Friday, March 1, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature-Kelly Irvin

Today I welcome someone who has stumbled over bumps in the road 
and through it all became a great author. 
One whom I count a wonderful friendKelly Irvin. 

Enter to win an autographed copy of
Kelly Irvin's book: 

In one of the up-coming book publication notices, I read Kelly was about to have a new release. Always excited to make a new friend, and hopeful she would have time in her schedule to chat. I'm not sure if she really had time in her busy schedule, but she made time to meet me. How sweet! She graciously chatted, and we became friends right away. I am truly the blessed one.

During the conversation I asked her how God led her on her writing journey. This is her awesome answer:

Walking With God on my Path to Publication

I’ve written fiction most of my life, but as a teen-ager I decided to become a newspaper journalist because I came from a working class family and I had a good understanding of how important it was to be able to support myself.

I pursued a degree in journalism, worked as a reporter, and eventually made the move to public relations. I found the love of my life, we married, and had two children together. All the while, I kept yearning to write the stories banging around in my head, trying to get out. Ten years ago I celebrated my forty-fifth birthday and it hit me: time is running out. It’s now or never.

Way to go, Kelly. What an inspiration!

In a serendipitous (read God-thing) moment I ran across a book from Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series in the public library and checked it out. Until that time I didn’t know inspirational fiction existed. I thought I can do this. I want to do this. So I did.

Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss. I had no idea how hard it was to get published—secular or inspirational. I blithely wrote a romantic suspense novel, then another, and another. I attended workshops, joined ACFW, joined a critique group, pitched editors at conferences, and submitted proposals. Time passed. Rejections piled up. One editor for a major Christian publishing house wrote: “We only publish extraordinary writing. Yours does not rise to that level.” I cried buckets, but I kept writing.

Oh how sad, Kelly. Yet I think most of us have heard the same words. So what happened?

Kelly and her daughter, Erin, making cookies, YUM!
After three years I signed with The Seymour Literary Agency. I kept writing. I kept receiving rejections. I battled fatigue as I worked full time in public relations and raised my middle-school age children and tried to find time for my husband. I wanted to give up. Without the support of my family and my local chapter of ACFW, I would have given up.

After more rejections in the inspirational arena than I care to remember, I considered switching to secular fiction. I could write “edgier” romantic suspense with more grit, more graphic violence, more “romance.” One Sunday I sat in the pew at my church and I prayed. I asked God to give me a sign. I told him I was tired and I couldn’t go on. I couldn’t be PR professional, mother, wife, and novelist. I asked Him to tell me if I should try to sell the secular novel I’d written. Should I switch to mainstream fiction or give up altogether? I needed a sign.

Three days later I got the call from my agent Mary Sue Seymour saying Five Star Gale wanted to publish my inspirational romantic suspense novel, A Deadly Wilderness. Five Star is a mainstream publishing house that publishes library quality hardbacks with libraries as their niche market. They include inspirational fiction in their line. My book would be in libraries across the county.

Kelly, what an honor!

This was especially gratifying for me because as a kid I practically lived in my hometown’s only library. I couldn’t afford to buy books. The library opened up the entire world for me. The circle had been completed. After seven years of rejections, my first inspirational novel was published in 2010. I had my answer. God didn’t plop a contract with a major inspirational publishing house in my lap, but He did answer my prayer.

I kept going. Five Star published a second romantic suspense novel, No Child of Mine. When Mary Sue suggested I step outside my comfort zone and try writing an Amish romance, I did it. Before I finished writing To Love and to Cherish, Kim Moore from Harvest House offered me a contract for it.

The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve contracted with Harvest House for a total of six Amish romances, including the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes my latest release, Love’s Journey Home, and my upcoming series, New Hope Amish. The response from readers has been overwhelming. I’m constantly reminded of God’s grace and his blessings. It’s been ten years since I started this writing journey and He has blessed me every step of the way. He’s taught me to never give up on my dreams and to first seek his will for my writing.

After all, it belongs to Him.

Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes To Love and To Cherish,  A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, which released February 1. 2013. She recently signed with Harvest House Publishing for a three-book spin-off series entitled the New Hope Amish.

Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. For more than nineteen years, she has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-four years, and they have two young adult children. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.

To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Kelly Irvin's book, leave a comment and become a follower of this site if you aren't already. Include email address in your comment. U.S. residents only. Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Kelly Invin for Joining us This Weekend!

Reader, Kelly has shared how God has walked with her through hoards of rejections. Even with a late start, and many of us can Amen to a late start, God answered her prayer and showed her the time would be valuable. Is there something you feel it's too late to start doing? What is hidden your heart that you would really like to do? Hopefully Kelly has inspired you to step out and give it a go. :) 


Heather Marsten said...

Dear Kelly, thank you for your inspiring post. When I was a non-believer I read the O'Malley series - couldn't accept the Christian part but was intrigued. Francine Rivers was my next choice. I was seeking God, and finally found a church and a pastor who showed me the love of God and helped me sort out a lot of incredible pain. My reading of the above books has changed and now I like the Christian stuff :). I'm glad you're writing inspirational fiction, that you didn't compromise your principles. I'm glad God honored your prayer.

I'm working on a memoir that is far more edgy, probably too graphic for the Christian shelves, but I hope that my target audience, nonbelievers who were abused or ventured into the occult, will read it and find out that the only path to real healing is God.

God bless you and thank you for writing these books. I pray that those who read them, if they don't have a relationship with God, will find comfort in learning how God can help in times of need.

HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

Mary Vee Writer said...

You are such a blessing. Walking the road you have and blessing God is the example we all need to see. Thanks so much for sharing. Once again, we see the power of Christian fiction on lives. What a ministry.

Unknown said...

Thank You for the great review. You are a blessing to everyone. You reach out and touch and are very possitive
Thanks for sharing
Kathy Milburn

Diana Montgomery said...

I love Kelly's books they have good Christian values that is hard to find in books. I appreciate her writing, I see a lot of books out there suppose to be Christan but get reading them and the foul and awful stuff in them. I am so happy Kelly has good values. I can open her book to know I'm gonna get a great clean book. Thanks for the great interview and review. Thanks for the giveaway also.
Diana Montgomery

Mary Vee Writer said...

You have read Kelly' books! And what a great comment on her work. To know ahead of time that the book about to be opened with contain a great clean story is honorable. Thanks for letting us know. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Welcome Kathy,
So nice to have you join us for Kelly's chat. She will be delighted to read your encouragement.

Mary Ellen said...

Wonderful review of Kelly's book. I have read several of her works and enjoy them very much -- always hold my interest -- very entertaining -- Christian values -- lovely characters. I would love to win a copy of this book. Please accept my entry. Thank you.

Wendy Newcomb said...

I love Kelly's books and would love to win this one. Thank you for the chance to win it.

I follow by GFC (wfnren) and by email.


Donna H said...

I truly enjoyed this chat with Kelly.... learned so much more about her... and I'm really glad I found your blog Mary!!!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Welcome back Wendy.
So nice to see you today!
It's been wonderful to chat with those who have read Kelly's books. I hope you win too :) will be choosing for us.

Mary Vee Writer said...

So nice to have you with us today. Kelly has an inspirational story, I agree.
I hope to see you again:)

Anonymous said...

Oh Mary, I would love to have this book of Kelly's. Please put my name in for the drawing. Thanks! I am a follower of this site! MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hu, Maxie!
Good to see you. You've become quite a good friend. I love having you join our chats. Yes, you definitely are in the drawing:)

Kelly Irvin said...

It's amazing to see God's work through Christian fiction. I'm so glad to know you are continuing on your walk with Him. Your prayers are a blessing. Bless you!

Kelly Irvin said...

Thanks for your kind words, Diana! I love hearing that readers are enjoying these books. They are a joy to write!

Shopgirl said...

This looks like a great series! I'm an email follower. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thank you, Veronica. Nice to have you back today:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary for having Kelly for an interview. She lives only about 2 or 3 hours from where I live. I would love to have this book of hers. Thanks for this chance to win it. I don't really have an answer for the question. Sorry! I wish I had been able to finish school after getting married, but wasn't possible after getting married and getting pregnant, and having to move far away from my folks because of asthma, and then couldn't afford to pay a sitter, and only had one car. Now, I can't remember good enough at my age, 77 to learn the things I would have to take. But, my goal was to have a family and be a good mom, daughter, sister, and friend. Think I accomplished that. I am a follower of this site. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Mary Vee Writer said...

I always welcome your comments. I only wish I could accomplish as much as you. You are an example to us and a tool used by God:)

squiresj said...

I turned to reviewing books as I was entering contests to win them. It has turned into a ministry. I started it to give back to the authors. Then I also share the books with others to help them get to know new and great authors God is using. jrs362 at hotmail dot com