Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Tribute to a Mentor by Sandra Robbins

I recently told a friend that writing can be a very lonely profession. An author spends the day alone in an office as he/she struggles to translate the story in the head into words that will catch the interest of readers and keep them turning the pages. Before we know it, we may feel isolated and question if we’re really cut out for this kind of work. That’s why we all need someone—a mentor who understands our doubts, our fears, and our hopes because they’ve walked that path before.

To my way of thinking there are two types of mentors: the professional one and the personal one. The professional mentor is usually a colleague who understands the writing life and what it takes to get a book published. They offer constructive criticism on areas that need improvement and advice on making the right choices that will impact the writer’s professional future.

The personal one may never have had a desire to write one sentence, but they possess characteristics that make a person want to become the best they can be. They are people who are well-respected and who care about those around them. They offer support and are always available to listen. The word that comes to mind is cheerleader. They are the entire cheerleader squad rolled into one individual who stands on the sideline and chants for their mentee to make that goal.

Although I’ve had both types in my life, the most important one was my mother who never stopped being my cheerleader. She encouraged me to step out on faith and write my first book even though I had a full time job as a school principal. When it was published, she rejoiced more than I did and took my characters to her heart. One piece of advice she gave me many times was a quote one of her teachers wrote on her report card when she was a girl: Hitch your wagon to a star, and you’ll go far. She knew that I could achieve my goals if I put my trust in God and let Him lead me. And she was right. God opened doors for me that I could never have done for myself.

July 31st is her birthday, but I won’t be celebrating it with her this year. She passed away on May 9th after a long illness. At her funeral I wasn’t surprised at the stories told to me by friends and family of how she’d helped and encouraged them in their lives. She had written her eulogy in the inspiration and support she’d given others throughout her life.

So I offer this tribute to her today. I pray that I can be an encouragement to someone like she was to so many, because I want the joy she received from giving to others. But what about you? There’s someone out there waiting for you to become their mentor. I pray you find each other soon.

Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town where she grew up. Until a few years ago she was working as an elementary school principal, but God opened the door for her to become a full-time writer. Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award. Since Sandra is a Southerner by birth, she enjoys setting her historical romance and romantic suspense books in both the past and present-day South. Her latest book Angel of the Cove releases August 1 from Harvest House Publishers. To find out more about Sandra and her books go to http://sandrarobbins.net or send her an email at sandra@sandrarobbins.net

In the first book in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, Angel of the Cove, acclaimed author Sandra Robbins weaves a tale of love, loss, and God's faithfulness in every circumstance.

Anna Prentiss has never wanted to be anything but a nurse. Before she can start school in New York, however, her brother sends her to Cades Cove, deep in the Smoky Mountains, to spend a summer apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself and then head to the big city.

But nothing could have prepared Anna for the beauty of the Cove, or the community and friendships she finds there. And she certainly wasn't prepared for Simon Martin, the handsome young minister, or the feelings he arouses in her. Has God's plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly?