Writers are often asked where their inspiration comes from. I have to admit, I never planned to write for children. The first book I finished was a women’s fiction novel. This book was co-written with one of my sisters. If we could have worked through the edits and made an effort to submit it for publication, who knows what direction I might have gone in.
God knew all along. That’s why He guided me in the right direction.
When our oldest daughter was just a toddler, I would sing to her each night from my rocking chair in front of her bed. Christmas carols have always been a favorite of mine. “The Little Drummer Boy” was an often sung request. Each time I would sing this song, I would get this idea of a young shepherd boy in the hills outside of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. But I wasn’t seeing him as a little boy. Instead, Obed came to me as an adult, one who remembered visiting the Christ child on the night of His birth. The story, aimed at an adult audience, would be set right after the Resurrection, with Obed deciding to seek out the apostles in hiding to learn if the child he met as a boy was the man named Jesus.
“A Shepherd’s Journey” became my National Novel Writing Month project that year. I struggled and struggled with it, finally giving up after around seven thousand words. Discouraged, but still interested in the project, I mentioned it to our pastor. When I finished telling him about it, he asked, “Is this a book for children?” I told him no, but the wheels in my brain began turning. Why couldn’t the story be about the night that Obed met the newborn King? It meant switching markets and crafting a totally different type of story, but could I do it? Should I do it? The original idea had been planted in my heart by God. Certainly He had His hand in leading me to talk about the book with my pastor.
I felt God’s hand in this project from the very beginning. Even as I pitched it to Guardian Angel Publishing, that accepted it after only a few additional edits, I knew God was leading me to the right place at the right time.
Authors often say their first published book is special to them. Little Shepherd definitely holds a special place in my heart. Not only because it was my first published book. But also because I knew God blessed it from beginning to end.