Friday, May 10, 2013

He Will Bring it to Pass by Karen Hancock


Karen Hancock

Some authors seem to hit it just right—the right book at the right time with the right publisher. When things don’t go as smoothly for the rest of us, we can sometimes feel discouraged—even though we know God’s timing is always best. Author Karen Hancock shares her personal journey to publication and how after many years of “hanging in there,” God rewarded her faithfulness. 
~ Dawn




He Will Bring it to Pass

The preparation for my 26 year journey to publication began in childhood, when my nose was always in a book. As a teen I began writing my own stories and even completed a western romance novel about a female gunslinger (?!) which I sent to Doubleday the summer before I entered college. When I returned home for Christmas break, the rejected manuscript awaited. Mortified to discover how bad it was, I threw it away, thinking that was that.

After graduating from college, I got married and moved to a tiny northern Arizona town. There, while house-sitting for vacationing friends, I complained one day to my husband about a best-selling novel I was reading and he suggested I write my own. With no car, no job, no phone, no TV, (no Internet!) and few friends nearby, I certainly had the time. And a typewriter.

The next day I happened upon a copy of The Writer’s Market on the bottom shelf of a nightstand. It included an article called “How to Know if You are a Writer.” I fit all the parameters. Was God trying to tell me something? I thought so.

I began a Christian romance, but ditched it six months later when after I saw the first Star Wars film and that, combined with the Bible study I was doing on the armor of God, sent me in a new direction. Using Christian equivalents, I proposed to write a fantasy series chronicling a hero’s journey to salvation and on to spiritual maturity.

With help from a snail-mail critique group of aspiring SF/F writers I’d joined, I completed Book 1, The Shadow of Ghel, got an agent and began Book 2 of my series. By the time I finished the latter, several years later, Ghel had been rejected by every major fantasy publisher in the business. My agent and I parted ways and I, having learned much about writing during this process, completely rewrote Ghel under a new title: The Star of Life.

Once finished, I acquired a second agent and began rewriting Book 2. Alas, within the year the new agent dropped out of agenting, so I queried a third, who said the market for that kind of fantasy had dried up. Alternate world stories were hot at the time, so he suggested I try that.

I spent five years writing Arena, an alternate world, science fiction allegory. By then the market had moved on and I was tired of hiding the Christian elements in my stories. While I shopped Arena around to various publishers, secular and Christian, I rewrote Book 1 of my fantasy series for a third time under its final title, The Light of Eidon.

Not long after that, I met Steve Laube at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference in California. Then an editor at Bethany House Publishers, Steve loved speculative fiction, but told me frankly that “Fantasy” was a “death word” in the Christian market. Science fiction, though, seemed to be finding an audience, so despite my nervous face-to-face presentation of Arena, he asked for the full manuscript.

While I waited, I rewrote book 2 of my fantasy series and during that year I began to accept with the possibility that God might not intend my books to be published. As a hobby, I’d hand-bound several copies of Arena to give to friends and family, which they’d enjoyed immensely. If I only had 20 readers, was that a bad thing? God’s not into numbers, after all, and if those 20 were blessed by what I’d done, shouldn’t I be satisfied with that?

For the first time in my life, I found myself genuinely content to go forward with no more than what He had already provided in terms of readership. If Bethany House bought Arena, that would be great. If they didn’t, that would be okay, too.

A few months later, Steve called: Bethany House wanted to buy Arena.

They were not, however, interested in The Light of Eidon, the book I’d written Arena to gain an opening for, the book I’d rewritten three times, the book of my heart.  Instead, I was urged to continue with science fiction. Though I subsequently submitted an informal proposal in that genre, it was rejected.

Then, a month before Arena was to release, as I was neck-deep in marketing plans, hoping that if it succeeded someone somewhere might want Eidon, Steve called again. The reviews and feedback coming in on Arena were so good, he said, the marketing people wanted something else from me as ASAP.

An editor actually called me up and asked what I had lying around the house! This, they tell you in all the writing books, NEVER happens!

Well, I told him I had The Light of Eidon…I told him it was finished…that it was part of a four-book series, of which the second book was also finished… 

He asked me to submit a proposal for the entire tetralogy.

Two weeks later, to my utter joy and astonishment Bethany House signed me to a four-book contract for Legends of the Guardian King, with The Light of Eidon, Book 1, due to release the following summer (2003), the other three in sequence thereafter. All before Arena even came out and not one of my marketing schemes had been put into effect. 

I love God’s grace and perfect timing. I love His sense of humor, too!

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He will bring it to pass.”   
1 Thessalonians 5:24



The Light of Eidon  
The Light of Eidon




Abramm has dedicated the last eight years of his life to becoming worthy to touch and tend the Sacred Flames of Eidon, and he expects to be blessed for his devotion and sacrifice. But on the eve of taking the vows that will irrevocably separate him from the life he was born to—as Abramm Kalladorne, fifth son of the king of Kiriath, he is betrayed by his spiritual mentor and sold into slavery by his own family.

Swept along by the winds of a new destiny, Abramm is forced to compete as a gladiator. When the oppressed masses rally around his success, he discovers his suffering has molded him into something greater than he ever thought possible—to serve a purpose he never imagined.



Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels – Arena and the first three books in the LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN-KING series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow Over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor's degrees in Biology and Wildlife Biology. Along with writing, she enjoys Bible Study, blogging, card-making, movies and reading, as well as caring for her redbone coonhound. She resides with her husband in Arizona where she is currently at work on a new fantasy novel for Bethany House.

For further information Karen invites you to visit her website at www.karenhancock.com  or her blog at http://karenhancock.wordpress.com/

2 comments:

  1. What an encouraging post, Karen! So glad you persevered and followed the Lord's leading. Many blessings on your writing!

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