I met Michelle Shocklee years ago at an ACFW conference, and we've kept in touch since. I’m so thrilled that we can celebrate the release of debut novel with her. Enjoy as Michelle shares part of her journey to publication. ~ Dawn
God’s Timetable is Perfect
The famous first line from the book Moby Dick is familiar to most of us.“Call me Ishmael,” Herman Melville wrote in 1851. Well, sometimes I want to tell people to “call me Sarai.” You know, from the Bible. The woman who waited most of her life for a child. No, I’m not waiting for a baby. God wonderfully blessed me in that department twenty-six years ago, and again two years later, with two of the most handsome, smart, talented, funny young men you would ever hope to meet. (Yep, I’m a bit biased and proud of it!) The reason I feel like Sarai, or Sarah as she was later called, is because I have been waiting to give birth to my first novel for ages. I mean, ages.
All my life, I’ve been an avid reader. As a young woman, I devoured Janette Oke books, dreaming of writing my own novel someday. That day came when I was twenty-five years old. I worked for a mortgage company doing icky things that involved massive amounts of numbers. Numbers and Michelle don’t typically get along, so the position was not a dream job. On my lunch hour, in order to get away from those icky numbers, I took my lunch to a nearby park and read. One day, the beginnings of a story popped into my head. Characters came to life. Plots sprung up out of nowhere. Excited, I started taking a large yellow notepad with me instead of books, furiously writing out the scenes as they appeared in my head like a movie. Months and months later, with a stack of several notepads in my car marked up with edits, I wrote THE END. Of course, I knew it would be a best-seller!
Fast forward to today, twenty-something years later. You’ll note my bio doesn’t say “best-selling author” Michelle Shocklee. Nope. You see, that manuscript—as well as the next six manuscripts—was never published. I’d made the mistake many newbie authors make, and that is believing I knew how to write a novel. Boy, did I have a LOT to learn!
My debut novel, THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER, the first book in the Women of Rose Hill series, released a few weeks ago with www.LPCBooks.com. I am super excited! But you know what? I might not have ever written this particular book if I’d been published years ago. The journey to writing this book, which is truly the book of my heart, included rejections, revisions, and untold hours of writing books that will never see the light of day. And I am perfectly fine with that, because God’s timetable and plan is perfect. The years leading to this point were not wasted. I enjoyed a lot of life while waiting for the birth of this new “baby.”
Just as God fulfilled Sarah’s desire for a child, He is fulfilling my desire to be a novelist. But it’s in His timing, not ours, that dreams come true.
Adella Rose Ellis knows her father has plans for her future, but she longs for the freedom to forge her own destiny. When the son of Luther Ellis’s longtime friend arrives on the plantation to work as the new overseer, Adella can't help but fall for his charm and captivating hazel eyes. But a surprise betrothal to an older man, followed by a devastating revelation, forces Adella to choose the path that will either save her family’s future or endanger the lives of the people most dear to her heart.
Seth Brantley never wanted to be an overseer. After a runaway slave shot him, ending his career as a Texas Ranger and leaving him with a painful limp, a job on the plantation owned by his father’s friend is just what he needs to bide his time before heading to Oregon where a man can start over. What he hadn’t bargained on was falling in love with the planter’s daughter or finding that everything he once believed about Negroes wasn’t true. Amid secrets unraveling and the hatching of a dangerous plan, Seth must become the very thing he’d spent the past four years chasing down: an outlaw.
Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Michelle Shocklee is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart. But after living in Texas the past thirty years with her tall Texan husband, she has grown to truly appreciate the Lone Star State’s rugged beauty. Her family lived in Williamson County, the setting for her debut novel The Planter’s Daughter, for more than twenty years. She and her husband currently live and work on a 400-acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country where they can often be found spoiling llamas, sheep, and chickens. She is a contributing author in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazine articles, and writes the Life Along The Way blog.
The Planter’s Daughter is the first book in The Women of Rose Hill series, a historical series set on a Texas cotton plantation before and after the Civil War.
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