Friday, October 17, 2014

My Stubborn First Novel by Amanda G. Stevens

Amanda G. Stevens

Have you ever written a story or had an idea for one that just wouldn’t release its hold on you? Have you ever been discouraged because someone thought you should toss aside the story of your heart? Read on! Author Amanda G. Stevens shares her experience and offers encouragement. ~ Dawn

My Stubborn 
First Novel

Since before I could read, story has been my deepest love—universal magic, the people I create weaving threads of connection to people I’ve never met. I write because I love my characters and want others to love them, too. Along the way, I want to be honest—about the darkness of the world we live in and about the only true Light, Jesus Christ. And I want to create the most excellent art I can for His glory. But sometimes that takes me a while.

I wrote my first story in first grade and decided I was a writer. By third or fourth grade, publishing a novel was on my list of things to do with my life. I’ve basically never not been writing.

In December 2003, I graduated from college; in January 2004, no longer obligated to all the papers required by an English degree, I started drafting the first incarnation of what would become Seek and Hide. I revised it and rewrote it and scrapped it and started over and revised it and rewrote it. I gobbled craft books and worked to apply what I learned. For eight years, I worked on the same book.

Along the way, knowledgeable and reputable people advised me to consider putting this book in a drawer and starting a new story. At the very least, they said, don’t write the second book in this series. What if you never sell the first one? I wanted to be teachable, and their advice made sense, so I started something new. But I couldn’t care about it.

While I was engaging in author-angst over this, a writer friend asked me, “What do you want more? Yourself to be published, or this series to be published?” I don’t think she expected my answer, but I’m grateful she asked. After that conversation, I returned to Seek and Hide. And revised some more.

In 2011, I drafted the second book in the series. My agent signed me in May 2012 and then worked with me on needed story edits. In October 2013, she called to tell me David C Cook had offered a contract.

I’d never say everyone should be as stubborn about that first novel as I was. Not everyone reaches their goal by the same path. But if, like me, that story won’t leave you alone … maybe there’s a reason. If it’s not ready, don’t despair that it never can be. Learn craft. Be ruthless in revising. Trust God’s path for you even if it’s unusual; and to do that, focus on Him before you focus on your story. (I type this reminder to myself as well.) Falling sparrows matter to Him. Surely the stories He gifts us matter, too.

Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment—including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent.

Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she's targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she'd never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help.

When Aubrey and Marcus's lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus's life in a way he'd never expect, turning a loner into a leader.

As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in English, she has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn.

To learn more and connect with Amanda, please visit these sites: