My guest this month is author Betty Thomason Owens, who shares her experience with Finishing Strong as it relates to her current release. I’ll admit, it contained a great reminder for me.
When I sat down to write the final book in my Kinsman Redeemer series, I remember battling a sense of panic. How could I possibly top the first book? It was inspired. The words had flowed from my fingers onto the computer keys. But this one—my mind felt muddled—where should I take the story?
As it turned out, that was the wrong question. In fact, “I” didn’t belong in there at all. I closed the computer and walked away.
I’m ashamed to confess, days passed before I returned. I had realized it was not my story to write. So, I spent time in prayer and then I waited. And waited.
It happened in the most unlikely moment, while I was reading scripture. A thought dropped into my heart, like a feather floating down and attaching itself to my soul. I opened a document and began to write. For a few short minutes, the story flowed, and the ideas blossomed. Alas, the blooms were daylilies, they were short-lived.
This would not be an easy tale to tell, and there was a reason. My characters were flawed, but their flaws were not fatal. I needed to keep their hope aloft and their faith robust, find the strongest threads and combine them into a theme that would resonate throughout and leave my reader with a full heart.
No wonder I’d felt a sense of panic. That was a tall order, and truth be told, I’m not sure I accomplished it, but I did my best.
As the end of the story approached however, I stalled out again. Closed the book, got up, and walked away. I’d allowed frustration to steal my joy, kind of like my characters. Wait. That was it—the message I’d been searching for. It had been there, all along. Joy.
Yes, my main character had suffered greatly but she’d managed to move past her grief and embrace life. That’s when the writer knows to sprinkle in a little more conflict, right? Doubt and fear, storm clouds to hide the sun. That’s also when true faith shows up and shines a light into the darkness. When the storm has passed, my character is still standing. And not just standing but rejoicing.
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”—Isaiah 41:10 ESV
My characters applauded (in my mind anyway) as I wrote the final scene. Joy filled my heart. I got up and danced around the room. It was finished (except for umpteen edits, a final draft, and a final, final draft).
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
– Psalm 30:5 ESV
She’s waited too long. When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again?
Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.
Drift back into the simple, country life of Tennessee in 1957 with this sequel to award-winning ANNABELLE’S RUTH.
“A 1950s Clean & Wholesome Romance”
Annabelle’s Joy – Kinsman Redeemer, Book 3
Genre: historical romance
Author: Betty Thomason Owens
Release Date: August 7, 2019
Amazon Buy-Link: https://www.amzn.com/B07TXQRKG3/
Betty Thomason Owens considers herself a word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. Besides her work on the KCWC planning committee, she also leads the Louisville Area ACFW group and is a co-founder of the multi-author Inspired Prompt blog. Married forty-four years, she’s a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has seven novels in publication. You can learn more about her at BettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.