It was the end of another season of my life and the start of a new one. I’d already been through the research chemist season, the stay-at-home mom period, and the years as a chemistry teacher.
Now it was time to retire from teaching. The kids were grown. One married but no grandbabies yet. And my husband still worked. So where was God taking me this time?
Writing. That was it. I would write a mystery. After all, how hard could it be? I had been reading mysteries and suspense books all my life. (Feel free to laugh—I am.)
Fortunately, He forced me along a path that made it very clear to me how little I knew about writing a book. I began attending Christian writing conferences where I took classes to learn the trade and met many amazing people—friends that have encouraged and guided me through the years.
My first novel, Deadly Guardian, went through so many rewrites I lost count! But that was all part of the learning process. Three different friends helped with edits before I finally found an agent, Cyle Young, who happened to be a friend as well.
He worked hard to find my book a home, but after many months, I was ready to give up. My prayers went something like this, “It’s okay, Lord. I realize that Deadly Guardian was meant for me to learn from so I would do better on the next book.” Inside my heart was broken.
In 2018, my dad got sick. He lived in St. Louis and we live in Memphis. I ended up living in St. Louis from mid-May that year until October. As my dad grew progressively worse, he finally requested to be put on hospice. We honored his wishes and set it up.
The second day he was on hospice, Cyle called to tell me that a publisher wanted my book, Deadly Guardian. I must be honest. At the time, I couldn’t get too excited. All I could think about was dad. I had no time to go through edits and help with a cover and all the other stuff that comes with publishing a book. I remember looking at the ceiling and saying, “Now Lord? We’re going to do this now?”
But God. I emailed the publisher and explained my situation—Kathy Cretsinger of Mantle Rock Publishing. She was so kind and understanding because she had gone through the same thing with her parents.
Kathy retired and sold Mantle Rock to my new publishers, Scrivenings Press LLC, but she remains a good friend.
Dad passed away in September, 2018. He never got to see my book, but at least he knew that it was going to be published. Getting that first box of books with my name on them was almost surreal. My friends would get so excited and say things like, “Here comes the author.” And I’d feel like turning to see who came in. It’s taken me some time to grow into that title. It’s a little easier since my second book came out.
Deadly Guardian came out in May 2019. There were five years between when I started writing it and when it was published. A long time. But I learned many valuable lessons along the way.
Besides the obvious ones on how to write a better book, I learned about the value of maintaining good relationships, putting people first above things, and allowing God to work in His timing. Also trusting in the Lord and being patient.
Deadly Guardian became the first in a series of three books called Trouble in Pleasant Valley. Death of an Imposter released November 24, 2020, and the third book, Silence Can Be Deadly, will come out November of 2021.
Visit Deborah at https://authordeborahsprinkle.com/