Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Novel Journey

I recall that the desire to be a writer came to me in the fourth grade. Everyday after school I stopped at the public library and sat on the turquoise-color, square cushions in the children's section and wrote for hours on my lined notebook paper.

My story was called "Little Miss Mouse." It, actually, was a romance.   

As I grew older, I kept a diary in which I wrote of my dislike of my younger sister and brother, my school teachers, my parents. I started playing the guitar and writing my own songs which I would sing to my friends. In middle school I performed in something called "Show Circle" and sang James Taylor's hit "Fire and Rain." My mom said she cried as she watched me strum my guitar and sing into the microphone. I really felt I was the next Carly Simon.

But then in high school I met many more kids just as talented. But still thought I'd get to Los Angeles where I'd become a singer/songwriter.

When I was a sophomore in high school I performed with the Milwaukee Opera Company. That was a thrill for me. I also took part in my high school's performances over the years. But slowly my dream of becoming a "star" vanished. More practical ideas were forced upon me by parents and guidance counselors. I went to college for a semester, hated it, and came home and married my high school sweetheart, Daniel. We met when I was a senior. He had already graduated and worked at A.O. Smith.

We married and soon our son Benjamin came along, followed closely by his brothers, Richard and Brian. As a young mom, I traded books with girlfriends and read such novels as "Ashes in the Wind" by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and "Outlaw Hearts" and "Upon A Moon-Dark Moor" by Rebecaa Brandewyne.

I decided I wanted to be like these authors and write a classic romance novel, complete with bodice-ripping cover. To help me achieve this goal, I returned to college. I took creative writing and excelled in the class.

But, again, practicality set in when I learned getting published wasn't as simple as I thought. Neither was writing! I re-directed my energies into the Professional Communications and Business Management areas. Meanwhile Daniel kept the home fires burning and made the kids dinners like scrambled eggs with Rice Crispies thrown in. Mmmm. 

Then in 1991, I was gloriously born again.

God redirected my paths and I decided to write for the Christian market. My stories, I determined, would be romances and yet honor God -- and certainly not dishonor Him in any way.

My first novel, a story near and dear to my heart, was published in 1994. It was Divine Affirmation for me. This is what God wanted me to do: Write Christian romance.

Since then, I have had many novels published. I helped launch Barbour Publishing's trade line with my Faded Photograph Series. I was one of the first authors kicking off Summerside Press's Love Finds You line. I am a cofounder of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

Most recently I was blessed with the pleasure of revisiting the characters in my very first published story. I totally rewrote it and "Unwilling Warrior" (Realms Fiction) will be released in May 2010. Below is summary of the story. It's the first book in my Seasons of Redemption series.

The War Between the States has Valerie Fontaine frightened about her future. She never suspects she’ll be thrust into the middle of it. But when her wealthy father is charged with supplying Federal gunboats in order to save his shipping business, Valerie is suspected of conspiracy. Suddenly she’s forced to flee her upscale New Orleans home or be taken into custody by Confederate troops.

Benjamin McCabe is part simple country boy and part educated philanthropist. He’s got a noble dream to somehow make his mark on the world and he’s decided that photographing the Civil War is the way to accomplish it; however, since Bull Run his brother Luke has been missing and Ben’s plans to find him. He’s followed and photographed regiments from Virginia to Louisiana. His stop in New Orleans is supposed to be a temporary one – until he meets and falls in love with Miss Valerie Fontaine.

When Valerie’s father is arrested, Ben secures a way for her to leave the city and travel to his family’s home in Jericho Junction, Missouri where she’ll be safe. He promises that as soon as he finds Luke, he’ll be home and they can begin their life together. However, once Valerie steps off the train she finds herself caught up in a web of lies that threaten to imprison her more than Yankee steel bars ever could. Only Benjamin has the key to unlock the truth.

Can Valerie adjust to life on the prairie and remain true to her promise to Ben no matter what the cost? Will Ben prove he’s more valiant than visionary and return to Jericho Junction with Luke in tow before Valerie loses all hope?

*     *     *
It's such a blessing to be where I'm at, writing historical romance that honors Jesus Christ and having a wonderful publisher behind me, believing and investing in me. What I would tell any writers working toward publication is: Don't give up!

There will always be nay-sayers in your life, those people who don't believe in you or your writing. But that's the point at which a writer's faith must be strong.

Believe in the gift God has given you and press on. Keep writing. Finish that book you're working on.

A friend once told me, "Perseverance is what gets a book published." And I think there's a lot of truth to that statement. It's perseverance -- and being open to write as the Spirit living in you directs and redirects.

In short, the novel journey is...quite a trip!



Andrea Boeshaar


Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Andrea, I loved reading your novel journey! How fun to see the influences the Lord used to bring you where you are today. I am looking forward to reading your new series!

Miralee Ferrell said...

I've been a fan of Andrea's work since reading her Faded Photograph series when it first released. I was privileged to read and endorse Unwilling Warrior and it's superb. If you love a good historical romance you need to pre-order this one now. It's beautifully written and will keep you interested all the way through.

Miralee Ferrell