I love today’s journey to publication story! Sonja Anderson’s experiences encourage us to remember that God’s silence doesn’t mean he’s not listening or preparing the way for us to unlock gates to opportunities. Instead, he may be waiting for the right time to fling closed doors wide open.
Your Work + Silence
= God’s Mighty Plan?
= God’s Mighty Plan?
It doesn’t get much better for an elementary school librarian than to watch five copies of her very own book be in constant circulation.
Sophie’s Quest (released in 2015) contains a double whammy for a diverse, public school audience: as a Holy Land quest, religious themes run throughout, and there is even a Christian emphasis to the ending. People seriously wondered if it would even be allowed. Kids of every religious background, however, don’t let that worry them and they all check it out—even Muslim students tell friends it’s a “good book.”
The call to write it came fifteen years ago, when my kindergartener had argued with friends over “whose God is biggest.” How could I help her become a more respectful neighbor in our diverse community? How could she communicate her own faith more effectively? An idea for a story began to take shape.
Prayers for courage to begin writing led to the Holy Spirit practically hounding me. After a year, I finally said aloud to God, “All right! I’ll do it! Just go with me the whole way, okay?”
And He was! I could sense His presence and help through each step of the research and writing process. When the manuscript was ready, a personal contact soon led to an enthusiastic reading from a Zondervan editor. This is going to be easy, I thought. Thank you, God!
How wrong I was. Caught between her desires and a company shake-up, the editor turned it down. Subsequent submissions disappeared into black holes in the editorial sky. Even editors who requested the manuscript took many months to finally reject it.
Had God fled the scene? Had I done something wrong? Was the manuscript not really ready?
Then, a publisher “LOVED IT.” Sophie’s Quest would be published! Inexplicably, months and then four more years passed leaving a trail of unanswered emails and broken promises. Where had God gone—again? Praying friends kept praying, but I had largely lost hope.
Finally, in a free write during a Christian writer’s meeting, I submitted through tears to God that it was His book to publish—or not.
By the mysterious grace of God, within a month a Christian publisher in the UK offered to publish it. Not only that, but within hours of each other, the actual contract FINALLY arrived from the first interested publisher! God had given me a choice! I took a deep breath, prayed, and took Door Number Two.
Consider what God may have been up to during the long silences: When I started submitting Sophie’s Quest, its publisher wasn’t even a company yet. I wasn’t working at the elementary school yet. I didn’t know a single Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist child in my community. Now, I know lots! Miracle of miracles, they are all checking out buying, and reading MY BOOK!
What might God be up to during your silent times? May you trust that, like Paul, you will not “run or labor for nothing,” but instead, “shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-15).
To God be the Glory!
Thorns and thistles! Whoo-oo knew that following the Golden Rule could lead to SO MUCH TROUBLE! Can Sophie and Timley get the Park animals to work together before the entire Park goes up in smoke? A novel for ages 8-12, this is the sequel to a Sophie's Quest, a Holy land friendship adventure.
Available November 26, 2016!
Sonja lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and two daughters. She works in a public elementary school where she gets to encourage kids to follow the Golden Rule multiple times a day.
To connect with Sonja and learn more about her books, please visit: