Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As a published author, I am often asked how I got my foot in the door at a mainstream print publisher, or how I obtained my agent, or how I juggled my day-job and still found time to write, or what my schedule is like now that I write full-time. No one ever asks about the one who made all this possible. As Christian writers, we must make sure we give credit where credit is due. I’d like to share my testimony about how God changed my writing life.

I began writing secular historical romances and romantic suspense in the ABA market. I enjoyed my work and was proud of the finished product. But I labored through every phase of these manuscripts--the research, the writing, the rewriting and the editing. Two were published to rather good reviews, but lackluster sales. I hadn’t planned on getting rich, but the amount spent on postcards, bookmarks and advertising in local publications well surpassed my advance. The royalties since paid might buy a nice supper at Applebee’s for hubby and me…as long as we brought extra for the tip.

Around six years ago I committed my life to Christ and from that day on decided to write only inspirational fiction. I read extensively in the market and thoroughly enjoyed Amish fiction. Since I live near the largest Old Order community in the United States it was natural for me to try my hand at it. I dashed off fifty pages, worked up a synopsis covering the whole plot and sent it to my agent. Not one, but two publishers expressed interest. I have recently completed my tenth inspirational romance with a publishing house I love. But this blog posting isn’t about my quick path to fame and fortune, because great wealth and a multi-city book tour hasn’t happened and never will. I’m still a Midwestern housewife happily clipping coupons and perusing store flyers for great deals on laundry detergent. 

This story is about how my life changed when I put the Lord in my books. Every phase of the writing process became easier, with each finished product something I could clutch to my heart with pride. It’s still work—make no mistake about that—but it is labor that I love. I never dread going to my home office and opening my laptop. Every time I seek Him first on a given writing day, my tasks seem to become doable.

I might not grow rich writing inspirational fiction, but I've found something priceless--a way to serve the Lord by putting words on a page. And I can’t imagine a better way to spend however many days the Lord grants me on earth.

My latest release is Love Comes to Paradise, second in the New Beginnings series by Harvest House Publishers. Love Comes to Paradise recently made the Christian Book Distributors best-seller list. First in the series, Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction from the Christian Manifesto.

Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written ten bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. She is a member of ACFW, and represented by the Seymour Agency. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards and the Award of Merit for the Holt Medallion. She can be found on the Internet:


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