Friday, May 9, 2014

Enjoying the Journey by Narelle Atkins

Narelle Atkins

In the big picture, few writers have the ability to write full time without other responsibilities—like “day jobs” or children. Author Narelle Atkins knows what it’s like to work around her family’s needs while not giving up personal dreams. Today she shares her path to publication. ~ Dawn

Enjoying the Journey

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

I’ve always loved writing stories. I was the four year old kid who had numerous imaginary friends, and thought that was normal. I started writing my first book in 1998, and I discovered I had a lot to learn. I believe it takes time, diligence, and perseverance to learn the craft of writing. And, patience to wait for the right opportunities in God’s timing.

I took a long break from writing while my children were small. I admire anyone who can write around small children. One of my kids didn’t sleep well for years, and sleep deprivation drained my creative energy. I didn’t lose my burning desire to write, and if anything it grew stronger during those years.

In 2006 I was more determined than ever to revise my first book and start my second book. I used to write for two hours every Friday morning while my children were attending pre-school programs. In 2007 I entered my first book in a number of writing contests in the US. My goal was to receive constructive feedback on how I could improve my stories. I was a finalist in four contests and received a full manuscript request from a Love Inspired editor, who left the company a few months later. I submitted the book and received a form rejection.

Over the next few years I wrote the second inspirational romance book in my Sydney series, anda runaway bride sweet romance. I’m an Aussie, and my passion is writing contemporary inspirational romance set in Australia with Aussie characters. I was aware that my traditional publishing options in the US, if I continued to write Aussie inspirational romance, were very limited. In contrast, there were many market opportunities available for Aussie sweet contemporary romance stories.

In August 2012 Harlequin announced they had purchased the Heartsong Presents line from Barbour. I emailed a query and sold my first book, Her Tycoon Hero, in September 2012. My editor asked if I’d written anything else, which led to writing proposals for three brand new stories.

I signed a six book contract with Harlequin Love Inspired Heartsong Presents for two 3-book series in February 2013. I rewrote my runaway bride story as an inspirational romance, and it became my debut release, Falling for the Farmer. My second book, The Nurse’s Perfect Match, is releasing this week.

At times it seemed like my desire to publish Aussie inspirational romance stories was an impossible dream. My love of writing is what kept me going during those long, pre-publication years. I enjoyed the journey, and I’m blessed to now have the opportunity to publish multiple books in my chosen genre.


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~  Ernest Hemingway  Click to tweet.

It takes time, diligence, and perseverance to learn the craft of writing. Click to tweet.

It takes patience to wait for the right opportunities in God’s timing. Click to tweet.


After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who's not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy's attention. She's given up on her dream of being a mother, but can't ignore how she's drawn to Ben's little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad.

As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she'll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other's prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn't tear them apart.

A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to write for Heartsong Presents.

To learn more and connect with Narelle, please visit:

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins



  1. I used to write when my daughter napped. Fortunately, she slept long hours. :) Congratulations on your contracts, Narelle!

    1. Hi Sandra, I'm glad your daughter slept long hours. It's a challenge to juggle parenting and writing. Thanks for your congrats :)

  2. Wow, a six-book contract! Congratulations, Narelle! I well remember trying to write when my daughters were growing up. Once they got home from school, forget it! And I gave up even trying during the summer months. At least during those times I was collecting all kinds of story ideas. I guess it's true, nothing in a writer's life is wasted. ;-)

    1. Hi Myra, Thanks for your congrats :) My children have been very patient with me over the last twelve months because I've been writing during the school holidays. It's easier now they're older and more self-sufficient, and they're happy that I'm able to work from home.

  3. My daughters are all grown, but now I'm taking care of my grandson one day a week, and I'm trying to figure out how to get "anything" done! LOL I think I've been a bit too optimistic with a 7-week old. But, I'm sure it will get better. ;-)

    1. Hi Dawn, Thank you for inviting me to visit your lovely blog :) I have a number of writing friends who are balancing their writing schedule around caring for their grandchildren. Hopefully your adorable grandson will establish a nice day time sleep routine soon :)

  4. Hi Narelle, thrilled to read your story. I think it is amazing you signed a six book contract.

    I find my day job a pain to write around, but it does pay my bills.

  5. Thanks, Terri :) I agree, it's challenging to write around day jobs.


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