Take a minute to learn about authors Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers and their journey to publication. At the end I have reviewed their lastest book and they have a giveaway for you.
Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers are sisters who write together. They were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is The Shepherd’s Song, Howard Books, March 2014.
Back copy of the book:
Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. . .
Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please let my life count.”
Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational Marathon, this humbling message forever changes the lives of twelve different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures.
With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.
After many years of writing children’s books we made a decision to write for God. We started our first book for God with great hope and expectation. We had our mission statement:
To tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. Psalm 78:4
We had the vision that we felt was from God: to use fiction to show how scripture can change lives. We wrote with passion and with prayer and the result was beyond what we could have hoped for. It seemed that all would go smoothly. After all God was on our side. Then we hit some bumps in the road.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
The First Rejection
The first difficult rejection we faced together was in the submission of a children’s book trilogy that we still love and still feel was inspired by God. The book made it to the sales meeting of a publisher and we were very encouraged by the initial comments and questions. Then the call came. They said no. It’s not that we hadn’t experienced rejection before, we had…lots. But this seemed so different. We were writing specifically for God.
The rejection of the children’s trilogy made us stop and rededicate our work to God. The rejection opened us up to look at other possibilities in our writing. We were doing something that was familiar to us, writing children’s books.
We wrote down three ideas for our next writing project and one of those ideas, was The Shepherd’s Song. It was a total surprise to us that we would attempt to write for adults. Out of our pain, God birthed something new. The course of our writing careers had been shifted by rejection.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
The Second Rejection
The second tough rejection was our 16 minute rejection. Our book for adults was complete. We had met an agent at a conference who was interested in representing us. We sat in the coffee shop where we write and pressed send on the computer and submitted The Shepherd’s Song to this agent. Sixteen minutes later an email popped up. We assumed the email had bounced back. Not so. The agent had said no.
We sat in silence for minute, then prayed, what can we learn from this? God, what do you have for us in this? The agent could not have even read it. We looked carefully at the cover page of the query. Maybe the word count. We were not familiar with word counts for adult books and 35,000 words to us seemed a gracious plenty. Some research proved us wrong and over the next two weeks we added 20,000 words to the book. Our book was shaped by rejection.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
The Third Rejection
Then we had a chance to pitch of the book at a conference. We had rehearsed our fifteen minutes to present the book to an editor that we admire. Three minutes into the pitch she looked at us, tossed our one sheet back at us, and said, “I don’t get it.” And she didn’t. She said no. Somehow we made it back to the hotel room. We laid on our beds for a long while. We prayed and learned something: we were letting the book down. We weren’t presenting it well. We rewrote the first chapter and refined our pitch. Our pitch was refined by rejection.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
The Happy Ending
Fast forward, two months later when we met our agent, Greg Johnson, at a chance meeting at lunch during a conference. We were ready. We had an adult book ready for him, 55,000 words, a great first chapter and a knock-out pitch. He said yes!
Over the course of our writing careers we have experienced a lot more than three rejections! We don’t like rejection but we see it differently now.
In every vision there is some refining. God often uses pain or rejection to help us refine our God-given vision. In hindsight it makes perfect sense. When you are going through it, it just feels like pain. But later you understand.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
My thoughts and giveaway:
What a beautiful story.
From the first few pages my heart was captured by the message of this book.
Have you ever wondered if your life really makes a difference? I think we all have. This book will encourage you to believe that you are making a difference in ways and in people’s lives that you have never met or imagined.
You will follow one piece of paper as it makes it way across the world and see how God’s Word can transforms lives. I love how each chapter is really like a short story all by its self. But each chapter is connected by the Word of God. With each page turn I wondered how was the paper going to reach someone new and how would it touch their lives?
Everyone has a story, as I believe with all my heart, and this book shares the stories of broken individuals in need of hope and who find it in the best place possible, the Word of God.
If you enjoy stories that encourage, you will love A Shepherd’s Song.
Leave a comment for Betsy and Laurie by April 8th at 5:00 pm to be entered to win your own copy.
A copy of this book was given to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review.