Friday, July 4, 2014

Meeting Frank Peretti by Carrie Stuart Parks

Carrie Stuart Parks

Do you have any mentors? Those who are generous with their time and expertise? Carrie Stuart Parks shares how famous author Frank Peretti became an important mentor in her journey to publication. Frank’s novels have impacted my life, so it was really cool for me to read about Carrie’s experience. Enjoy! 
~ Dawn

Meeting Frank Peretti
by Carrie Stuart Parks

My husband, Rick, went on a crusade to have me meet a wonderful couple that he’d become friendly with over bluegrass music. “Did you know,” he asked me one day, “that my banjo-playing friend is an author?”

Okay, he had me. I love books. “What has he written?”

“I think it’s called ‘A Clear and Present Darkness.’”

Great. A Clancy wannabe. Rick persisted, however. In desperation, he told me they owned a Great Pyrenees. That was the deciding factor. I’d owned Pyrenees since just after Noah’s flood. We invited them to dinner. Frank and Barb Peretti.

I had no idea who Frank was. I’d never read his books. When they returned the favor and invited us to dinner, I got some inkling of Frank’s reputation and success. Their home was gorgeous, sprawling on emerald green lawns and overlooking the river. Discreetly tucked on the walls leading to the basement were a variety magazine covers and awards for selling a bajillion books.

Clever person that I was, I put it together that Frank wasn’t just an author, he was an Author. Big time. Important. A list. I could have been intimidated, but Frank and Barb were such lovely, down-to-earth folks that we became friends.

I’ll skip over all the great times we had, because I’m sure you’re now chomping at the bit to find out how Frank came to mentor me in my writing. Fast forward a number of years. It was Christmas and I’d not found a single thing for Barb. So I wrote a story. An adventure about two women on a quest: one fat and jolly, the other movie-star beautiful.

I know. I know. I’m so original…. I wrapped it up and gave it to Barb. She read it to Frank. He said I had writing talent and that he would “teach me to fish.”

I was stunned and thrilled. I decided to not enter any art shows that year and devote myself to learning the writing trade from the master. That was January of 2004. Two months later I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.

Funny thing about God. He sure knows how to time things. Throughout that awful/wonderful year, through surgeries, chemo, baldness, sickness, everything-hurt-times, Frank would sit across his kitchen table from me and listen to what I’d cranked out on my computer. Barb would listen and ply us with lattes.

It was a time of refining fire. I posted on my refrigerator Hebrews 12:1 and took courage from the last line that said, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Not only was I battling cancer, my mom was slowly dying of emphysema and I was caring for her. She died a year later, never knowing about my disease.

I finished my first manuscript that summer of 2004, but my writing, like my life, needed that refining fire. I had much, much more to learn. Rejections, rewrites, more rejections, writer’s conferences, classes, critique groups, still more rejections, classes again, and finally, finally success. Through all of this, Frank patiently, skillfully, taught me to fish.


Funny thing about God. He sure knows how to time things. Click to tweet.

Author Carrie Stuart Parks shares how Frank Peretti became her writing mentor. Click to tweet.

Frank Peretti said Carrie Stuart Parks had writing talent, and then he taught her to “fish.” Click  to tweet.

Gwen Marcey was tops in her forensic art field. Then cancer struck, her husband left, and her teenage daughter engaged in active rebellion. Gwen’s best chance to start her new life was a temporary job reconstructing faces from an 1857 massacre site. Instead, the images from the grave trigger a domino effect of ritualized murder, kidnapping, and fear. Gwen must weave through a labyrinth of Mormon history, discovering secret societies and festering grudges in a race against time. Will she be able to stop another massacre?

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho. Mentored by New York Times best-selling author, Frank Peretti, Carrie began writing fiction while battling stage II breast cancer. Now in remission, she continues to encourage other women struggling through the effects of cancer.

To learn more and connect with Carrie, please visit: