Once upon a time, a shy homeschooled teen in rural northwest New Mexico eagerly anticipated the arrival of the rural bookmobile each month. She devoured most of the books in their several shelves of Christian fiction, but her favorite series became the Red River of the North historical novels by Lauraine Snelling. She fell in love with the Bjorklund family and other characters and followed them through all the Blessing family saga that followed, till they seemed not fictional people on a page but real friends. Lauraine became one of her favorite authors.
Ten years or so after those bookmobile days, she arrived at her first writers conference, nervous and wide-eyed, in the process of writing her own first historical novel. Her nerves at the thought of meeting editors and agents paled compared to actually meeting Lauraine Snelling, whose mentoring group she would join for the first few days. But after the initial awe, she got to know this real, wise and warm lady who’d written so many beloved books, learned from her wisdom, and through Lauraine was even introduced to another wonderful lady who would eventually become her agent, Wendy Lawton. Both these women helped give this shy girl hope that perhaps she actually could do this thing called writing, and the critique circle formed through that mentoring group became her writing sisters and precious friends.
Fast forward another ten years, through many ups and downs of writing and learning (not to mention the plot twists of marriage, teaching, and a baby along the way!). Then, when at a crossroads job-wise, the Lord suddenly brought many years-long threads together. And that avid teenage reader, that wide-eyed newbie writer, was given an opportunity she never could have dreamed of…to actually write with Lauraine Snelling. To continue to learn under her while collaborating on a new series of historical fiction by this beloved author whose books and characters she had loved so long.
In case you hadn’t guessed, the girl in this story is me. And I have the privilege to share that in this past year, I’ve been given the joy and honor to come alongside bestselling author Lauraine Snelling, whose around-a-hundred novels are no doubt beloved by many of you already, and work with her on her newest set of historical fiction. Leah’s Garden is a delightful series focusing on the four Nielsen daughters as they journey to the Nebraska frontier just after the Civil War, forging a new life together while finding their own unique paths.
The first book, Seeds of Change, just released last week from Bethany House publishers! It’s available now wherever you like to buy books (see links below). We’d love if you would check it out, but most of all wanted to share this story of God’s faithfulness. Neither Lauraine nor I would have guessed how the Lord would intertwine our lives into this story over so many years, but we are so grateful that He did.
Here’s the back cover blurb for Seeds of Change:
Larkspur Nielsen is ready for change, frustrated by the small mindedness of her Ohio hometown and its lack of opportunity for her or her younger sisters. But the push to leave comes faster than she ever expected when several of her bold actions for justice earn her vindictive enemies. Overnight, they must pack up and ready to make a new life out West, hoping to escape notice and any opportunities for revenge.
Knowing that four women traveling together will draw unexpected attention, Larkspur dons a disguise, passing herself off as “Clark” Nielsen accompanying his three sisters. But maintaining the ruse is more difficult than Larkspur imagined, as if protecting her headstrong, starry-eyed sisters from difficult circumstances and available young men. Will reaching a safe place to call home ever be possible?
Buy Seeds of Change through any of these links!