Friday, January 8, 2010

My Journey: Part One by Maureen Lang

Please welcome my friend Maureen Lang this Fortifying Friday as she begins a two-part series on her journey in publication. She and I (Annette) have been friends for a few years and it all started when I read her book Oak Leaves. Read my review of this fantastic book here. We're pleased to host her today.

My Journey: Part One
by Maureen Lang

Have you ever wondered how gifts we’re given by God can be used either with His input, or without? I’ve done that very thing.

When I was young, my father called me “the creative one” and nearly from the moment of that identification, I thought about telling stories. My first recollection of writing down my ideas came when I was around ten. Of course in those days I wrote long hand—family computers were things of the future. I used notebook paper, snapped them into a notebook which I then covered in soft deerskin, and pasted on pictures from magazines of models I thought fit the look of my characters. Voila—my first, albeit literally self-published, novel. I then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews.

I share that to let you know I’ve always had a passion for writing, even before the Lord claimed my heart. But do I think He wired me to write to begin with? Absolutely.

In my Jr. High years I did feel the Lord calling me to a closer relationship with him, but despite that initial connection, I ended up making choices that had little or nothing to do with my fledgling faith. I married someone who didn’t share my faith, and I chose to read (and write) books that didn’t honor God.

Nonetheless, God honored my desire to write. He brought people into my life who taught me a lot about writing, from teachers to family members to pen pals I met through a writer’s magazine. Eventually I joined my local RWA group (Romance Writers of America), where I learned so much through the critique of both my own work and others, along with the procedures of submitting manuscripts to editors. I’ve always believed the three best places for writers to get an education are found in honest feedback, reading well-written books and listening to other writers. Once a person decides they want to write, reading for pure pleasure is over. Everything we read is a study in what works, or doesn’t. And other writers are not only the voice of experience, but usually willing to share much of what they’ve learned over the years.

I spent about three or four years seriously pursuing publication in the secular market. Surrounding myself with others on the same path was extremely encouraging, because all of us knew the pleasure to be found in writing and sharing our stories with others. We also knew what rejection felt like. Knowing I had friends who believed I had the talent to get published—if I stuck with it—made it easier to keep going.

In the same year, I entered and won RWA’s national Golden Heart competition for unpublished novels, found an agent and also received a contract from a romance publisher. It was quite a year! To some, it might have seemed like a quick success. But then they don’t know I started training for my writing career when I was younger than ten years old!

Her latest book, Look to the East released August, 2009. Here's the summary:

At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets. When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines. Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint. So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers-a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur-she knows she's playing with fire. Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he's discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life. First in a three-book series.

Maureen Lang grew up as one of the youngest in a six-kid, boisterously loud German-Irish family in the suburbs of Chicago. She started out writing for the secular market and now writes for the Christian marketplace. To learn more, see her Web site.