The “glamorous” writing life is usually very mundane—spending long hours alone in my office staring at a computer screen. Even when I’m not in my office, I continue to fret over my plot and characters, trying to dream up fresh ideas and themes and ways to tell readers about God’s love. It’s hard work and I enjoy it, but I seldom receive feedback for my daily labor. And the long-term results are often invisible and intangible.
But for the past week, God has graciously allowed me to see and savor some of the fruit of my writing. I’ve just returned home from a tour in the Netherlands to promote my new non-fiction book “Pilgrimage; My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked.” I traveled to ten bookstores in cities all across Holland to share my personal story about a time of spiritual dryness in my life and how I found renewal on a pilgrimage to Israel. I met so many women who could identify with my story, and who longed for renewed closeness with God. And I was blessed to discover that my book offered them hope.
My busy schedule included interviews with a newspaper, a women’s magazine, and a Christian TV program. But what blessed me the most was the warm reception I received from readers of all ages. They told of the many hours of enjoyment they’ve had reading my books; how the books have taken them to other times and places; and how they’ve learned about God and themselves from reading them. Several people had tears in their eyes as they told me how my stories changed their lives.
I’m sure I had a look of stunned surprise on my face as I signed books and talked with readers in each beautiful Dutch city. It never occurred to me when I began writing 30 years ago that my books would be translated into other languages and enjoyed by readers in such diverse places as Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, Germany, and the Netherlands. But God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Now, after a long trans-Atlantic flight through seven time zones, I’m back at my desk, alone with my computer once again. No more lovely meals and gracious welcomes and thankful readers. I’ve returned to a snowy Chicago winter after enjoying springtime in the Netherlands with green grass and blooming daffodils and crocuses. But what an encouragement to know that my labor in the Lord has not been in vain! I’ve been reminded once again that God has given me this gift of words so I can share His love and grace with readers all around the world.
I know we’ll receive a reward in heaven someday for the work we’ve done here on earth, but this week I’ve already had a taste of that reward. So, to all my new friends in the Netherlands, thank you for blessing me beyond measure.
I’m thrilled to announce that I will be doing a book tour in the Netherlands this March 3-8, 2014
De Angelot, Werkendam
Den Hertog, Nijkerk
De Rank, Kampen
For more info please visit: http://www.kok.nl/artikelen/Auteursbezoek-Lynn-Austin-maart-2014/
Come visit me in my Garden! http://novelgarden.blogspot.com/2007/08/lynn-austin.html
Come hear the Story behind my newest book, “Return to Me”
Don’t forget to visit Author Buzz for a chance to WIN one of five signed copies of RETURN TO ME!
Travel back in time with me to the Old Testament! Grab your copy of “Return to Me” and join me for an author chat party on October 22nd at 8:00 PM EDT (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)!
Click JOIN to RSVP and then come back to this page on the 22nc (I’ll send you a reminder!) and follow the link to the party page.
During the party I’ll be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, and announcing the winner from the Kindle Fire giveaway (enter here: http://bit.ly/15NM3G3), and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways, too: books, gift certificates, and more!
Know somebody who loves to read or loves biblical history? Bring your friends! Just share the link to this page or click INVITE FRIENDS.
I ALMOST FORGOT!! I’ll also be giving you an exclusive look at the next book in the series!
To see what others are saying about “Return to Me,” visit the blog tour: (http://litfusegroup.com/
What better way to spend a few hours than to gather with a group of friends who love to read, and talk about books? I belong to a book club that meets at my church, but as an author I often get invited to area book clubs when they read and discuss my novels. If I have time and it isn’t too far, I love to go.
I’ve been to neighborhood clubs, clubs that meet in churches, in libraries, in schools, and in seniors’ centers. Big clubs and small clubs and everything in between. In July, I returned to my home town in New York State for a family reunion and visited with the book club that met in the library where my mother used to work. We discussed my book, Candle in the Darkness.
Last Monday evening I “met” with a book club in Wisconsin via telephone as they got together. I wish I could have been there in person but it was an enjoyable evening for me, just the same.
Last Wednesday, I drove to the library in Yorkville, Illinois to meet with “The Lunch Bunch” and members of two other book clubs that meet regularly at the library—along with some of their friends and neighbors who love to read. What a wonderful group of ladies!
I like to ask each club which books they’ve read this year—which ones they loved and which ones they didn’t. And why. Then I go home and read some of their favorites. I’m keeping track of my own picks on Good Reads. And my publisher, Bethany House, has a wonderful program for book clubs called An Open Book. Stop by their website and sign up for free and you’ll get to hear about some great, new books.
Writing is a solitary job, sitting alone all day with no one to talk to but my fictional friends. When I finally type “the end” and send the manuscript away, I often wish I could visit all the places that the finished book goes, and watch my readers’ reactions when they finish reading. Sometimes I feel like a chef in a bakery, creating and decorating beautiful cakes that will be enjoyed at weddings and birthday parties—but never getting to join in the celebrations.
Unless I’m invited to a book club. Ah, then we all get to taste the cake—I mean, book—together. I know that not all of my readers feel the same way about each of my books, just as some cake enthusiasts like chocolate and others don’t; some like buttercream frosting, others whipped cream. But that seldom matters to me. It’s celebrating together that makes it fun. “The Sister Circle” book club of North Providence, RI, made this delicious-looking cake to celebrate their tenth anniversary–and their novel for that evening was All Things New.
Which reminds me… that’s another thing I love about getting together with area book clubs–the food! I never go away hungry. This is the lunch that the Yorkville book clubs shared with me. I couldn’t resist going back for seconds.
One creative club I visited tried to match the evening’s snacks to the book they were discussing that night. This group also kept a scrapbook with pictures of all their meetings along with items to remind them of each book—a ration card for a story about WWII, for example.
Later, when I return to my solitary writing life (a few pounds heavier), I often think of the wonderful people I’ve met with and laughed with at book clubs. And it makes it a little easier to sit alone and write, knowing that there are some very delightful ladies out there who love to read and are waiting to see what I write next. I think about their comments—what they like about a good book and what makes them want to toss a book across the room. And I remember some of the stories they’ve told me about their own lives, which give me ideas to use for my novels. (Warning: don’t ever tell me a story unless you don’t mind it showing up in a book!)
The Sister Circle Book Club
So enjoy your next book club meeting and think of me. And I promise I’ll keep writing if you’ll keep reading.
If you belong to a book club, what was your group’s favorite book this year?