Everyone’s Story welcomes Christian historical author Janet S. Grunst. Janet and I share the same fabulous agent, Linda S. Glaz, and we had the pleasure of meeting for the first–but hopefully not last–time in Nashville at the ACFW conference last summer. Must share: Janet’s a sweetheart and I hope you’ll enjoy her time with us this week. Please check out what Janet speaks up about, her lovely BookGiveaway of her debut novel, A Heart Set Free (which is receiving wonderful reviews!), and the blurb for the book. Janet and I look forward to chatting with you.
**I think ALL of my guests are special, but please join us next week when I host a “Surprise” guest that I’m honored and excited about appearing on Everyone’s Story!
Janet is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter the choice for a print or eBook edition of A Heart Set Free, with print only available to US winners. The winner will be announced here on Friday, March 10th between 5-6 PM EST.
** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.
Back cover blurb for A Heart Set Free:
In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.
Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?
When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.
It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . .
and love will finally set her heart free.
A Long Journey by Janet Grunst
I was delighted when Elaine offered to feature my debut novel A Heart Set Free. She has a heart to encourage readers and writers as they pursue their interests. So my story of slogging through the writing and publication process should give anyone hope as they pursue their dreams.
I wasn’t one who had aspirations of writing from an early age. In fact I probably was subconsciously steered away from it. It must have been around 1960, when my older sister brought a beau home from college whose plan was to become a writer. My father said, “that’s nice, but what are you going to do for a living?” Dad was an engineer, and while an avid reader, he didn’t consider “the arts” a profession.
It was only after I had entered a Redbook writing contest in the early 80’s that I thought seriously about writing. I lost the contest but discovered the joy I found in telling a true story of a very embarrassing experienced I’d had years earlier. In the next few years I had regular columns in two local newspapers, which was a terrific learning experience. But it wasn’t the same as telling a story.
So in the early 80’s I asked the Lord if writing fiction was the call I sensed He was giving me, a different way to share my faith. My husband was supportive, but with two very active preschool sons at home was it the right time? I lifted it up in prayer because I knew it would only come about if it was His will.
The Lord’s confirmation came through loud and strong and over the next year He provided the time for me to study fiction writing and research the era I wanted to write about. I even believe He helped me weave the tale. After completing the story I studied how to market a manuscript to Christian publishers in an era when one didn’t need an agent. I submitted it unsuccessfully for two years.
That, and the sequel I’d begun, was put aside when life necessitated my getting full time employment to raise my sons on my own.
Many years passed, my children were grown, and my circumstances changed, including re-marriage. Was it time to pursue that long dormant dream of writing fiction? I still had a desire to share stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith that would entertain, as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader. But so much had changed in the writing and publishing world in the intervening years. I needed to adapt my manuscript to the current way publishers wanted stories written. Lots of studying and editing ensued. The advent of e-books, the need to have a platform, an online presence via blogging, websites, and social media required a lot of research, studying and developing a multitude of new skills. I also needed an agent who saw promise in the story and wanted to represent me. With the closure of so many bookstores, including Christian bookstores and diminished opportunities in the Christian fiction market meant it was going to be even more challenging for a non-published writer to get that first book out.
I had always held my writing with an open hand. If I did my part and it was the Lord’s will, the story would find its way out into the world. Listening to and learning from others far more experienced than me was essential and so helpful. I found a wonderful agent, Linda Glaz, who patiently taught and encouraged me and continued to try to find a home for my story. And when the time was right, she found a publishing house, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas that was willing to take a chance on my thirty-one year old story. That process and more editing has also been an education. My millennial, A Heart Set Free, finally made its way out of the proverbial basement and into the world on December 2nd, 2016.
Do you have an avocation that’s itching to be fulfilled? It’s never too late to pursue your dream. Give it to the Lord one day at a time.
Janet’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Meet debut #ChristFic historical author @JanetGrunst, author of A Heart Set Free #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
Author @JanetGrunst Speaks Up: The Long but worthwhile journey to publication. (Tweet This)
#Readers #Writers: Do you think it’s too late to pursue your dream? @JanetGrunst thinks otherwise! (Tweet This)
Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight. She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband and West Highland White Terrier. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, and bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.
Places to connect with Janet:
Janet and I look forward to your comments.
I’m honored that my novel Always With You
is up for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
Please consider voting at this link.