Everyone’s Story welcomes fellow Elk Lake Publishing author, Ada Brownell. As both a reader and an author (and really, how can you separate the two?) I always love learning an author’s road to publication, which Ada shares with us this week. I trust you’ll also appreciate what she has to say. Do check out Ada’s lovely BookGiveaway. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you.
Ada is offering 1 Kindle edition of either The Lady Fugitive or Peach Blossom Rancher to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, November 11th 5-6 PM EST.
** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.
WHY I’M A CHRISTIAN WRITER
By Ada Brownell
Was it the fire, the hoped-for money, or the command that propelled me to share my words?
I began writing in my teens, and I’m amazed now that I had enough nerve to send what I created to Christian magazines. I started with ideas for youth services and soon branched out to full-length articles for a youth publication and then to pieces for The Pentecostal Evangel.
I felt a fire in my spirit to share the gospel. I knew the fire and the command (Matthew 28:19-20) were connected. But I had no idea I actually would become a writer.
I wrote my first two fiction stories in long hand, and quickly learned about rejection. That wasn’t too big a shock, and I took it in good humor. Perhaps all the teasing and rejection I received from my classmates about my red hair and freckles helped me stay open to criticism.
In Fruita, Colo., I helped Ruby Richter in the beginners Sunday school class. She taught those little people with enthusiasm and great love. I hoped to be like her. Then I became the children’s church leader. After that, even though the youth department age went to 35, I miraculously was voted in as youth leader when I was 15. We’d had such great services the crowd had to sit on the stairs to the church basement where we met.
Then I got married and a year later, my husband was bumped from his railroad job. So we ended up in a little town in the Utah desert. Four bars. The only grocery stores were in two of the bars. No church.
Thompson, Utah, population 100, appeared to have no outlets for ministry. That wasn’t as easy to deal with.
A year later I still thought we’d somehow missed God’s will for our lives. I sought the Lord and when my faith finally came to the forefront, the Holy Spirit did a special work in me.
“Lord,” I prayed, “if you’ll send me a helper, I’ll start a Sunday school in this town.”
Within a week a wonderful young Baptist lady moved to Thompson and we began a Sunday school in the school house. Before long, all 16 youngsters in town enrolled. On Easter, several adults came to watch my flannel graph stories about Jesus and hear us sing.
I kept selling little things to Christian publications. In short order I discovered money wasn’t a reasonable goal in freelance writing. Most things sold for about $3.50. But then I wrote a story for David C. Cook’s Leader magazine about my mother’s Sunday school teaching methods. When I opened the letter with the check, I thought, That’s nice. I wished she were still there to see it, but she passed when I was age 21.
My heart full on my way home from the Post Office, I decided to look at the check again. My eyes felt like grapes squeezed out of the skin.
“Thirty-five dollars!” I gasped. My husband made about $14 a day then working as a railroad telegrapher.
I sold my accordion, bought an electric typewriter, and enrolled in a course on writing for Christian publications. My teacher, Dorothy C. Haskins, who worked for World Vision, laid a good foundation for my Christian writing and also encouraged me to write for newspapers. I became a correspondent for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and wonder of wonders I found some news in Thompson.
The Sentinel sent me a handbook on how to recognize and write good news stories and I almost memorized it. When we moved from Thompson, I was hired by The Leadville Herald Democrat and when Les got bumped again, within a week I had a staff position on The Pueblo Chieftain. Pueblo was a city of about 100,000.
I took Dorothy’s advice on my writing, too, and continued to sell freelance.
I completed two writing courses, and a few English college courses. I stayed home nearly 20 years with our five children and continued free lancing. I earned my degree in mass communications before going back to work for The Chieftain. I worked there until I retired.
I’m blessed to be a writer and now I have stacks of notebooks filled with tear sheets from freelance writing, seven books, and The Chieftain’s files are full of the hundreds and hundreds of stories I wrote, and my name appears on the internet from my blog and all the guest blog posts I’ve done.
Novice writers would think my bank account bulges with money, but unless I could sell thousands of books, the only way I could make money writing was to get a real job. That’s what worked for me. That’s how I helped put our children through college.
I confess my first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, sold 7,000 copies before it went out of print, and paperbacks I have and the e-book still sells. The book sold for $1.25 at first, and I made 12 ½ cents royalty. Yet many people are still blessed by it and I’m thankful Gospel Publishing House published it.
But my purpose in writing is not only to make money. I believe many people need the encouragement, the teaching, the humor, the love of God revealed through my experiences, interviews in my freelance magazine articles and stories, and my books. It’s not that I’m somebody special, but my amazing Savior is.
Ada’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Why is @AdaBrownell a Christian author? #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
Visit with @AdaBrownell and see what influences helped her on the journey to publication. (Tweet This)
Like #ChristianFiction? Check out @AdaBrownell’s #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)
Ada Brownell’s latest novel is Peach Blossom Rancher. A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.
When she sat down to write the novel, she drew from her experiences growing up in Colorado’s Peach Country. But she also used some of what she learned about the mentally ill and their historical care on her job as a journalist for The Pueblo Chieftain. She covered the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum, for seven years,
Ada’s other books include Confessions of a Pentecostal, a story of her spiritual journey and listed by The Library Thing among the top-10 books on Pentecostalism.
After she lost a daughter to cancer, she wrote Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the eternal, a book of evidence that you’re more than a body. The book grew out of what the author learned on the medical beat and scripture.
Imagine the Future You: A book for youth or family Bible study,
Another is Facts, Faith & Propaganda, nonfiction to strengthen faith in God, written from the author’s wide studies and experience. Available only as an e-book and only 99 cents.
Joe the Dreamer a novel enjoyed by youth and adults. Joe’s parents are missing and an organization is trying to eliminate Christianity from America
The Lady Fugitive, the story of a young talented woman who runs from an abusive uncle. The Lady Fugitive is the sequel to Peach Blossom Rancher and the first in the Peaches and Dreams series.
Ada started writing for Christian publications in her teens and expanded from there. She still writes for Live and a youth devotional, Take Five-Plus, She also does op-eds for newspapers and online blogs and websites. She is retired from The Chieftain.
Her writing brand is “Stick-to-your-soul Encouragement.”
Places to connect with Ada:
On Sale on Amazon!
Print Edition $9.99
Ada and I look forward to your comments.