My Journey to Publication

Venturing to Other Worlds

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, a childhood dream, and a journal. What do they have in common? Take a short venture with me to find out…

My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world, for when I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read aloud to my class The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, the obstacles of life would not.

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face (cliché, I know). God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. Yet, I still feared the ways in which the Lord planned to use me.

But I held on to my childhood dream of becoming an author, of escaping to another world and taking readers with me, though I kept my aspiration a secret. At least until my assistant gifted me a beautiful journal filled with scripture for Christmas. In those moments between friends, she shared a surprising observation—she believed I should pursue a career as an author. Can you imagine my joy and shock? How in the world did she know my deepest childhood desire? The one I never revealed to her, or anyone else for that matter.

I spent the next three months wondering whether or not I was willing to take the risk. Was I even capable? I possessed absolutely no professional training in the craft of writing. Through prayer, I decided to take the plunge anyway. After all, I didn’t have to tell anyone, right? Before long I filled my journal with ideas and Of the Persecuted was born. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.

Seven months later, I finished the manuscript. Or so I thought. I learned the difficult way (through lots of rejections from literary agents) that my manuscript was flawed. I wrote in omniscient narrative, used passive voice, and filled the story with stilted dialogue—all guideline breakers in current fiction trends. The entire manuscript had to be rewritten.

In the months after I finished my first manuscript and sought representation from literary agents, I believe God called me to ask my Sunday school class to pray my work would glorify Him. But that required telling other people I had written a book. I felt vulnerable and feared ridicule. I mean, people in our nation suffered in multiple ways—abuse, poverty, and addiction, just to name a few. What right did I have to ask my class to pray for the publication of my novel? And how would I describe my novel to fellow Christians? Um, yeah, it’s a love story filled with violence, but I promise the content is clean and the story will glorify God. So…please pray for its publication.

The more I ignored God, the more he filled me with courage until I finally sought support from my class. No ridicule. No awkward silences. Just praises and thoughtful prayers. Blessings abounded.

I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, as well as a critique group, and studied the writing craft. Fellow writers began to recognize the potential in my voice and story, and took the time to help me. And, believe me, I needed a lot of help. Honestly, I still do. But Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” And with the fellowship of Christian writers, I can.

Now, my debut novel has been released through my own Indie Publishing label, 4:13 Publishing. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to help another writer fulfill a lifetime dream someday.

In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth no matter the type of persecution I’m forced to confront.

In the meantime, you can find me venturing to other worlds in His name. But know this…there is no other world as amazing as the one He affords each of us through grace. You must merely accept the invitation.

8 thoughts on “My Journey to Publication

  1. This post has truly inspired me! Thank you for writing Christian fiction!!! I can’t wait to read your book. I am almost to the point of publishing my Christian YA and am very excited. I know with God all things are possible. It is brave and unashamed authors like you that I truly look up to and admire!

    1. Aw, Mandy…thanks so much. It’s comments like yours that help motivate me to keep writing. I hope you enjoy my stories, and I look forward to reading yours too! Please keep me posted as to when you publish. Do you have a FB page?

  2. Hi, Ms. Angie! Thank you so much!!! I literally just created my FB page today. It is Mandy Fender (Author) and would be honored for you to visit it, although it is mighty bare right now. I will definitely keep you posted and let you know when it is officially published. I hope that you are truly blessed because you are a blessing!

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