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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The speech that will never be heard

Speech written for Rain Song at The Christy Awards in case Rain Song
wins the New Novel Category
(Rain Song is a 2009 Christy Award Finalist.)

Well, my first thought is: Surely, a mistake has been made. Quickly, I’ll add—that’s okay; I’ll accept it! Wow, what a huge honor this is for me.

When I see the cover of Rain Song (such a beautiful cover Bethany House has created!), I recall all the feelings I held on that journey to publication. I think relinquish is the word I tie the most closely to Rain Song. On Sunday mornings in church I was constantly begging God for someone to believe in my story and accept both the novel and me. Some Sundays I was weary of begging and just asked for strength to carry on with all that was happening in my life at the time—a bipolar husband who abandoned my three kids and me, my children’s tears, our lack of finances, and theft of cars and home three times in one month by a young man who later was televised nation-wide as a murderer. They do say that truth is stranger than fiction! I was also challenged to trust that in God’s timing, my manuscript, which I’d titled The Kimono Lady Sings, would be accepted. However, I’d been rejected by at least seven-hundred agents already; were there any left? I wrote, I edited, I changed the narrative from first person to third person and then back to first again. I read my favorite authors and felt inferior. Time and time again, I handed this novel over to God during worship services by forming a fist and then letting my fingers open to an empty palm.

Thanks for allowing me into the Published Club, Bethany House. I’ve wanted to be accepted ever since I wore red tights and could staple my stick-figured-illustrated stories together. And thank you for this Christy Award, one I will cherish for a lifetime. I also thank all my readers, my critics, my encouragers, my agent Kristin Lindstrom, the team at Bethany House, and my children. I reserve the loudest applause for my biggest fan—my new husband, Carl. Like Ducee and Iva in Rain Song, I can’t sing, but that won’t stop me from trying. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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