Today, I welcome Janet Grunst, another Jubilee Writer whose journey to publication was as long and full of life’s unexpected twists as my own. It’s a delight to have her join me today.
Share your journey with us.
In the early 80’s I wrote human interest columns for two local newspapers which got me interested in the vocation of writing. But I had a story that was germinating in my head and wondered if I could try my hand at writing stories.
I began reading books, writing fiction and asked God if that was the call I sensed He was giving me. With two very active preschool sons at home I needed to know it was His will and that He would make a way.
The Lord’s confirmation came through loud and strong and over the next year He provided the time for me to study the craft and research the historical era of the story. I’m certain He helped me weave the tale. Then I studied how to market a manuscript to Christian publishers in an era when one didn’t need an agent. I submitted it unsuccessfully for several years.
I had to put the writing and searching for a publisher pursuit aside when life necessitated my getting full time employment to raise my sons on my own.
Many years passed, my children were grown, and my circumstances changed, including re-marriage. My husband read the story I’d written so many years before and encouraged me to once again try to get it published and continue to write.
So much had changed in the writing and publishing world in the intervening years. Lots of studying and editing ensued. I needed and found an agent who saw promise in the story and wanted to represent me. The advent of e-books, the need to have a platform, an online presence via blogging, websites, and social media required a lot of research, studying and developing a multitude of new skills.
Tell my readers, about your latest published project.
That original story, written so many years ago, was my debut novel published in December of 2016 ~ A Heart Set Free. I’m humbled and thrilled that it just won the Selah Award for Historical Romance in May.
What kind of research did you do for A Heart Set Free?
When I started the story, it was in the era before the internet so I did a lot of research through libraries and reading everything I could get my hands on. I also visited an actual 18th century farm that was still operational not too many miles from my home. Since then, most of my research is via the internet or books.
Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?
There are so many I love. Probably John 1:12 holds the most meaning. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” This verse truly spoke to me when my faith in Christ changed from believing in Him to also receiving Him and allowing Him to be Lord of my life. My faith traveled those critical 18 inches from my head to my heart.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?
I would tell myself to not fear writing because I couldn’t make a living at it. Do it as an avocation and see where it takes you.
Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?
My husband, Ken, is such an encourager and will read anything I write. He is a luthier (builds guitars) so he understands that pursuing one’s vocation often means many hours of isolation on a regular basis.
What is your favorite genre to read for fun?
Historical fiction. 😊But I also enjoy biographies, devotionals, and other fiction as well as non-fiction.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Here’s the back-cover blurb for A Heart Set Free
In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.
Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?
When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.
It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . .
and love will finally set her heart free.
Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight. She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, and bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz, Hartline Literary Agency
Connect with Janet Grunst:
Order A Heart Set Free at the link below
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