“If God can bring an awesome dream to pass for this nobody-in-particular from nowhere special, He can and will do the same for you.” This is what I tell people at my speaking engagements. In fact, I autograph my debut novel, Reluctant Burglar, with the following words: Let your dreams soar! Mark 10:27.
That scripture promises that nothing is impossible with God. Many times my dream to become a published novelist looked unattainable, and I gave up on it. But the dream kept resurrecting, and then one fine day I got that first contract!
Obviously, the journey wasn’t without struggle, nor did it happen overnight. Far from it. My dream was born when I was eleven years old, but my first book wasn’t published until I was 46. That’s quite a time lag. But the Lord used those years to hone me as a person and build my skills as a writer. As I also tell my audience at speaking engagements, I completed my first mystery novel in the 6th grade, but not a shred of the manuscript yet exists . . . and the world is grateful.
In high school, I had my own column in the school newspaper, and I even placed in a poetry contest. However, those few pieces I sent out to publications in the wider world came back rejected.
My parents encouraged and believed in me, especially my dad, so off I went to college, seeking a degree in literature and creative writing. Then my dad passed away suddenly in my freshman year, and with him, a hefty chunk of my support base.
Even so, I wrote for the college newspaper and managed to get a few pieces published in local periodicals. You’d think I’d be flying high, but instead I continually compared myself with other writers who I felt were more gifted and skilled than I. Perhaps they were, or maybe they were just farther along on the writing road.
I received my degree then decided to take some time to look for what I could do with my training that would bring in a regular paycheck. Freelancing or novel-writing just didn’t seem possible. During that period, I met and married my husband. We soon had four children, and there was no time to write.
I’m so thankful for my husband and children. Those years were often hard, but something great was happening inside as I drew closer to the Lord through my constant need for wisdom to raise and care for my family. My confidence in what He could do through me was growing. I was no longer my own source. How foolish we can be that way when we’re young!
At last, around the turn of the century, the children were becoming more independent of me, and the embers of my dream to write books whooshed to life as if the Holy Spirit Himself had blown upon them. (I think He did.) I churned out one manuscript then another and another. Then in 2005, the contract came. Dream fulfilled! An ending, but also a beginning of a new phase of my life.
When Reluctant Burglar released, this is the dedication I wrote for the flyleaf: To my dad, who always thought I could make it as a writer. He is no longer on earth to see this day, but I trust he knows in heaven.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an award-winning author of mystery and suspense. She writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith, earning her the tagline: Endless Adventure, Timeless Truth. Jill speaks at conferences, writer’s groups, library associations, and civic and church groups. She and her husband live in rural Minnesota where they raised four children and are currently enjoying their first grandchild.
Visit Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s website at http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/ for excerpts, book giveaways, and contests.
ABOUT THE BOOK - Witness to Murder
Poised for an interview, TV reporter Hallie Berglund walks into a murder scene instead. The victim’s boyfriend stands over the body, murder weapon in hand. Hallie couldn’t stop the crime, but as the star witness, she’ll see the man brought to justice . . . right? Not according to her colleague Brody Jordan, who is convinced the police—and Hallie—are targeting the wrong man. To prove it, he’ll need Hallie’s help. The victim was wearing a bracelet handcrafted by Hallie’s long-dead mother. Now Hallie is the only one who can unearth the secrets of the past—and bring the sinister truth to light.
You can order this book directly from your local bookstore, retail stores such as Walmart, or online at Amazon.com.
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Witness to Murder, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on June 22nd. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!