I have always loved the children’s book, “The Little Engine That Could”. I loved the pluck and spunk of that little engine with the “I think I can, I think I can” attitude. Love underdogs! I love the idea that despite all odds and being the smallest and definitely not the strongest, this little engine succeeded when all the other bigger engines failed because he believed in his heart he could do it!
What’s that got to do with me, you say? Well, in 2009 I published my first book, Shoot the Wounded, a young adult contemporary Christian fiction that has spawned two other books, Heal the Wounded and my latest release Love the Wounded (The Wounded Trilogy). The books delve deep into the real world of teenagers trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle. The books have garnered much praise and attention for their sensitivity towards social issues such as teen pregnancy, gossip, bullying and cancer and the books are listed as resources on one of the largest anti-bullying websites in the world: www.bullying.org They have won awards and 5 star reviews, and teenagers and parents alike are buying and reading the books in numbers I never imagined.
But the books were almost never written…
I wrote Shoot the Wounded nearly fifteen years ago. It started out as a short story, something I just plucked away at for a weekend writing, but 100 pages later I realized it was not a “short” story any more. I added a bit more to the manuscript now and then, not sure what it was that was driving the effort because I never planned on doing anything more with it than tucking it away for my eyes only to see.
Then life happened.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and it was a two year battle where everything I was doing before basically went “on hold” until I was healthy again. I was just starting to grow back all my hair that I had lost after chemo, when God called me to seminary and also to be Minister to Children at my home church in Cochrane. My daughter got married. Life was full and busy. I graduated from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary with my Master of Religious Education degree in 2007 and one day as I was cleaning out all the “old” files on my computer I came across the then untitled Shoot the Wounded manuscript, collecting computer “dust” you might say and I almost hit the delete button…
My husband, Charles stopped me. “Why don’t you finish that story and do something with it?” he said.
That led me on a writing/publishing journey that has now culminated into the recent release of Love the Wounded (May 30, 2012), third and final book of the Wounded Trilogy.
There were many ups and downs, seemingly endless hills to climb on this writing journey…times I felt just like the little engine that could…but with the help of God and MANY mentors and supporters of my efforts all along the way (including MANY members of the Blackaby clan I must say!) I puffed my way up those hills with an “I think I can” attitude. When there were days when my thoughts were: “I DON’T think I can anymore”, and I felt weak and worn out from the effort, it was then that I could feel all those encouragers God had placed in my path helping to push me up and over those mountains!
God is using the message in my books to encourage students who are victims of bullying. My books, written from a Christian world-view perspective are reaching out to teens and adults who need to know that they are not alone…God is always there for them. My writing has become a ministry and I am humbled God would use me and my books to spread His message of Hope to the nations in this way. I have an extensive following on my two blogs: Journey Thoughts (Winner of a 2011 Canadian Christian Writing Award) and Word Salt (a blog for those called by God to write). Blogs I would never, ever have even thought to write had it not been for publishing my first book.
I don’t know where this “track” I’m on will continue to take me but with God and all my encouragers beside me, I’m pretty sure it will be a great ride!
*This interview is borrowed from my brother’s blog “Imagination’s Underground Railroad” (https://danielblackaby.wordpress.com/)