Jill Nelson

» Posted on Mar 26, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Jill Nelson

For a chance to win one of her books please leave a comment with your email address or email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawing ends Sunday evening.
Bumps Along the Journey

Detours and bumps litter my faith journey, as they have my writing journey, but through it all God has been faithful, even when I wasn’t. What better Friend could anyone ask for?

Being born a PK is a special challenge. Ask any other PK. For those who don’t know, that means Preacher’s Kid. Yes, I am the daughter of a minister who was the son of a minister. I guess you could say faith runs in the family, though I don’t mean to imply that anyone can ride on the coattails of someone else’s relationship with God. No more than I could expect the writers in my family tree to get me published. Both things—faith and talent—have to be personally nourished.

So what about those bumps and detours?

Well, my childhood was what you might expect for a nerdy bookworm. My call to write and my call to receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior happened within a year of each other, in my sixth and seventh grade years, respectively. There are a couple of stories related to these events, so read on.

Each day, my wonderful sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Waltz, would pull up a stool and read to us from the most amazing books. Even though I, as well as the rest of my class, was well able to read to myself, something about the process of having someone read to me awakened a longing in the depths of my heart. A passion was born not merely to be the person who receives pleasure from a good story, but the one who gives that pleasure to others.

I wrote my first mystery novel that year. It was terrible, of course, but I did reach a milestone the majority of would-be authors never attain—I finished a manuscript. However, the world is grateful that not a shred of it yet exists.

Since then, I’ve worn the hats of poet, journalist, columnist, essayist, short story teller, and book reviewer, and been published in all of these areas. Yet my dearest dream was to one day become a published novelist. That goal eluded me through a myriad of bumps and detours.

Back to the faith journey, as the two are inextricably entwined. At junior high Bible camp, I had a close encounter of the God kind. A rebirth took place in my spirit, and God and I were now on the same page. Unfortunately, that harmony did not survive high school. My fault for not clinging to my Rock, not His.

Added to common teenage angst, a number of family crises rocked my security boat, and then the first young man I ever gave my heart to rejected me. But the capper came when I was in my first year of college. My father suddenly died, and I felt that all my moorings had torn loose.

Such foolishness I indulged in those days to dull my pain. But God was more than faithful. At times when I could have died through my own stupidity, He protected me—not from every consequence, but from the worst of them.

At last, I somehow managed to graduate from college—with honors no less!—but I was still adrift. A temporary (I thought) job in my mother’s home town offered me a fresh environment away from old associations, and the Holy Spirit’s voice broke through to my dark and wounded soul. Faith revived, and soon so did love.

I met and married a local farmer, and together we raised four children—two boy and two girls. Throughout this period, my gift and calling for storytelling slumbered, though without realizing it, my skills were honed by the constant demand to perform technical writing projects as part of my day job.

I’ll skip over the unique bumps and detours that marriage and four children and extended family members provide and move to the year 2000 when Someone blew on the embers of that nearly forgotten desire to write novels, and the bonfire whooshed to life.

I wrote a novel that year, a nearly 200,000 word monstrosity (still unpublished) that I continue to dearly love. Then I wrote another novel, and joined on-line writers, groups, and started going to writers conferences, and became a member of a critique group. I entered and placed in contests, and wrote, and wrote, and wrote.

In 2004, I got an agent. In 2005, Multnomah Books offered me my first book contract. Since then, I’ve had a book release every year—Reluctant Burglar, Reluctant Runaway, and Reluctant Smuggler, all romantic suspense. Next year (2009), it’ll be two—Evidence of Murder and an as-yet-unnamed romantic suspense with Steeple Hill.

Without staying close to God, none of this would have happened. He knew I wasn’t ready to see my dream come true any sooner. If I had done it my way and in my time, there would have been untold problems and costs, especially to my family. Now, my writing is a blessing with no sorrow added. Proverbs 10:22 in the Amplified Bible says: The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

Yes, I do toil to bring forth my stories of adventure and faith, but it’s a labor of love. In that sense, it is no labor at all, just my reasonable service to my Lord and to the precious souls He longs to draw ever closer to Himself.

Please come visit me at http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com. You’ll find lots to do and see. I love to give away books, so be sure to play the art matching game for a monthly chance to win a signed copy of my latest release, Reluctant Smuggler.