Monday, June 7, 2021

When God Has a Different Plan

Jill Weatherholt






When I signed my first contract with Harlequin Love Inspired in 2015, a question asked often was, “Are you going to quit your day job?”



In 2015, when I entered the Blurb to Book contest offered by my current publisher, writing was a hobby. It was something I did to relieve stress. My best friend, and mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Escaping into my story world was a balm for my heartache.



As I advanced in the contest, I realized my hobby had an opportunity to go in a different direction. Today, I know it was all part of God’s plan, but back then, I was clueless as to what He had in store for me.



At the end of the contest, a contract for my first book was offered. It was a dream come true.

But wait—early on, I’d never dreamed of becoming a published writer. I’m not one of those authors who knew when they were a child that they wanted to write books. I didn’t even know it when I reached adulthood. In my thirties and early forties, there was no desire to see my name in print. Sure, I loved to read since I was a child, but writing a book? It just wasn’t on my radar.



Then something shifted. At the time, I couldn’t explain it. Suddenly I became obsessed with all things related to writing. I found myself journaling about how I wanted to be a writer. I was hooked on reading author websites and learning about their journey to publication. I wasn’t sure where this desire was coming from, but I was unable to escape it. I began to study the craft. I wrote short stories for fun, and even entered a few contests. In fact, one of those contests was with Southern Writer’s Magazine. They were the first to ever publish something that I’d written. Then another story was published, and contests were won.



But it was one month after I turned fifty-years-old, when things took a major turn. On August 17, 2015, I received a phone call from New York. I remember I was at my day job. When I saw the New York area code on my cell, I let it go into voicemail thinking it was a solicitor. A few minutes later, the same number popped up on my screen again. For a second time, I ignored it. Then it dawned on me, and my heart began to race. Harlequin is in New York. Wasn’t today the day the editors were going to offer a contract? I panicked. What if they didn’t call a third time? What if they moved on to the next contestant?



My fears subsided when I saw the same number appear on the screen. From that moment on, my world changed. It became a series of constant deadlines, and a future filled with writing synopses—something that doesn’t come easy for a panster like me.



It wasn’t until after I signed that first contract that I realized God knew what I wanted before I even did. How amazing is that? He instilled that determination. He gave me this wonderful gift. Knowing this is what keeps me pressing forward on those days when I sit down at my computer and wonder, how in the world I’ll ever get this book written. When I find myself overwhelmed by life, extensive edits and not enough time. I relax and remind myself who’s in control of my writing journey.



Six years later, I’m still at the same day job, continuing to publish books and helping to care for my mother. Is it tough to keep all the balls in the air? Of course, it is. Is it okay if I accidentally drop one of those balls? Yes, it is, thanks to God’s grace and this amazing gift He’s given me.


Jill Weatherholt. By day, Jill Weatherholt works for the City of Charlotte. At night, and on the weekend, she writes contemporary stories about love, faith and forgiveness for Harlequin Love Inspired.

Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, but her heart belongs to Virginia.

She holds a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and Paralegal Studies Certification from Duke University.

She shares her life with her real-life hero and number one supporter. Their relationship grew on the golf course, and now they have one in their backyard.

Jill believes in enjoying every moment of this journey because God has everything under control.

Visit Jill at https://jillweatherholt.com/





61 comments:

  1. How wonderful to read Jill's story!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Your determination and persistence are key characteristics for every writer. Keep up the terrific efforts.

    Terry
    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Terry. I appreciate your kind words.

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on your huge success, Jill! I can't even imagine how you get it all done, and I'm so grateful for your friendship. Our God is an amazing God. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes He is! I'm so thankful for your friendship too, Dora. Thank you for reading. xo

      Delete
  4. I remember reading that first story Jill - it does seem as though this was all destined to happen and I'm so glad you're achieving your dreams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Andrea. I appreciate your support over the years. xo

      Delete
  5. You are an amazing woman, Jill.

    I admire your success and the fact that you see God's hand in the details of your life. We all come to the writing desk from different lifestyles. In the end, it is the willingness to follow our dreams with God's help. Brava!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your find comment, Marian. I appreciate your friendship and support. Thanks for reading! xo

      Delete
  6. That is an amazing story, Jill. I definitely believe God had a hand in your life path. I wear a silver scripture bracelet that I never take off. It's inscribed with the verse from Psalm 46:10---Be still and know that I am God. It reminds me no matter what is going on around me, no matter how turbulent, He is there.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your bracelet sounds beautiful, Mae. That's one of my favorite verses, it's so comforting. Thanks so much for stopping by today. I appreciate it! xo

      Delete
  7. Wonderful to read Jill's story... I love her books and buy them for my adult daughters too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Bette. I value your friendship. Thanks for reading! xo

      Delete
  8. I loved learning more about Jill's journey into writing and publishing. When the writing bug bites, it bites deep (a gross metaphor, but there you go. Ha ha.) I wish Jill huge success with her career and her books. I've enjoyed her sweet stories and will be reading more of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right about the writing bug, Diana! Thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm so happy we met through WordPress. You're a great friend! xo

      Delete
  9. Jill, thank you so much for visiting Suite T today. And thank you for letting us be a part of your writing life. From the very first your talent was shining through and with each word you write, it becomes stronger. You are a great example of what God can do in our lives when we let go and do it His way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for inviting me today, Susan. You and the entire staff at Southern Writers will always hold a special place in my heart. You encouraged me more than you know. Yes, His way is always the best way! xo

      Delete
  10. I love to hear your story over and ove , Jill. There is no one on the planet who deserves to do what she loves more than you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw...thank you so much for your sweet comment, John. That is so nice of you. WordPress has certainly blessed me with wonderful friends. I appreciate your visit today! xo

      Delete
  11. I enjoy your stories so much Jill. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me. Hope you see lots of hummingbirds today. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Melissa. You're a tremendous inspiration to me and many others yourself! I appreciate your friendship. As soon as I got home from the day job today, I was greeted by a beautiful Ruby-throat...and a duck, too! Thanks for stopping by today. xo

      Delete
  12. Thanks for sharing your story, Jill. You deserve this so much. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jill, You are a real success story! I'm so happy for you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's my pleasure. I appreciate your kind words. Thank you for stopping by today!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you, Jennifer! I appreciate you popping over.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jill, God definitely has a perfect plan for you. Your stories have encouraged so many readers. It’s inspiring to read about your unexpected writing journey. Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much, Sherida! Meeting you and becoming friends has been a highlight of my journey. I appreciate you stopping by today. xo

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am a huge fan of Jill Weatherholt. As soon as I finish one of her books, I eagerly await the next one! I love learning more of her backstory.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You're so sweet, Donna! I'm writing as fast as I can for you! Your friendship means the world to me. Thanks for stopping by. I'm so happy you were able to see Erica. xo

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Jill, what an amazing journey. Having shared a similar journey as part of yours, I know about going in all directions at the same time does to the body and mind. God doesn't give us more than we can handle as long as we remember to lean on him. <3

    Enjoyed learning more about you. Don't guess it ever sank in what your first job was/is. Dale worked for a municipality too. He says "bless your heart". :)

    I for one, am so glad you took up writing because your books are a blessing to all that read them. Just listen to the direction your led and keep writing the wonderful books you do.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Kay. Please tell Dale thank you. I work for the police department as a civilian. Every day I pray for my coworkers, the sworn officers who leave their family each day and put their life on the line to keep us safe. I'm thankful that my journey has crossed your path. You are a blessing in my life. Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  24. I love the story of the ignored phone calls. Oh my you must have been distraught! But of course they called again. They didn't want to lose a chance at your stories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I'm a major call screener, Jacqui! Of course, I'd never screen you. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. I push--"Can I call you back?" If they leave a voicemail, I'll find out if they're legit. Sometimes, it's my doctor calling from an internal line--yikes!

      Delete
    3. I do the same, Jacqui. You're right about the doctor calling. I received a letter from my doctor saying they'd been trying to reach me. Sure enough, the calls had gone into voicemail, but I never got an indication.

      Delete
  25. I love it when God surprises us and gives us a dream we didn't know we even wanted. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a wonderful thing, Patricia! Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  26. Jill, I always enjoy learning more about you. I am thankful to have met you from blogging and enjoy your sense of funny and your wonderful words that turn into books. We have some things in common and I am thankful that i can stay in touch with you. Congratulations to you and I am happy your journey led you to doing what you love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pix! I'm so happy we met through WordPress way back when you were posting. I always loved your photographs. I'm so thankful for your friendship. Thank you for stopping by! xo

      Delete
  27. I love your story, Jill. Yes, I too believe that God works in wonderful and mysterious ways. Congratulations on the new release. I wish you all the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw...thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate your visit and your kind words. Thanks for reading! By the way, I've got your book on my Kindle...it's coming up in my queue.

      Delete
  28. It is really lovely to see Jill featured here and learn more about her. She is a wonderful writer and so supportive of others, but rarely shares about herself.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Robbie. I appreciate you stopping by today. Thanks for reading.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Jill's an amazing writer and daughter/wife/friend/city employee and somehow she DOES juggle it all. I appreciate and sink into each of her books, settings and characters. Keep it going, Jill!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Pam! It is a juggling act for sure. :) I appreciate you stopping by! xo

      Delete
  31. I don't know how you manage to keep all those balls in the air, Jill; you're an amazing woman and an excellent writer. I have loved all your books and especially like getting to know your characters who are 'real' people and so well-rounded. Well done! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Clare. I'm so happy you've enjoyed my books. Thanks for visiting! xo

      Delete
  32. Wonderful insight into Jill’s path as a writer and a person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Luanne. I'm happy we met along the path. xo

      Delete
  33. Jill, I'm so glad you answered the call. You are a beautiful writer, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gail. I appreciate your friendship and kind words. Thanks for reading. xo

      Delete
  34. What a lovely story to share, Jill! I love reading about a writer’s path to writing. Yours is so inspirational.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for your kind words, Marie. I'm so happy we met on WordPress...so long ago! Thanks for reading. xo

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wonderful interview, Jill. I'm glad you connected the dots and realized who was on the other end of that phone call!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I’m glad too, Jacquie! Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I’m glad too, Jacquie! Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nice to learn more about you, Jill.
    FYI: Your book showed up on my recommended reads from Amazon:)

    ReplyDelete