A commenter will win a copy of
A Most Precious Gift
A Most Precious Gift
Scroll down to see how.
Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Jacqueline to Let's Talk. This gal who writes southern stories from the heart has such a sweet story to tell. I asked Jacqueline: how has God led you on your writing journey? Here is what she said:
The One Who Never Gave Up On Me
We live in a world where aggression often seems the better choice toward getting ahead. Many times the word dormancy has a negative wintry tinge, painted as a distant cousin—if you will—to inertia, neglect, or just plain laziness. But I have come to believe that the dormant period of my writing was not only profitable but God-sent. For me, writing is not just a skill or a talent. It is a process enriched with the soil of years of observation. The longer I have lived, the more I’ve had the opportunity to learn, and the more I’ve learned, the better the chance for richer more meaningful writing.
Prior to my twenties, the very idea of writing as an art form or a profession was foreign to me. I had no concept of people actually writing for a living. As a child brought up under humble circumstances, I only remember a few Little Golden Books purchased from a dime store and a beautiful wondrous monster called a bookmobile that visited our little settlement every six weeks or so, giving me a jolt of pure delight that I remember even now. Little did I know that God was seeding a gift that would be long in blossoming but definitely worth the wait.
Then came that coveted chance to go to college and with it an introduction, albeit late, to the world and truths of well-crafted fiction. I was hooked. I majored in English, and the more I read, the more I felt, “I can do this. I want to do this.”
But then life happened. I married a wonderful man and had two children whom I adored then and still do. Much to my frustration, though, while I taught school and cooked and pushed toward whatever it is we all push toward in our twenties, thirties, and forties, the writer in me lay dormant. “Why couldn’t it come faster?” I often thought. “Why must I wait?” But somehow, even then I knew, buried beneath life’s routines, was a second self, a writer that was always very much alive—quietly collecting, shifting, absorbing. Wondering, understanding, growing. Though decades passed where I made no outwardly appreciable headway, God Himself never let me forget what He’d placed within me.
When I could find an hour or two, I tried children’s literature, poetry, even a little non-fiction, only to realize somewhere in my fifties that none of those genres was a fit for me. For me, it had always been about the story—a fictional place where I could freely mix and match life’s lessons and form them into a narrative that mirrored the ups and downs of not only my experiences but the trials and triumphs of others. By that time, I had read a number of classics, and while I appreciated all the prodigious talents throughout the ages that immeasurably enriched my life, I knew there were lines I could never comfortably allow my characters to cross.
Enter Christian fiction and, with it, the sense that I’d finally found a niche tailor made for what I wanted to write: a meaningful story that acknowledged the Lord Jesus as supreme. A wealth of past and present experiences—the joys and fears of child-rearing, the vicissitudes of church life, the struggles and hope as an African American during the Jim Crow era, and the triumphant emergence from life-threatening illnesses—sprang forth like a series of Aprils in bloom ready to be shared through characters I had known for a very long time.
Like many before me, I have a number of what I call “shelf” novels, but in 2014, I was blessed to see A Most Precious Gift, my first published novel, debuted by Mantle Rock Publishing. I am still amazed and so very grateful to the One who never gave up on me—the One who showed me that dormancy, like everything else He created, has its place.
Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock is a multi-published author whose works range from a memoir in Children of the Changing South, McFarland, 2012, to a short story published by Guideposts in 2014 to her debut novel, A Most Precious Gift, Mantle Rock Publishing, 2014. She is a member of ACFW as well as a local Christian writers groups, an avid reader, and a retired high school and college English teacher. She is the recipient of several writing awards including the Zora Neale Hurston-Bessie Head Fiction Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing in Chicago. She and her husband Donald have two adult children and one beloved granddaughter.
Jacqueline Loves to hear from you! Contact her at:
Dinah Devereaux, New Orleans-born slave and seamstress, suddenly finds herself relegated to a sweltering kitchen on the Natchez, Mississippi town estate of Riverwood. Having never cooked a day in her life, she is terrified of being found out and banished to the cotton fields as was her mother before her. But when she accidentally burns the freedom papers of Jonathan Mayfield, a handsome free man of color to whom she's attracted, her fear of the fields becomes secondary.
A gifted cabinetmaker, Jonathan Mayfield’s heart is set on finally becoming a respected businessman by outfitting a bedroom at the palatial Riverwood—until a beautiful new slave girl destroys his proof of freedom and his fragile confidence along with it.
When the mistress of Riverwood orders Dinah to work alongside the sullen Mr. Mayfield, sparks fly, setting the two on a collision course. Is their mutual love for God strong enough to overcome deep-seated insecurities and set the couple on a path toward self-acceptance and love for each other?
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Thank you, Jacqueline, for joining us this weekend!
We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.
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