Friday, April 25, 2014

The Write Place at the Write Time by Elizabeth Musser



Elizabeth Musser
I’m excited to have author Elizabeth Musser join us from her writing “chalet” in France. Yes, that’s right! Elizabeth and her husband have been serving as missionaries there for many years. If you visit her website, you’ll see the cute shed in her yard where she pens her novels. Her personal story is testimony to God’s leading in our writing journeys, no matter where our lives take us.
 ~ Dawn






The Write Place at the Write Time
by Elizabeth Musser

Twenty years ago I attended my first writers’ conference held at Moody Bible College in Chicago.  As a missionary serving in France, finding a writers’ conference that corresponded with my family’s furlough was a stretch of the time schedule and the pocketbook.  But I’d had this unquenchable thirst to write ever since I was six years old, and after years of hearing from dear folks who read our prayer letters that “You should consider writing a book, Elizabeth”, I gathered together a very modest portfolio of my writings—mostly anecdotal stories about the latest catastrophe with our two little boys that I wrote during their naptimes to save my sanity—and headed to the conference. 

I went with excitement, fear and the same prayer on my lips that I had voiced for so many years, “Lord, if You want to do something more with my writing, show me.” At the conference, I was astounded to discover that one of the editors representing a publishing house had at one time been a missionary in France with my agency, and I knew him! 

I set up an interview with Dave, and, in a less-than-confidant voice, announced, “I want to write a women’s devotional.” 

Dave, the quintessential gentleman, smiled and said, “Elizabeth, we don’t need that.” 

My heart fell. 

“But,” he added, “We are looking for a woman novelist.”

“I can do that too!” I assured Dave.  I left that fifteen-minute interview thinking only one thing, “Lord, you put me in the right place at the right time!”

I returned to France with the tools I had gleaned from the conference to write a professional book proposal. A few months later, I sent the proposal to Dave, and, to my utter amazement, was offered a contract.

I was going to write a novel!  All those years of praying and writing were going to pay off!

Fast forward twenty years. I’m still in France, and I’m still writing novels. Our two sons are grown, and my husband and I eagerly await a visit from our toddler grandson—I’m sure he will give me new catastrophes to turn into stories.

When I got that first contract, I naively believed “This is it! The rest will be easy!” 
It hasn’t been easy. The writing journey has often seemed like a never-ending roller coaster ride. Acceptance, rejection, glowing reviews, criticism, best-sellers, and books taken out of print.

But did I really want ‘easy’? Of course not! 

My desire as a Christian novelist is to be a good steward of the gift the Lord has given me.  I show up, work hard, and do my part, and then I trust the Lord to do whatever He desires with my stories, checking in with Him on a regular basis, for His inspiration, His nudge, His encouragement. 

He has molded my character and grown my roots deeper in Him through this writer’s journey. 

And if I doubt, I look back to that first writers’ conference where He put me at the ‘write’ place at the ‘write’ time. 

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”  I Corinthians 15: 58



Tweetables:

The writing journey often seems like a never-ending roller coaster ride. Click to tweet.

Show up, work hard, do your part, and trust the Lord to do whatever He desires with your stories. Click to tweet.

"Your toil is not in vain in the Lord." I Cor. 15:58  Click to tweet.




(Click the title above to read the first chapter and the 14-year saga of trusting, waiting and God’s timing in getting this novel in print.) 

(David C Cook, 2012) 

1994.  In the south of France, a high school teacher, a homeless man and a young Algerian student newly converted to Christianity embark on a journey of faith which leads them into the midst of Algeria's civil war and into a war for their souls—a war that will force each one to choose between two cultures, two religions and two destinies.

Ophélie Duchemin is a high school French teacher and budding playwright in Montpellier.  When her student, Rislène Namani, comes to her for help, Ophélie is quick to step in.  Rislène has converted to Christianity and her strict Muslim father has found out.  The family is furious and threatens Rislène with physical harm and worse.  But Rislène’s betrayal is even deeper—she is in love with a Christian, Eric, who happens to be Ophélie’s little brother.  

Two Destinies is the story of the persecuted church in North Africa, the terrorist activities in the midst of Algeria’s civil war, the desperate homeless people in France, and courageous individuals willing to risk their lives to help those in need.




ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France.  Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years (Georgia Backroads, 2009).  All of Elizabeth’s novels (including The Dwelling Place, Searching for Eternity, Words Unspoken, The Sweetest Thing, and The Secrets of the Cross trilogy) have been translated into multiple languages. Two Destinies, the final novel in the trilogy, was a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award.

For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work with International Teams.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson.  Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com  and on Facebook and Twitter.



19 comments:

  1. Such an uplifting post, Elizabeth. It helps to know we are not in this journey alone and that it's a tough one for us all. At least when it comes to directions, with God leading the way, we only need to follow along!

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    1. Thanks, Sara, for all you're doing to encourage beginning writers on their way! As we know, God is the Master roller-coaster designer and He is in control!

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  2. Wow, Elizabeth, I'm amazed at your journey. I know so often things haven't gone according to my plan in my writing journey. Then I remind myself they are going according to God's plan. And you know what? I've discovered His plan is always better than mine.

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    1. Amen! It certainly is! And lately, the Lord has whispered this to me, as the publishing world continues to change dramatically: 'Rejection is protection'. Blessings on you!

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    2. Amen! It certainly is. And lately I've heard the Lord's whisper to me (as the publishing world continues to change dramatically): rejection is protection. Blessings on you!

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  3. "My desire as a Christian novelist is to be a good steward of the gift the Lord has given me."

    This, so much this!

    Thank you for a wonderful post, Elizabeth.

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    1. Thank you, Autumn! It so often comes back to this for me--being a good steward of what God has given me. When I consider this, it helps me set priorities and listen to His voice. Blessings on you!

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  4. Thanks for being a faithful, obedient, flexible steward of God's gift of writing, dear friend ... your legacy is encouraging, uplifting, life-giving words and refreshed, changed lives to so so many, and our Father is so pleased :)

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    1. Merci, my dear friend, Dawn=) Your encouragement has blessed me and so many others over the years!

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  5. What a wonderful reminder about the Lord's nudge, Elizabeth. Everything about your today inspires me! May God's rich blessings continue to flow upon you and yours, and the holy work you do.

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    1. Tanya, I'm so thankful that my story has inspired you. I love how the Lord chooses to use our words to encourage others. Blessings on you, too!

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  6. "I show up, work hard, and do my part, and then I trust the Lord to do whatever He desires ..." Love this, Elizabeth!

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    1. Thanks, Angie! It is so freeing to live in this mindset (and of course, it's easier on some days than others=) of trusting Him for all the ups and downs of my writing career.

      It was a pleasure to be a guest on your lovely blog. Merci!

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  7. Encouraging words, Elizabeth. And I want that writing shed--as long as it's heated and air-conditioned. :)

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    1. Thanks, Sandra! Well, I have a space heater for the winter and a ceiling fan for the summer (we don't use air conditioning in France=). I am SO thankful for this chalet. Someday I need to tell the story of God's provision for me to have an 'office'. If you haven't seen the photo on my website, here's the link: http://www.elizabethmusser.com/

      You can get a peek inside too. And thanks so much, Sandra, for having me as a guest on your blog! Very fun.

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  8. Thank you, Elizabeth, for using your gifts for the glory of God! Every one of your books is a treasure! Love you so much! Donna Jeanne in Virginia

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    1. My dear Donna Jeanne, you have such a gift of encouragement and the Lord has used your gift MANY times in my life. Merci! Hope you are all well and someday I want to hear your story of what brought you back to the USA. Very excited for Jessica, too. Love you!

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  9. Good to see you here, my friend! I hope we get a chance to connect when you're home next time. :)

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    1. Bonjour, Ane! Thanks! Yes, I would LOVE to get together for some writerly fellowship=) next time I'm in Atlanta area. Probably won't be til next January. And MERCI for my bday card--I don't think I said that before. You're such a sweetie! Tell me how your book is coming along!

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