaho to Washington. I was still homeschooling and not writing. But through all those years I just kept praying about Rocky Mountain Oasis.  I told the Lord the book was in His hands (I’m pretty sure He already knew this.) And that if He had given it to me just to help me through those tough, stressful years, I would try to be content with that. But I kept asking Him to direct my steps where the book was concerned. I specifically remember praying that if the Lord wanted this book to be published He would need to “drop a publisher in my lap” because I didn’t have time to shop it around again.

My mom is also a writer and she called me up one day in early 2007 to tell me about a new publisher on the scene. One of her critique partners had just gotten a contract with them. I checked them out and they had super simple submission guidelines, so I fired off a cover letter with my now almost 8 year old baby attached. They were the only publisher I’d submitted to in 6 years.

Since their guidelines at the time said to expect to hear from them within 8 weeks of submission, I pretty much gave up when I hadn’t heard anything by April. Then on June 9th, 2008 I got the email that stopped my heart for a couple beats before it started pounding again like a herd of wild children. (Ooops, horses! I meant horses.) Words cannot describe the thrill of reading, “Rocky Mountain Oasis is precisely the type of novel we’re interested in — quality fiction, from a fresh perspective – and we’d like to offer you the opportunity to join our growing stable of authors.” I didn’t come off that high for several days.

My books were with that publisher for several years, but now I’ve regained my rights and am self-publishing. As I look back, I can see how the Lord has led me through this entire journey If the small publisher hadn’t picked me up and given me the boost of encouragement I needed – the self-confidence – I probably wouldn’t be writing stories today. I’m so glad that I just trusted Him and kept putting my journey back into His hands. God is ever faithful to bring about good in our lives.

So for other up-and-coming authors out there, let me just encourage you to keep putting your writing journey into the hands of the One who can best shape it. You will never be sorry.

Born and raised in Malawi, Africa. Lynnette Bonner spent the first years of her life reveling in warm equatorial sunshine and the late evening duets of cicadas and hyenas. The year she turned eight she was off to Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya where she spent many joy-filled years, and graduated in 1990.

That fall, she traded to a new duet–one of traffic and rain–when she moved to Kirkland, Washington to attend Northwest University. It was there that she met her husband and a few years later they moved to the small town of Pierce, Idaho.

During the time they lived in Idaho, while studying the history of their little town, Lynnette was inspired to begin the Shepherd’s Heart Series with Rocky Mountain Oasis. Book 2, High Desert Haven, and book 3, Fair Valley Refuge are also now available.

Marty and Lynnette have four children, and currently live in Washington where Marty pastors a church.

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