Welcome, Kim! Thank you for taking time to chat with us about your writing journey. How long were you writing before your first publication? How many manuscripts had you written by that time? Have you published any of your early works since? Do you plan to?
People often ask me how long I’d been writing before I was published. If the questioner isn’t an aspiring author, I answer without hesitation. If the questioner is an aspiring author, I hesitate. I’d never want my lengthy wait to discourage someone! But honestly, the timing—although much longer than I would ever have envisioned—was perfect, as God’s plans always are.
I have always wanted to be a writer. I told my kindergarten teacher that people would check out my
books in libraries someday. That was in 1966. All through my school years, the dream rolled in the back of my mind. When I graduated from high school, I chose English and journalism as my dual major with the goal of becoming a published author.
I began writing seriously in 1981 but didn’t submit my first manuscript to a publisher until 1994. Back then you mailed your manuscript along with a return, post-paid envelope. My first story went back and forth from publisher to publisher for two years. Then in 1996, an editor from Zondervan called me. She liked my writing style but she preferred contemporary to historical; she asked me send her a contemporary story. Frankly, I wasn’t keen on writing contemporary—I preferred historical. But how could I say no? One year later I sent my contemporary novel directly to the editor, only to have it returned with a note that she was no longer at Zondervan. The disappointment of that event kept me from submitting another story for eight years, but it didn’t stop me from writing. My computer filled up with novels—A Seeking Heart, A Heart Surrenders, a three-book WWII series, contemporary novels...I had the writing bug, and I couldn’t help but let the words pour onto the screen.
In 2002, my dad informed me I’d waited long enough to see one of my books in print. He had researched Christian self-publishing companies and chose one he wanted to utilize. I was hesitant, but he insisted. He and my mom took out a sizable loan (back then nothing was done digitally!) and had 2500 copies of A Seeking Heart printed. Unaware of the negative stigma toward “vanity publishing” and thrilled with my book, I approached every bookstore within driving distance and even visited the warehouse of Choice books to see if the stores would carry my novel. To my delight, many of them took it, and I began received reader feedback—a delight to every writer.
With the goal of learning more about the publishing world, I began attending writers’ conferences. At the ACFW conference in 2004, I met my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray. Armed with a half dozen manuscripts, Tamela began contacting publishers. In March of 2015, I got my first offer from Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line, and three weeks later Bethany House requested the purchase of two full-length historical novels. By November of that year, I had signed contracts for ten books with three different companies. My full-time writing career has been launched like a rocket from a concrete pad.
Both Dear John (Heartsong) and Waiting for Summer’s Return (Bethany House) released in June of 2006...forty years after I’d made my little-girl declaration that people would check out my books in libraries. Those forty years in between were wonderful growing years for me—growing in my relationship with God, growing in my discipline to stay at the computer and see the story through, growing in my ability to craft meaningful characters and story lines.
I have no idea what the future holds for me. My 33rd novel recently released, and I have two more to write on my current contract. After that, who knows? Publishing is changing so rapidly, I don’t suppose any of us can be certain what will come next. But one thing I know for sure: the One who set me on this writing journey will be with me in the next miles. Whatever He wills for my writing, I’ll follow. And I know the pathway will be laden with joy.
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher someday people would check out her books in libraries. That little girl’s dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Since then, Sawyer has watched God expand her dream beyond her childhood imaginings. With more than 30 titles on library shelves and more than a 1.5 million copies of her books in print, she enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Her books have received the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
Empty-nesters, Sawyer and her retired military husband, Don, enjoy a quiet existence in small-town Kansas, the setting for many of her novels. When she isn’t writing, Sawyer stays active serving in her church’s women’s and music ministries, traveling with “The Hubs” and spoiling her quiverful of granddarlings.