Friday, December 16, 2016

Thank You, Miss Dunn by Carol Kinsey

Carol Kinsey

I love author Carol Kinsey’s story about her journey to publication. It shows how one person can be instrumental in others using their God-given gifts—and like a domino effect, how using them can bless others. 
~ Dawn

Thank You, Miss Dunn

My writing career started in second grade, and I can blame Miss Dunn. She was a wonderful teacher who knew how to create a love for learning in her students. She was also my first publisher. Everyone in Miss Dunn’s class got to be a published author. The inside cover of my very first book is marked with her stamp and the year of publication. Dunn Press. 1976. The nine-page illustrated story is covered in glossy contact paper with seventies-green limes and yellow lemons. But the book was no lemon. It gave me the vision. There’s something about being seven years old and holding your very own book in your hands that makes you think, I did it. I can do it again.

After elementary school, I got a little distracted from fiction, and focused my attention on newspaper journalism and non-fiction, but when the novel craving came back, it came back with a vengeance.

I was leading a Bible study with ten high school girls. They were a great group of teens, hungry for the Word of God, and they loved to read. The problem was—what they were reading. I challenged them to use Philippians 4:8 as the barometer for the books they read. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV). We went through the list and discussed it. Of course, if the story is fiction, it’s not a “true” story, but does it uphold truth? As we went through each qualification, the girls started realizing what they were “thinking on” wasn’t necessary good for them.

That’s when the bug hit. I wanted to give those girls something to read that would hold up to Philippians 4:8. I wanted to teach principles from Scripture and give a picture of what a life lived for Jesus could look like. I wanted to mentor them with words. So, I wrote my first novel. Unfortunately, Miss Dunn wasn’t there to make sure it got published, but it didn’t matter.

I printed out my first novel in a three-ring-binder. The girls read it with all the love and pride you would expect from a group of teens whose Bible study leader had written a book for them. Write another one! Can I take this to school and let my friends read it? Bless those girls. When I look back at that first novel now, I cringe at the mistakes and lack of editing. But they didn’t mind. I got to paint them a picture with words—a picture that showed them what it meant to be sold out for Christ. Keeping it pure and Christ centered, I wrote them something exciting and fun. They learned from it.

After that first novel, I couldn’t stop. I wrote several more for those girls, and they read every one. Eventually, my husband became a youth pastor, and I continued to use my fiction stories to teach. But my family and the youth group teens challenged me. They wanted to see my books published. They wanted to give them to their friends. That push was all I needed. I published my first novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple, independently in 2013. After that came Until Proven Innocent and Greater Love. I am currently working toward having two new novels published traditionally, and I pray for God’s will.

Sometimes I look back at that first little book and smile. God used Miss Dunn in my life, and I pray He’s using my novels in the lives of others.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14 (NASB).

Accused of a murder she didn’t commit, Bethany Young is running from the law. All the evidence points to her. Deputy Tanner Brenly captures her, but suspects her innocence. Embarking on an irreversible journey, Tanner and Bethany work to unravel the secrets that tangle her life. How can she expect Tanner to believe what even she cannot prove? Will God intervene? Bethany and Tanner must wait and trust in the Lord—until proven innocent.

Carol Kinsey lives with her husband and their two daughters on a farm in rural Ohio. She and her husband have been involved in youth ministry for over twenty years and currently serve at a small country church, which inspired her first published novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple. She has also independently published Greater Love, Until Proven Innocent, and a writing curriculum, Creative Writing Through Literature, which launched in 2016.

Carol is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and co-founded The Writing Family with authors, Amy C. Blake and Colleen Scott. Together with Amy and Colleen, Carol speaks on developing the writer in yourself and your child at various home school conventions, libraries, and author events. Along with her fiction, Carol is also published in several nonfiction venues. She has a passion for writing exciting, Christ-centered fiction that uplifts, encourages, and gives glory to God.

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1 comment:

  1. At a conference, I heard Robin Jones Gunn speak about how she got started - doing a serial for her girls' Sunday School class, too. Isn't it wonderful how God uses our service to bless us too?

    This is a lovely story and good for Mrs. Dunn for encouraging you so early in life.


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