In 1977 when my husband and I were home from South Africa for the summer, I took a fiction-writing class to complete my MA. My professor encouraged us to start outlining a novel from a newspaper article or an experience we’d had. I found myself imagining a forbidden romance between a black girl and a white boy in South Africa under Apartheid.
When I handed in my outline I told the professor I had posted over my ‘typewriter’, LORD YOU WRITE- I’LL TYPE. He chided me to listen to God’s guidance, but that I had to do the writing. I shouldn’t blame poor writing on God.
I had been picking up graduate classes here and there, even a few hours in Kenya , and at 51 years of age I walked down the aisle with one of my undergraduate sons and two future grand-daughters-in-law.
The Writing Years
Fast forward almost thirty years during which I had published ten books– about missions, the role of women in the Bible and the church, biographies. And yes, that classroom assignment became my first novel, The Soweto Legacy. ( Amazon Kindle.)
Then a friend challenged me, “Lorry you should write the story of Katharine Bushnell. Her life needs to be told.”
I wasn’t interested, but to please Mimi I began researching Bushnell, a medical doctor in the late nineteenth century. Bushnell was active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and accepted Frances Willard’s invitation to work on the streets of Chicago with “fallen women.” My research at the Metropolitan University in London unearthed hand-written and carbon copies of reports of girls bought or coerced into the military brothels of the British Army–but no personal letters, journals, or stories of Katharine Bushnell’s life. It would have been a dull biography at best. A helpful literary agent suggested I write her story as historical fiction..
As I was about to start writing, my husband, Al, was diagnosed with cancer during a frightening winter night in the ER. God please don’t take him. We started the many trips for chemo. Thank you that he’s staying strong and feeling well. We sold our home and moved into a retirement home. Praise God. But in 2008 he peacefully left to be with Jesus. Can I come too?
Is this God’s will?
When I finally started to write again, I became discouraged. I’d never tackled as big a project as this. I needed a publisher, but none was interested. One suggested I hire an editor to bring the manuscript up to their requirements. After a summer of rewriting, they turned me down. I was ready to give up.
One Sunday morning in December, 2013, I stayed in bed to do business with God. I needed an answer. Other responsibilities were challenging me in my community, yet I hesitated to take them on. God, do you want me to finish these books? Are they really as important as ministering to people here in the retirement community? I need clear guidance if I’m to go on.
That morning Andy Stanley spoke about Nehemiah who had rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall. Sanballat and his cronies called him down for a chat, but Nehemiah knew they were planning to harm him.
He responded, “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come down.”
God’s Word spoke to me. The “great work” was writing the story about His servant, Katharine Bushnell. I “can’t come down” to stop my work until it is completed. Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas accepted the manuscript. They published Daughters of Deliverance three years later And eight months after that–just five months before my 90th birthday—the sequel, The Queen’s Daughters saw the light.