I come from a long line of book lovers on both sides of my family. We are all quite skilled at losing ourselves in the pages of a book. In fact, having to shake someone to get their attention (versus talking to them) was a frequent occurrence growing up. My parents read lots of books aloud—everything from Roald Dahl to Gerald Durrell. At age five I read my first long book (A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett) and was hooked on reading from then on. Around the same time I began picking out my own stories on our old typewriter.
I continued to write and voraciously read from then on. My parents are avid sci-fi and fantasy readers so I cut my eyeteeth on Jack Vance, James Schmitz, C. S. Lewis, and the like. Our family’s New Year’s tradition was to listen to an unabridged version of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I still have my favorite books I rotate through. My year is not complete unless I’ve read Pride & Prejudice at least once. David Eddings, Stephen Lawhead, J. K. Rowling, and Georgette Heyer are also among my favorite authors.
I was raised in a Christian home. I grew up attending church and hearing the Bible preached on a weekly basis. However, it wasn’t until age fourteen that I put my faith in Jesus. I had a few years of outright rebellion prior to that timeframe, but God eventually broke down my resistance.
Then God led me to attend Moody Bible Institute. Once in school, I stopped writing fiction (not enough time). I began with a major in missions. Moody is structured so students are required to take a lot of Bible and theology classes. At the time I was deeply anti-theology. In my experience theology just created conflict. Theology can drive people apart but it doesn’t have to. And I learned that theology—putting together our thoughts and beliefs about God—is something everyone does. It doesn’t have to be an esoteric study used to beat people over the head. I had been fueling my relationship with God on passion (pretty normal for the early stages of any relationship). At Moody, thanks to Dr. David Finkbeiner and Dr. David Rim, I learned the importance of having a foundation of truth.
After taking a few missions classes and a few theology classes, I realized I had the wrong major. So, I switched to a double major in biblical languages and theology. My professors and fellow students began encouraging me to teach. I led a few study groups and fell in love with teaching. I love being part of the process of revelation. I love watching God change people’s hearts through understanding His truth, especially the Bible. I also learned the importance of knowing the original languages. I’ve always loved languages but taking Hermeneutics and Greek from Dr. Jon Laansma opened my eyes to all the amazing nuances English can’t translate. Additionally, taking literature from Dr. Rosalie de Rosset re-enforced my belief that literature is a powerful way to communicate truth.
I graduated from Moody, got married and had kids. All the while, we talked about going back to school so I could get a doctorate and teach theology/biblical languages at a college level. However, God has yet to lead us to a school. At one point, I started asking God if He had forgotten me . . . If I was ever going to be able to use my love of theology and teaching.
I talked with my church about teaching a Sunday school class, but was told I should wait until my children were a little older and I had a little more time (wise advice). At the time, I told God I was going to go stir crazy if I didn’t have a chance to do something. So, He gave me an idea for a book. I decided to try my hand at writing fiction again after an almost 10 year hiatus. I still didn’t have much time, but I worked on my book when I had a chance. I spent a year outlining it and figuring out background information. Then I began to have serious health issues which provided me with lots of time where I couldn’t do anything but sit. Around that time Tales from a Spacious Place fell in my lap. I put my other project on the back burner and spent more than two years working on Tales.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I’m excited to see where God takes us as we continue on this adventure with Him. I do plan to continue writing, as long as that’s on God’s to-do list for me.