Friday, May 13, 2011

A First Time Experience by Connie Stevens

Here at Seriously Write, our Fortifying Fridays focus on giving authors opportunities to talk about their journeys to publication and offer encouraging words to other writers. Last December, when Connie Stevens wrote about an experience she had during the holidays, both Annette and I (Dawn) were touched. I’m so glad that Connie is here today to share it with you.

A First Time Experience
by Connie Stevens

One week before Christmas, I received a case of author copies of my debut novel, Leave Me Never, from Heartsong Presents. Giddy with excitement, I gave a few copies to friends and family. I remember, when attending a writer’s conference, someone said to always carry a few of your books with you because you never know when God will give you an opportunity to network with someone who can help you promote your book, or use the book to introduce someone to Christian fiction. So I stuck a book in my purse as I was heading out to run errands.

The week before Christmas every place was crowded, the lines were long, and patience seemed in short supply. My last stop was the grocery store. The girl who checked me out looked and sounded tired and discouraged, so I smiled at her. She tried to smile back but her effort appeared forced. I asked her if she was ready for Christmas. When all she did was lift her shoulders, something hit my heart and I knew this girl was going through a difficult time.

As she finished checking out my groceries, I asked her (a bit apprehensively) if she liked to read. She kind of half-shrugged and said, “When I have time.”

I sent a prayer heavenward and pulled the book out, handed it to her and said, “Merry Christmas. This is my debut novel.”

Again, the forced smile and a mumbled thank you. The bag boy tucked the last bag into my cart and turned it toward the door, waiting for me to join him. I saw the cashier out of the corner of my eye turn the book over and glance at the back. As the bag boy and I reached the door, the girl called out behind me. I turned. She had tears in her eyes as she held up the book. She tapped her finger on the back cover. “Is this what this book is about?”

I smiled (much bigger this time and not the least bit apprehensive) and said, “Yes.”

You know how sometimes you “lock eyes” with someone and unspoken communication zings back and forth? I saw hope in her eyes and this time her smile wasn’t forced when she said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas.”

The first line on the back cover of my book reads, “Does God keep His promises?”

I needed a tissue before I could drive home.

The image of this girl and the tears in her eyes has lingered in my memory. Since my book didn’t officially release until three weeks later, this cashier was among my first readers. My heart was arrested by that term—readers. As Christian authors, the reason we write goes beyond entertainment. Our writing is a ministry. We never know who will be impacted by a character or a plot that draws that reader in and points their heart in the direction of Jesus. Praying for my readers has become a new passion.

Connie Stevens lives in north Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years, John. One cantankerous kitty—misnamed Sweet Pea—allows them to live in her home. Some of Connie’s favorite pastimes include reading, browsing antique shops, collecting teddy bears, and gardening. She also enjoys making quilts to send to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Leave Me Never is Connie’s first published book. Her second book, Revealing Fire, releases this month. Both books are published with Heartsong Presents, division of Barbour Publishing.

Visit Connie’s website and blog at

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful story, Connie and it couldn't have happened to a nicer lady than you. If one little book can make a difference in someone's life, all the hours of hard work are worth it.


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