Happy Saturday everyone. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Today I am featuring an Author Spotlight on Historical Romance author Janet Grunst. Check out her story below. Hope you enjoy.
I live in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) so you might think that is what sparked my interest in reading and writing historical fiction. Reading historical fiction began as a child, but the motivation to write it didn’t come until much later and getting published was a thirty-one-year endeavor which makes me a poster child for perseverance.
In the 80’s I was a stay-at-home mom in northern Virginia, with columns in two local papers. It was fun but I began to think there was something more I should be doing with my writing efforts. A story kept forming in my mind, so I explored writing fiction. With two little boys at home and no knowledge of what writing for the fiction market entailed, my work was cut out for me. I asked God if He would give me two or three hours a day to write if I would faithfully put it aside to care for my family? Sensing His confirmation, I began researching and studying the craft of writing fiction.
The story germinating in my mind was set in the 18th century required extensive research. This was pre-internet days, so it meant visiting libraries. The more I researched, the more subplots developed. At times it was a challenge to quit studying and get down to writing. I asked for God’s direction and He faithfully furnished it and I kept my pledge to leave my writing den and care for my little ones. A girlfriend and my husband read each chapter after it was completed and their encouragement kept me on task to complete more chapters. When it was complete they encouraged me to seek publication.
Researching publishing companies, writing and submitting queries, synopsis’s, and proposals required a different skillset. Many submissions and rejections followed but I continued to send it out. Trilogies were popular in the early 90’s so in the fall of 1992 I started writing the sequel.
But in 1993, my husband left, requiring me to return to full-time employment to raise my sons. My writing was put aside for many years. I eventually remarried, retired, and relocated to Williamsburg, VA. My new husband encouraged me to keep writing and to again pursue publication.
The Christian publishing world had changed dramatically by 2010. I needed an agent and a social media platform, so I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers, attended conferences, became a contributor to Colonial Quills, got on Facebook and created a website. I still had a lot to learn about writing fiction so the editing continued.
The publishing world was evolving. Ebooks had gained in popularity and bookstores were closing. Publishers were also undergoing changes including closing fiction lines. It was getting harder for unpublished writers to get contracts.
My agent submitted the manuscript to publishers but to no avail. I was discouraged. She mentioned Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC) was taking a chance on unpublished writers and enjoying some success.
In December of 2015, thirty years after writing that story, I received a contract for A Heart Set Free. It received the Selah Award for Historical Romance in 2017. The sequel, A Heart For Freedom, was published in 2018 and received the 2019 Christian Indie Award for Historical Fiction. I’ve just signed a contract for the third and final story in the series. I’m also thrilled to be part of an LPC novella collection called The Highlanders which will be released in early November.
I learned a lot about myself through this long journey to publication and despite discouragement, grateful I didn’t give up. Do you have a pursuit you long to accomplish? Take heart, our timing is often different than God’s timing. Keep pursuing your goal and see where it takes you.