"...I’d done the right thing by sending it off and that somebody would be helped through the process."
Author Amy Sorrells tells an amazing story of how she started by writing a memoir and ended up getting a traditional publishing contract for her novel, Canary Song.
Writing to Heal
My novel is loosely based on the story of Tamar in Second Samuel who is raped by her brother. I took that story in the Bible, and I set it in modern day times, and I kind of explain. In the Bible, Tamar, it just says she went off and lived obscurity but I wanted to know, for my own heart and because of my own experiences of being a victim of molestation and incest, I wanted to know what happened to Tamar. And more than that, one in three women have been through what I’ve been through according to statistics, and I wanted other people to know what happened to Tamar too. I imagined what it would be like, because I know what it’s like to have to recover from something like that, so Comfort – the main character – has been through something similar to Tamar. It’s about how she finds hope and courage and life again after being so broken.
Women of Faith
I was at a Women of Faith conference with one of my friends and she handed me the program and she said, “Hey, look at this contest.” At the time, my novel was a memoir and I didn’t think that I could enter it. I decided after I made it into a novel that, next year, I would enter it into the contest. I didn’t really have any expectations; I wanted it to be read and I didn’t really care if I won. If even one judge was impacted by it, then that’s great. It was kind of a funny feeling too; I felt kind of a freedom after I hit the send key. Just a freedom in knowing that I’d done the right thing by sending it off and that somebody would be helped through the process.
My first reaction when I won the contest was disbelief and … I freaked out. I’m a nurse and I was working on the pediatric unit and I was trying to maintain my composure – I still had six hours of workday left – so when the phone call came I was shocked and thrilled.
David C. Cook
A couple weeks later I found out that David C. Cook wanted to sign me for a traditional contract, and so I think that the WestBow and the Women of Faith contest really gave, just, it did what I wanted it to do – it got my book into the hands of people who read it. I think it gave my novel the impetus – just the needed oomph of credibility – to let publishing houses take notice of it. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Advice for Future Authors
My advice to new authors who are writing their own book would be to keep at it. Don’t give up. Winston Churchill is always quoted by writers because he said, “Never, never, never give up.” That is the truth. If you want to be published, don’t give up.