Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why I Write

Growing up in Alaska in the Fifties and Sixties, where my family served as missionaries from 1917 to 1982, my constant companion was Christian fiction. My great aunt published nine inspirational novels under the pen name, Zenobia Bird, and I began to dream of writing my own novels. In high school I was the editor-in-chief of our school newspaper, and in college I took a creative writing course. Alaska is frequently the setting for my stories.

While my husband was in seminary, I worked as an editorial assistant at Gospel Publishing House, where I began writing freelance articles and short stories which were published in EPA award-winning magazines such as The Pentecostal Evangel, Youth Alive, and Woman's Touch, as well as church school curriculum on assignment. When we planted a new church in Upstate New York, I continued this writing ministry for the next 25 years. My short strories and articles number in the hundreds, and curriculum I wrote is used worldwide. In addition, for four years my devotionals appeared daily on The Sound of Life radio network's website.

Grandma Personeus was a storyteller and kept everyone entranced with the accounts of their early days in Alaska. Many people who knew my grandparents and had come to Christ under their ministry kept asking me to write their story. In 2003, AuthorHouse (then First Books), a print-on-demand publisher, produced Frontiers of Faith, my non-fiction account of the adventures of Charles and Florence Personeus, who served as pioneer missionaries in Alaska for 65 years. The book is available through my website,, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.

As I researched the Personeuses' story, I came across several incidents that triggered my imagination. These have become the basis for my Alaskan Waters series of inspirational novels for adults. The first, Till the Storm Passes By, is completed; the second, A Star to Steer By, is nearing completion; and the third is titled, Beside Still Waters. These are stories of forgiveness and redemption, God's love and human love--important themes I have experienced in my life and desire to share with others through my stories. I am in the process of seeking a publisher for these titles. A brief description of each follows.

A heart full of unforgiveness has no room for love. In Till the Storm Passes By, a recurring nightmare and a deathbed confession drive Evie Parker, a Rhode Island schoolteacher, to seek answers in Southeast Alaska in 1953, where she makes a heart-rending discovery. Can Evie come through storms both physical and spiritual to open her heart to love through forgiveness?

Everyone needs A Star to Steer By. Tales of the booming fishing industry in faraway Alaska in 1920 lure Norman Pedersen, a teenaged Norwegian fisherman, to immigrate to America, leaving behind his fiancee, Kristina Michelsen, who promises to remain faithful. Norman thinks of Kristina as his "star," but can she save him from himself and the beautiful, but conniving Cecilia? Only God can.

In Beside Still Waters, Violet Channing, orphaned at a young age, is tossed about by the turbulent waters of life when the aunt who raised her dies. Living in a Boston tenement in 1915, barely able to survive, Violet accepts a job teaching a sick child in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Just when her life seems to be as beautiful as her new surroundings, tragedy strikes when the Princess Sophia sinks in a blinding blizzard near the entrance to Alaska's Lynn Canal. Can Violet overcome her losses and learn how to love again as she cares for orphans of a deadly flu epidemic in Juneau, Alaska?