Friday, December 14, 2012

My Journey to Publication by Ginny Aiken

Here on our Seriously Write Fortifying Fridays, it’s been a privilege to share stories about various authors’ treks toward publication So many writers have been open and vulnerable with us. Each path is unique—our heavenly Father treats us as individuals. But the common thread they carry is that God is in control. Today, author Ginny Aiken shares her personal journey. Enjoy! ~ Dawn


My Journey to Publication
by Ginny Aiken

 My parents, especially my PhD-in-Pedagogy (art/science of teaching) mom, always considered education non-negotiable. While at first they loved my early bookworm tendencies, they didn’t much like when I disappeared into mountains of books from the school library—when I was finally old enough for them to let me into the place.

No one was surprised when literature became my favorite high school subject. What they didn’t know was that by my fifteenth birthday I’d written a novel. Yech—pure dreck! Fortunately, I saw the dreck when I turned sixteen. I did everyone a favor by burning it—in dramatic, teenage fashion.

Although that novel became ashes and smoke, my love of books and the impossible writing dream never disappeared. College degrees in Spanish and French literature and a minor in English, plus marriage and two little boys later, the writing urge returned when I was pregnant with our third son. That member of our crew developed spinal meningitis at two months. The fight for his life became my only thought. Writing? Pfft!

After his miraculous recovery, he grew into a rambunctious…hm…adventurous kiddo—an escape artist. There wasn’t a lock he couldn’t open. Nothing scared him. Can’t count the times neighbors called me to retrieve him from his latest escapade—while I used the bathroom, did laundry, etc. He especially loved the corner of our residential street and a busy main road. Two years old, in diapers, waving to heavy traffic. Cup hooks became my friends.

I returned to writing after he started pre-school, urged by my husband, who’d found me stirring sugar into spaghetti sauce, oblivious to all I’d already poured in, my nose buried in the book of the day.

While the first novel didn’t sell, the second and third became my first and second contracts. A three-year dry spell followed. I questioned if what I felt in my heart was the Lord’s calling. Had I misunderstood? My doubts grew when the second contracted book didn’t see publication. The publisher cancelled the line for which they’d bought it.

I stuck it out; wrote proposal after proposal, submitted to publisher after publisher. After three years, my original publisher bought the next book, right after I’d told God—again—that the writing was His, whether He wanted it sold or not.

Back then, I wrote for the secular market, and the next five books became a tough slog. The publisher wanted me to write what I couldn’t and still face my sons, now four of them, much less God. Again, I told Him to take it all.

Days later, Tyndale House called and opened the door to the Christian market. I’ve never looked back in sixteen years. Still, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. I’ve survived another three-year drought, family troubles, two cross-state moves, health challenges, and, this year’s loss of my PhD mom.

Trust God. He’ll guide you, give you stories; He has me, even amid the trials, the ones through which He’s led me. Trust Him.

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Ginny Aiken, a former newspaper reporter, lives in northwestern Indiana with her engineer husband. Their four sons have grown and flown the coop. Born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Valencia and Caracas, Venezuela, she fell in love with books early, and wrote her first novel at age fifteen while she trained with the Ballets de Caracas, later known as the Venezuelan National Ballet. Fortunately, she burned that book after her next birthday. Stints as reporter, paralegal, choreographer, language teacher, retail salesperson, wife, mother of four boys, herder of their many friends, (including soccer teams, marching bands, and two Drum & Bugle Corps) kept bringing her back to books in search of sanity. She is the author of thirty seven published novels and contracted for more. She has also led Bible studies, volunteers at church, and speaks at women’s and writers’ conferences.  

You can find Ginny on Facebook at:  
Twitter at: twitter@ginnyaiken