“Everyone wants to write fiction,” author and speaker Ace Collins said to me during a phone conversation. “How is it that you get to so quickly in your writing career?”
I laughed lightly. “I know it seems like it was in a relatively short period of time,” I told him. “But in reality, it wasn’t.”
My story really began when I was in the seventh grade. Up until then I had been a “closet writer.” I kept a diary and a journal, I wrote short stories, articles for our hometown newspaper and church bulletin, and poems. But the desire to one day be a “famous” novelist was a secret I kept closely guarded. Then, one day during a class, the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was asked.
“A writer,” I said assuredly. My resolve soon fell, however, when those around me laughed. At that moment, I took the desire of my heart, tucked it into a private corner of my soul, and continued on with my life.
Yes, I continued to write, but once again it was in private. I graduated from high school, became a nurse, got married and had children. I no longer kept a diary, but I journaled and wrote church and school plays while my children were little.
I entered my forties. My children were no longer children and my passion for writing fiction was burning inside me. I wrote a play that was produced in a local theater and was then asked to join a writer’s group. About two months later I went to the monthly meeting with what would become the second chapter of my first novel, Shadow of Dreams. The group was so enthralled, I dashed home and sent an email to my good friend (and email buddy) G. W. Francis Chadwick. Francis, a gifted writer himself, shaped my words with some of his own. When I received the edited chapter, I rewrote my first draft and sent it back to him. He re-shaped it again, sent it back to me, and again, I rewrote it. Before we even had a chance to think about it, we were a writing team.
It took us a year to complete Shadow of Dreams. We knew very little about the publishing business, but we studied everything we could get our hands on and forged ahead by sending our proposal to a variety of publishers. At first, no one was interested. Then an agent took note and began to guide us toward our goal.
In the meantime, the novel began to gather dust on my desk as I proposed a nonfiction title to Barbour Publishing. They immediately accepted it and eventually signed me to another nonfiction title as well. I was elated, but my passion was still fiction, an art form I had not yet given up.
A year after signing with Barbour, our agent heard they were to publish a new line of non-romance fiction. He sent the proposal for Shadow of Dreams, and within a short period of time I received the call I had been dreaming of and praying for! “Eva Marie, we want to sign you to a contract for your novel!” In fact, Shadow of Dreams became the first non-romance fiction title for Barbour.
Since that wonderful day, Francis and I have signed two other contracts for fiction and are planning for a fourth. Even though it took over thirty years to see my dream come to pass, I’m finally getting to be what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” I regret that I allowed my dreams to be stifled, but in the end, it all worked out. I dreamt and I worked hard. I continue to work hard, but the dream is finally a reality.
Eva Marie Everson is the author of several books, including “Shadow of Dreams,” “True Love, Engaging Stories of Real Life Proposals,” “One True Vow,” and “Pinches of Salt, Prisms of Light.” She has contributed to a number of publications and is a national speaker for retreats and seminars. You may contact her at: PenNhnd@aol.com