How Sister Jane, The Book, Was Born


A book begins like a babyWhich way is the best way to write and publish a book? How many versions of a book are started and cast aside? And why write a book instead of a short story or a magazine article or a blog post? These are just three of many questions that writers and wannabe writers face as we look at the blank screen. 

We read memoirs and articles about writers - we want to be inspired. We attend conferences and subscribe to writer's magazines - we want to be encouraged. We talk about writing, a lot! 

But, in the end, the writing requires one thing first: to write. It's a bit like prayer. No one can do it for us. And we can't just learn about it. We have to do it. Practice. Try and try again. 

I didn't think that Sister Jane would be my first novel. I had another one done, but early readers kept saying, "It's good. Really. But long. Really." I had no idea how to make it shorter. I then got on the NaNoWriMo wagon (National Novel Writing Month) and wrote 50,000 words in a month by the seat of my pants. I discovered, later, that there's a label for me: a "pantser." But I also learned, as fun as it was to write that way, my story went down tons of rabbit holes. 

And then, I got this idea from one of those simple "What if" exercises that I found in a "You Too Can Write a Book" books. What if a person really could pray for people and be successful all the time? Coming from a Christian tradition, I have read about this Jesus who healed. And there are churches (which I attended for a number of years), that practice the "gift" of healing. But true miracles are still rare. In some churches, it's because the sick person does not have enough faith. In other churches, it's because God is saying, "not yet," or "maybe later," or "just trust." Whatever. But, again, what if God worked through someone unflinchingly and consistently? What happens next? It turns out, a lot of things can happen. 

In this way, Sister Jane was born.