When I embarked upon my career, writing for children was not on my mind. My first completed manuscript was actually a women’s novel about three sisters. As it often happens, however, God had other plans.
In 2006, I decided to try my hand at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. For two years I had ignored the idea God had been planting on my heart of a young shepherd who meets the Holy Family on the night of Christ’s birth. But as I considered my options for NaNoWriMo, this shepherd’s story seemed destined to be written. Though the first Christmas would definitely be an important part of the plot, the story would actually open after the Resurrection of Jesus; with the young shepherd now a grown man, and searching for the apostles in hiding to verify if Jesus was the Savior he met while a child.
It proved difficult to write–mainly because I needed time for additional research before sitting down to type that November. After speaking to our pastor about my story, he asked a question that changed the story and my writing career: “Is this a story for children?”
I went home and thought about it. I definitely prayed on it. Why couldn’t this be a story for children? Why couldn’t it be the story of the night Obed met Jesus? Four years later, Little Shepherd was published by Guardian Angel Publishing.
About six months ago, Chad R. Allen, the editorial director of Baker Books, asked his readers to come up with a “power statement” to help spur them into action. When I considered how Obed’s story evolved and what my writing focus has been since that time, I came up with, “My desire is to share the hope of the Gospel with young people.”
Writing became more than just a career for me. It became a ministry. It became a way for me to reach young people with the hope that has offered me so much comfort and assurance.
As we prepare our hearts for Jesus this Advent season, may that hope never be far from our hearts and minds.