People often wonder what got me into writing Inspirational fiction. The truth is, I didn’t start out writing inspirationals, but secular romance as early as 1994. Two years later, I flew to my first RWA Conference in Dallas, TX. I didn’t know a single soul and I didn’t care. I was determined. As a young 24 year old, I naively thought that was all I needed to succeed. That trip opened my eyes and taught me how little I knew about the publishing industry and the craft of writing. Instead of being overwhelmed, I became even more determined.
For the next 7 years, I wrote 3 more secular romance novels. My writing improved so I couldn’t understand why I’d been rejected so many times. I grew angry at God—that He wasn’t blessing my plans, goals and dreams. It was my goal to be published by the time I turned 30, but that birthday came and went to my bitter disappointment. One day while I was ranting and raving at the Lord, He quietly whispered to my heart that I wasn’t getting published because I wasn’t writing for Him. At the time, I didn’t feel qualified to write Christian fiction. I didn’t know enough, had too many questions, and the Bible was confusing to me. How in the world could insignificant me write Christian fiction?
That year some personal things happened in my life and I stopped writing for the next 3 years. We went through many hardships from financial ruin and loss to our daughter being born with a life threatening seizure disorder. It was during this time that God taught me a great deal to get through my circumstances.
The Lord whipped me into spiritual shape. I attended church more, prayed with hope more often, I read my Bible and suddenly it came alive to me and began to make sense. I’d always had a relationship with God, but this was deeper, tangible. I didn’t know it at the time, but God used these 3 years to train me to write Christian fiction—it would be a writing ministry that was God’s plan for me—something even better than I’d envisioned for myself.
When the desire to write came back in 2006, this time I knew I’d write Christian fiction. In 2007, two of my manuscripts placed in ACFW’s Genesis contest and I signed a contract with my literary agent, Terry Burns. On my birthday, October 30th, 2008, I got the call that Highland Blessings had sold to Abingdon Press. It was the best birthday gift God had ever given me. It didn’t happen before 30, but it did happen before I hit 40.
My new novel, Highland Sanctuary, is dedicated to my 14 year old daughter, Celina. She was born with a seizure disorder and the heroine in my book is Serena Boyd. Serena has similar seizures in a time in 1477 when people didn’t understand or tolerate such a disorder.
One of the take way messages that I hope Highland Sanctuary conveys to readers is that sometimes we look to other people and things to provide us security and sanctuary, such as jobs, spouses, parents, teachers, pastors, worship leaders, nice homes, pretty yards, vehicles with all the safety features, etc. Yet, we need to let go, stop worrying and just live—be free in Christ—He is in our hearts and everywhere we go and in everything we do. He IS our sanctuary.
In Highland Sanctuary, Serena and her mother believe her secret is safe as long as they’re able to hide Serena’s seizures from the rest of the world and they stay hidden in the sanctuary of the small Village of Outcasts where she’s accepted. Eventually, her secret is discovered and she’s no longer safe. Only the ultimate sacrifice will save her, much like the sacrifice Christ made for all of us.
LBOC wants to know, what message is God breathing into you? If you don’t know … ask.
Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings received a 4 1/2 star review from Romantic Times and won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, genealogy, and reading.