Encouragement,  Finishing Strong,  Guest Post,  The Writing Life

Finishing Strong With Dawn Kinzer

I’ve been lax the past couple of months in posting Finishing Strong posts, but today we have Dawn Kinzer to talk about timing in a writer’s life. I’m a big believer in the right timing. Welcome, Dawn!

Sometimes, It’s All About the Timing

How much control do we actually have over our writing journeys? I don’t know about you, but my stories seem to choose me and the timing of their debuts.

Years ago,I pitched a contemporary romance to an agent at a conference. Although she liked the story and writing, no publishers were looking for that type of book. So, Through a Mirror Dimly was filed away. Timing …

However, the agent was interested in hearing about any other projects I was working on. I’m a fan of historical romances, but I’d avoided writing any—too afraid of the daunting research. I knew a certain publisher was looking for romances set in real towns, and the editors wanted to cover all fifty states. On a whim, I tossed out an idea for a historical romance set in my small Wisconsin hometown. The agent loved the idea and asked me to send her chapters once they were written.

Well, the publisher closed its doors before the manuscript was submitted, and the agent got busy with her clients, and nothing happened with Sarah’s Smile. Timing …

At that point, the characters had become too real and the story too important for me to give up. I wasn’t ready to leave all that I’d grown to love. I’d also developed the setting and characters enough to create a three-book series (The Daughters of Riverton). I decided to take charge of my writing, and I self-published that first novel in 2016.

Hope’s Design became the second book in the series. The third book was originally going to focus on Annie, a character introduced in Sarah’s Smile. But Annie’s dream and her romance organically became an important part of Hope’s Design. Now what was I going to do?

The perfect solution hit me, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t realized it before. It would make a big impact on readers to watch Rebecca, the troublemaker in the first book, start to change in the second book and then become the heroine in her own story in the third. In 2018, Rebecca’s Song became a favorite of many with its satisfying ending completing the trilogy.

What did I want to write next? I’d just spent five years living with Sarah, Hope, and Rebecca. I’ll admit that I felt a bit lost.

Then, the contemporary romance I’d written years ago began to nag my thoughts. I casually mentioned to my two critique partners that I was considering taking another look at it.

To my surprise—and unknown to each other—they’d both been thinking about that story as well. After years had gone by without any discussion on the manuscript! A sign? I certainly believed that God had affirmed my decision. Timing …

Through a Mirror Dimly was pulled out and given a makeover. The basic story remained the same, but updates were needed because of time passed. Other revisions were also necessary to help make the story stronger and the characters more likeable.

The title no longer seemed a good fit, so weeks went by before I settled on By All Appearances, published in November 2019. I love this title because it reflects several themes in the story.

What’s next on my agenda? I’ve joined a team of authors who are writing contemporary Christmas novellas for a boxed set that will be published in 2020. The invitation was extended as I was preparing By All Appearances for release. Timing …

The Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition (the other Seattle World’s Fair) was held in 1906, and that time period fits in perfectly with my other historical romances. I haven’t been able to let go of wanting to write a romance centered around a fascinating incident that happened at the fair. But I also haven’t been able to fix a major problem with my storyline. One day, when I least expect it, the perfect solution will come to mind. It’s all in the timing …


Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor, and her own work has been published in various devotionals and magazines. She co-hosts and writes for the Seriously Write blog. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in her historical romance series The Daughters of Riverton, Hope’s Design is the second, and Rebecca’s Song completes the trilogy. Her first contemporary romance, By All Appearances, released in November 2019.

A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, good wine, strong coffee, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.

You can connect and learn more by visiting these online sites: Author WebsiteFaithfully Write EditingFacebookPinterestInstagramAmazon Author Page, BookBub, and Goodreads.

By All Appearances

An attractive special events planner is determined to keep her distance.

A disfigured musician struggles to guard his heart.

By all appearances, both are destined to fail.

Liana Tate, a special events planner grew up in a high-profile family. No matter what she does, Liana feels she never measures up.

Bryan Langley, a talented musician, was close to signing a recording contract when a barn fire left part of his face severely burned. He survived, but his career did not.

When Liana’s father hires Bryan as a caretaker on the family estate outside of Seattle, Liana’s and Bryan’s lives become entangled. He risks public humiliation for Liana’s success, and she encourages him to use his musical gifts, despite his reluctance. Thrown together, will they achieve their elusive dreams? And will the two find the love and acceptance they yearn for, or will their actions only drive each other away?

Amazon Link:


Have you ever looked back and realized that the time you had originally chosen for something wasn’t the best?

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.


  • Gail Johnson

    Good morning! I enjoyed learning more about your writing journey, Dawn! I’m a big fan, and I’m looking forward to adding your next book to my shelf. Sandra, thank you for sharing all these encouraging stories this past year! Happy Holidays!

  • Dawn Kinzer

    Sandra, thanks for giving me the opportunity to share a part of my writing journey with your readers! I hope my experiences can be an encouragement to those who may be struggling with “things” not happening as quickly as they’d like.

    • Sandra Ardoin

      Glad to have you, Dawn. Yes, we can all learn from the experience of others, because we’ve all been there or will be there at some time or another. Thanks for sharing!

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