I've heard a lot of authors share their journeys to publication, and I’ve discovered that when we’re called to write, God will keep that spark burning within until the time is right—no matter how long it takes or what there is to learn before arriving there. Such is Vikki Kestell’s story.
Nothing is Wasted in God’s Plan
My name is Vikki, and I write Faith-Filled Fiction™, books that portray Christians who live their faith boldly and take the Gospel into some very dark places. Would you believe me if I told you writing is the best job I’ve ever had—and the most demanding job, too?
I wrote my first book, A Rose Blooms Twice, in 1988. I was a married mother of three in my late thirties living in Montana. I was also mired in the worst period of my life.
I had a high-school education plus a failed freshman year of college under my belt. I wasn’t a writer, but writing Rose was my way of expressing the hope I had in God, hope that he could bring good out of the dark place I was in.
Like every author beginning a first book, I didn’t know if I could actually finish a whole novel. In fact, I was terrified that the little inspiration I felt would simply disappear overnight—so I carried my notebook with me everywhere I went. I pushed down the fear and kept jotting in the manuscript.
Yes, pen and paper. It was 1988, remember?
When I finished my first draft, a friend loaned me his computer: a Commodore 64. The “64” stood for 64K of RAM. That’s all the thing had! No hard drive. No graphic interface. No instructions. Only 64k of random access memory.
Oh. And no Internet.
I managed to type the entire book, about 82,000 words, onto a stack of 5.5 inch floppy disks. I printed out several copies, had them bound at a local print shop, and handed them around to friends and family.
Then? Then nothing. I submitted my manuscript (mailed hard copies) to probably twenty Christian publishers and still have the rejection letters.
Well, the “worst period of my life” ended in 1991. Sadly, it included a divorce. I left Montana and moved to New Mexico to be near family. My goal was to work and go to school simultaneously, earn a degree, and support my children.
With God’s help, that’s what I did. After four years of working and taking classes full-time, I earned a B.A. in English, professional writing. My first job out of that degree program paid twice what I earned prior to the degree.
I had remarried during that time, and my husband suggested that I might pursue a graduate degree. I was, he said, already in “school mode.” I took a semester off and did just that. I earned a master’s in communication, and kept working and moving up the career ladder.
Two years after I finished my master’s program, I started my Ph.D. The Lord was evident in every job and class during the five years it took me to complete my degree.
In all that time, I did not write fiction. I was too busy trying to prove myself in the corporate world. I wrote Bible studies, instructional materials, and no end of reports and other work-related documents, but no fiction.
By 2012 I was a senior manager for a government contractor earning six figures and despising every moment of it. I hated investing my time, energy, and creativity into things I knew meant next to nothing in eternity.
In the spring of 2012, I was part of a RIF—a reduction in force. I was overjoyed to “lose” a job I disliked. While on unemployment, I published A Rose Blooms Twice on Amazon.
I can’t say that I had immediate success, but my readers started asking, “When is the sequel due out?”
“What sequel?” I asked myself. “I wrote this book twenty-five years ago. There’s no sequel.”
Except there was. In fact, I am now writing the seventh book in the series, A Prairie Heritage, of which A Rose Blooms Twice is Book 1. (Read it free on Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007FGI91Y/ )
I retired from the “corner office/big bucks” to devote myself to the work God had begun in 1988. Now I write full-time and earn my living as an independent publisher. (I am a Qualified Independent Publisher with ACFW.)
I’ve told this story several times, but the lesson is timeless: Nothing—not one thing—is wasted in God’s plan.
1. The book God gave me in 1988 is touching thousands of lives for him today.
2. Every degree, every skill, every part of my career life enables me to be a successful independent publisher today.
The book of Romans says it this way: “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” God does not repent of (change his mind about) what he has called and gifted us to do.
Are you called to be a writer? Then let the journey begin.
From the author of the groundbreaking series, A Prairie Heritage, comes the compelling story of fiery-haired, fiery-tempered Tabitha Hale. Tabitha gives her heart to God and her life to nursing. When the Great War erupts in Europe, Tabitha hears God asking her to nurse the war wounded. Will the elite British Nursing Service accept the services of an American volunteer? And what is Tabitha to do with her feelings for Mason Carpenter, the man who simply refuses to give up on her?
Vikki Kestell’s passion for people and their stories is evident in her readers’ affection for her characters and unusual plotlines. Two often-repeated sentiments are, “I feel like I know these people” and “I’m right there, in the book, experiencing what the characters experience.”Vikki holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. She left a career of twenty-plus years in government, academia, and corporate life to pursue writing full time. “Writing is the best job ever,” she admits, “and the most demanding.”
To keep abreast of new book releases, visit her website, http://www.vikkikestell.com/, or find her on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/TheWritingOfVikkiKestell , Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/vikkikestell/, and Twitter, https://twitter.com/FaithFilledFic.