Friday, February 4, 2011

My Journey to Publication by Patti Hill

God directs each of us down a unique path in our writing careers. On Fortifying Fridays, guests share their personal journeys, and offer encouraging words to those who are hoping to one day publish their first—or next book. Sit back and enjoy what author Patti Hill has for us today.

My Journey to Publication
by Patti Hill

I’ve been a storyteller since my babbling days. My earliest “stories” were meant to deflect Mom’s wrath over ravaged strawberry patches and spilled nail polish. The plotlines were ineffectual, and I tasted my share of soap, but I persevered. By the time I reached adolescence, I lied to cover my sense of unworthiness and to stay on the sunny side of Mom. And when I wasn’t lying, I used elaborate daydreams to boost my sagging self-esteem. Stories were my security blanket.

I love Jesus for redeeming my gift and my life at age 14. He took a lying daydreamer and made me into a bona fide storyteller-in-training. I am eternally grateful.

Only weeks after accepting Jesus’ amazing gift of redemption, people started suggesting writing as a career. I thought they were crazy, although I continued to hear encouragement through high school and college. To appease all, I changed my major to journalism. But I get distracted easily. Instead of graduating, I married Mr. Wonderful and settled into my dream life as wife and mother. No regrets.

Becoming a novelist never crossed my mind, but I didn’t stop writing either. I wrote to pray, to protest, to convince, to teach, to remember, and to understand. Years passed. My sons grew big and hairy, so I went back to college to earn an English degree and taught elementary school. A teacher book club changed everything.

I’d always loved to read, but this was so different. Reading contemporary literature chosen by friends with diverse tastes, well, that made for very passionate discussions. Seeing my friends delve into all manners of topics with glee just because a story had led them there, demonstrated the true power of story.

My passion became writing stories that would provide a keyhole view of the faith life to an unbelieving world. I wanted people to discuss Jesus passionately and with wonder, not contempt as so many books seem to provoke.

I quit my teaching job to write Like a Watered Garden. Lauraine Snelling critiqued the partial manuscript at a conference. Afterward, she encouraged me to send the manuscript to Bethany House. I drove home from with stars in my eyes. And then…Bethany House rejected the manuscript.

After an impressive crying jag, I finished the manuscript and started querying agents. I found the best. She shoe-horned my novel into six publishing committees and three of those houses made offers. When the dust settled, Bethany House published my first novel and the next two in the series. I’ve since published two novels with B&H, The Queen of Sleepy Eye and Seeing Things.

Now, for the rest of the story. Like Allison Strobel (read her inspirational story from two weeks ago), I’m in the “sit-and-wait” chair. Yes, my agent is hawking a finished manuscript, but so much has changed in the past few years. One thing is certain, Jesus will shepherd me through it all in ways that benefit His Kingdom. And I’m very, very good with that.

Patti Hill is the author of five published novels—Like a Watered Garden, Always Green, In Every Flower, The Queen of Sleepy Eye, and Seeing Things. She just completed her first historical novel, Goodness & Mercy, set during World War II. Patti writes stories to reveal how faith looks in working clothes, what faith feels like in a crisis, and how faith acts toward others who are hurting. She’s been married to Mr. Wonderful, Dennis, for 34 years. Her grown sons are handsome and brilliant, of course. When not writing, she works part-time as a librarian—pure indulgence—and acts as sous chef for her husband, a dedicated foodie.

To find out more about Patti and her books,
please visit:


  1. I'm glad to read more of your story, Patti. Thanks for sharing your journey so far. "One thing is certain, Jesus will shepherd me through it all in ways that benefit His Kingdom. And I’m very, very good with that." That right there seems the only mindset to keep one sane and whole along this publishing path. Thank you for underscoring it today.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Lori. We write for an Audience of One!

  3. Hi Patti, thanks for visiting today. Love your writing voice. :) Seems there are lots of people sitting and waiting these days. We're in good company. Thanks for sharing your hope and trust in Jesus as He leads.


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