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An Open Letter from Courtney

The Stories Behind the Story

SoulSaverHello again, dear friends. First, I want to give a big hug and shout out to Lynn for letting me monopolize the blog this week to share this story with you. She rocks!

Second, I want to thank you again for sharing this with me. It’s the culmination of a dream that started in 2009 and the SUM community is a very important part of it. I’m so excited to share some additional tid bits about the birth and progression of this story with you.

How The Soul Saver turned out to be almost prophetic in my life.
When I started writing the story in 2009, it was just a glimmer in my heart and mind. I knew the basics. I knew Lexie was a believer. I knew her husband, Hugh, was an atheist and a physics professor at Stanford University. And I knew they’d lost a child to a brain tumor.

With a short synopsis and the first few chapters in hand,I went to a writers conference that September to pitch the story to some editors and see what kind of reaction I would get. I left this conference without any doubts that I was to write it. Not because of anything said by an editor, but because God made it clear that was His plan.

Here’s where it gets a little “strange.” About two weeks after I got home, we found out my youngest daughter had a malignant brain tumor. We were sent to Lucille Packard (love the folks there!) for her surgeries. Her radiation treatments were to be done at Stanford Hospital, which is attached to Lucille Packard AND Stanford University.

Because of where the tumor was, Leslie’s radiation treatments had to be designed so as to treat the area and not bombard the rest of her brain and eyes. This treatment was carefully designed by a physics professor at Stanford University.

God-bumps anyone?

And all the weeks we were driving back and forth to the hospitals became my research for the book. Can you believe it?

What made me nearly give up on Lexie’s story.
Being a writer isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, and you get a lot of rejections. In the fall of 2010, I was so hopeful that we (my agent and I) had found a home for Lexie’s story. I believed that The Soul Saver and Winning Him Without Words were a perfect match, like Fireproof and the Love Dare. (I wished our publisher of Winning Him handled fiction, but alas they don’t. Regal and our precious editor there, Kim Bangs, have been our greatest champions in getting our message out.)

Needless to say, I was pretty upset when the rejection came. But the final blow was the suggestion this publishing house made to make the story more of a fit for them—take the spiritually mismatched element out.

I was crushed. That was the heart of my story. It needed to be told and I knew God wanted me to tell it!

God bless my wonderful agent who stood by me and encouraged me not to change the story, to just hang on a little longer.

I went to God in prayer and laid The Soul Saver and even writing fiction at His feet, asking Him to take the desire to write it away if I wasn’t supposed to. It was too painful.

Then I let it be.

A couple months later, God released me from doing any more design work—something I’d been praying about letting go so I could write full time. Up until this time, I kept hearing, “Not yet.”

So why now? It didn’t make sense. Nothing had changed. I could only assume that He had something in mind, and I would need more time for the SUM ministry and our Winning Him book coming out in a few months.

This “release” happened on a Saturday. My agent called Tuesday to give me the unbelievable news that a publisher had made an offer on The Soul Saver.

How God opened the door for The Soul Saver in a place I least expected.
Publishing houses have certain “tastes” in the kind of books they publish. The Soul Saver seems to cross genres a little with a story that fit women’s fiction, a thread of danger that fit suspense stories and a supernatural element as well. One house even said they liked the story but didn’t know how they would market it. Publishing Christian based fiction and nonfiction is a ministry AND a business.

So when the offer came from a house I had already assumed wouldn’t be interested, I was floored.

But isn’t that so like God? Like Gideon defeating 120,000 Midianites with just 300 men, God wants us to know that it’s Him who brakes down barriers and opens the door to the impossible.

Not only had God opened the door in the unlikeliest of places, He brought us to a publisher that allowed me to keep our Winning Him Without Words book in the story as part of Lexie’s journey. And not only that, they let me have a page in the back of the book so I could tell readers the Winning Him book was real and that an entire ministry existed for the spiritually mismatched. (Thank you, Becky Germany and Barbour Publishing!)

How you can help get Lexie's story out there.
This is the part I almost left out, but after seeing some of the unexpeted responses to Lexie's story already—a request for information about starting a small group like Lexie's, a comment that reading books where the husband was a believer was too hard, and newcomers finding our site!—I decided it would be okay ask for your help.

Buying or downloading the book is always good (and I am so grateful and humbled when I hear from you that you did), but also requesting it at your local bookstores and libraries goes a long way to getting it out there. The more places people see it, the more people will one, know that there are a lot of us Lexies out there, and two, reach those Lexie's who are still walking this journey alone. That just breaks my heart to think about it. (You can alos mention the Winning Him book too since they work together.)

So, my friends, that concludes this incredible week of sharing one of the greatest adventures of my life with you. I cannot thank you enough for joining me, because sharing this with you all is part of what I have looked forward to the most.

Remember to leave a comment. On Sunday, I will announce the winners!

In my book (wink), you all already are.

Praying and believing,

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