For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The plans of the Lord are perfect. Aren’t you thankful? We’re chatting today with Christy Brunke, an author who has experienced God’s perfect planning in numerous ways, not the least of which is the publication of her debut novel, Snow Out of Season.
Gather ’round. And thank you for joining our circle.
Hi, Christy! Thank you for participating in today’s author chat.
You were at the Writer to Writer conference when the Jerry Jenkins’s 2014 Operation First Novel award winners were announced. How did you feel when you heard your name called for 3rd place? With whom did you first share the news?
Winning Operation First Novel had long been a dream of mine. However, my second daughter was born three months before the deadline for the 2014 contest, so I wasn’t able to hone my manuscript as much as I would’ve liked before submitting it.
When I discovered I was a semifinalist, I was thrilled. With tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I shared the news with my husband, parents, and mother-in-law.
Then I learned the winners would be announced in January at the conference in Hershey, PA. I assumed I couldn’t go, because I was still nursing my daughter, but my aunt and grandmom graciously offered to go with me to help care for her.
Part of me assumed I wouldn’t make the top three because I knew my novel needed more editing. But part of me had a hunch I’d win third place.
When Jerry called my name, I was delighted Snow Out of Season would finally be published, but a little disappointed it would only be available in Nook, Kindle, and other eBook formats—the reward for winning third.
I first shared the news with my aunt, who was waiting out in the hall. Then my husband, Mark, called, eager to hear the results. Over the next couple of months, Mark and I thanked God for this dream come true and prayed we’d also see my book in print.
In March, Jerry announced Mountainview Books would be publishing our winning entries. On April Fool’s Day, Mountainview Books announced they’d print mine in paperback as well. But they weren’t joking. ☺ The Lord was paving the way for this book, making the crooked straight and the rough ways smooth.
That spring, in-between moving, buying and selling a house, and starting ministry at a new church, I honed my story and then worked with Mountainview’s Carol Kurtz Darlington to improve, tighten, and polish it even more. Then my manuscript was off to the copyeditors and typesetters.
In October, bestselling authors endorsed Snow Out of Season. In November, Library Journal gave it a starred review and named it their Christian Fiction Debut of the Month.
Words can’t express the feeling of finally holding my published book, the result of six years of prayer, perseverance, and birth pains. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does with it next.
Please tell us the gist of your award-winning novel, Snow Out of Season.
Two pregnant women, separated by time, each face a decision that may alter both the future and the past forever. (Tweet that!)
From where did your idea come?
As a teen and young adult, I longed for a God-scripted love story and devoured books like Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot and When Dreams Come True by Eric & Leslie Ludy. Realizing my Creator knew me better than anyone, and knew every man as well, I asked Him to choose my husband.
And He did. Mark complements me perfectly and has been an incredible blessing not only to me, but to so many others.
However, when my mother-in-law was pregnant with him, her circumstances would’ve led many women to have an abortion. I started wondering what my life would’ve been like if she’d made a different choice.
From thence sprang Snow Out of Season, the dual stories of two women of two generations who struggle with the same problem: Is the child each carries worthy of life? What will it cost to keep the child? What will happen if each decides not to?
Brandy Vallance, Operation First Novel award-winning author of The Covered Deep, described her impressions in part by saying, “Once in a while you have a moment with a friend that feels like a gift. Maybe over a cup of coffee, or at a kitchen table, you get to see their true heart and the deep questions that are weighing them down. Snow Out of Season felt like such a moment for me.”
Can you tell us about the “deep questions” Vallance is referring to?
My heart goes out to women facing crisis pregnancies and their unborn babies—each a unique person—whose lives hang in the balance. (Tweet that!)
On your website you tell about moving to China to study Mandarin and teach at a university. From where did that dream arise?
Some people have imagined traveling to the Far East since they were little, but I never had that desire until college. At a Christian retreat, students who had ministered in Asia, England, and the U.S. shared their experiences and invited us to apply to go the following summer.
I had my summer planned but committed to take an application home and pray about it. As soon as I did, I knew the Lord wanted me to go, and China was where He was calling me.
After I served on two short-term trips, He led me to live there for two years and then lead four short-term teams back. My overseas adventures could fill a book of their own and have inspired several ideas for future novels set in the Orient.
In addition to being a novelist, pastor’s wife, and mother of two, you write articles for PregnancyHelpNews.com and TubmanCityNews.com. What kinds of topics do you cover?
Adoption stories and news about pro-life events and pregnancy help organizations.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, Christy. Where can readers learn more about you and your women’s fiction?
Parents, fiction fans, and aspiring authors can sign up for my monthly newsletter and find my blogs, bio, and a synopsis of Snow Out of Season at ChristyBrunke.com. They can also connect with me on Twitter using @christybrunke and at Facebook.com/Christy.Brunke/.
Dear Lord, we praise You for Your wisdom and love toward us. Thank you for devising perfect plans for Your children. Teach us to trust Your perfection, even into the hard, dark places where we cannot see Your hand. Raise us up when we are broken and set our feet on the solid ground of faith. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.