Friday, September 20, 2013

The Best Email Ever by April McGowan

April McGowan
Here at Seriously Write, we cheer for writers when dreams are fulfilled. Today we celebrate with April McGowan as she shares her personal journey to publication and how her debut novel became a reality. Her story is another example of how God has a plan for each of us. 
~ Dawn 


The Best Email Ever
by April McGowan

I know some people feel they were always called to a writing life, and I guess I can see where my life has been channeled that way, but originally, I went to college for fine arts. Now, the whole time I was studying art, I was writing short stories—but I never put it together until much later. I don’t regret my art degree because I pay much more attention to detail than I would have without it. Thankfully, if we belong to Christ, nothing in our lives is wasted. Nothing.

I took my first step into the professional realm of writing when I joined Oregon Christian Writers in 2006 and attended their summer four-day conference. At that time, I’d lugged my first novel with me, sure that someone there would be overwhelmed by its amazingness and ask for it on the spot. Yeah. That didn’t happen. What did happen was better.

I took a short story class from a feisty writing coach named Regina Williams. We were asked to put everything she’d taught us into practice via crafting a short story and read it aloud on day three. I stood on shaky legs in the front of the class and read my piece. I choked on a couple words and made an embarrassing swallowing noise just before finishing. I hoped I could slink back to my chair unnoticed. When I looked up, though, several of the people in my class had tears in their eyes, and they were all smiling. My coach said, “Excellent.” After class, she suggested I get a mentor. When I expressed my frustration at finding one (I had tried), she said, “Well, you’ve got me.” Wow.

That year, Regina mentored me through my first novel, sending chapters through the mail. The amount of red ink felt overwhelming at first, but as the chapters went back and forth and I applied what she taught me, there was less red. By the end of that time, I’d learned so much I felt capable of writing a second novel. I’d joined ACFW in 2010 and took part in the Scribes critique group online. I loved getting feedback!

Over the following two years, I carried a proposal of my novel to the OCW summer conference and pitched my little heart out—I’d done this so often, I wasn’t nervous anymore. I received some interest and sent it to a few houses, but didn’t find a place for it. The following summer I pitched to Roseanna White with WhiteFire publishing. Sadly, at the last, it was turned down. She gave me permission to send her my next work for consideration—which I did. Six months later I received the best email ever. Jasmine would be published in ebook June of 2013, and released to paperback on September 15th.

My best advice for newer writers: keep learning, attend conferences, and practice pitching. If you desire to grow you will; and one day you, too, might get the best email ever.


If we belong to Christ, nothing in our lives is wasted. Nothing. Click to tweet.

When author April McGowan needed a mentor, God provided. Click to tweet.

Debut author April McGowan offers advice to newer writers at Seriously Write. Click to tweet.

She survived her past…but how can she face it? Jasmine is a survivor. She’s lived through the abuse of her father, running away at age fourteen, and living on the streets. Now she counsels at-risk young women—giving them a second chance at life. But when her mother dies, can Jasmine go home again and face all she’s forced herself to forget for the last twenty years? Or will the past she has long forgotten take over her present once again?

April McGowan loves to read and write inspirational fiction. She made her d├ębut into publication with Jasmine. She and her husband, two children, and her mews, Spookers, live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, homeschooling her two children, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.

Visit April’s website
Follow her on Twitter at!/AprilKMcGowan
Join her on Facebook at j   
Watch the Jasmine book trailer at