Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Inspy Award Shortlist Nominee Ginny Yttrup–her debut novel, her writing journey, and her story – in her own words . . .
When Ginny sent me her story, she said I could make any changes I felt necessary. After reading the following, I didn't want to change one word. So, here is Ginny–in her own words:
"As a child, books were my solace. I could pick up a book and lose myself in the story I read, and for a time, escape the pain of an abusive childhood. I endured the sexual abuse at the hands of an authority figure for twelve long years. As I grew older, I struggled in school, couldn’t focus, and failed many classes. I barely graduated from high school and didn’t go on to college.
"I felt stupid.
"But I kept reading.
"When I was about 30 years old, a wife and mother of two toddler sons, I began dreaming about writing. It seemed an impossible dream because of my lack of education, but one day while vacuuming, I said to God, “I’d love to write a book.” In that moment, I believe God brought to my mind some of the people He used—a young girl to give birth to His Son and fishermen as Jesus’ disciples. He often used the least likely candidates, the uneducated. That reminder gave me hope that perhaps one day He would use me as a writer.
"That year, I attended my first writers’ conference and began the long and winding journey to publication. I spent the first five years just learning and practicing the craft of writing. I wrote devotionals and magazine articles and anything else that felt manageable. And each spring, I returned to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference to continue learning and networking.
"During those years, God also had me on another path—the path of healing. About the same time my dream of writing was born, I also realized that God wanted to do some work in my life—emotionally and spiritually. I was terrified of revisiting my childhood and the abuse I suffered, but it didn’t seem I could hold it at bay any longer. Nightmares and memories haunted me. Finally, for the sake of my sons, I decided to call a counselor and make an appointment. I knew my children deserved a mother who was healthy.
"That first counseling appointment was so difficult. But I made it through and decided I could probably do a month or two of weekly appointments.
"Twelve years later… ☺
"During those twelve years of intensive therapy, God replaced the lies I’d believed about myself with His truth. About the time I finished counseling (although, I still check in with a counselor occasionally), my writing shifted. After years of pursuing publication, I’d finally surrendered the writing to God and told Him I’d write simply as an act of worship. I placed myself, and my desires in His hands.
"But not long after, the first line of what I thought was a story began playing through my mind. I finally sat down one afternoon and typed out the sentence: I collect words. I wrote a couple of chapters and then submitted them to agent Steve Laube that spring at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference.
"The night before the conference began, I received an email from Steve asking me to find him as soon as I was on the Mount Hermon grounds. That felt like a good sign.
"Steve loved the chapters I’d written and wanted to see more. He asked for the completed manuscript and I told him I could have it to him in six weeks. But six weeks turned into three years. Obstacle after obstacle prevented me from writing, but I persevered and eventually did submit a completed manuscript to Steve who then graciously worked through it with me, helping me make it ready to submit to publishers.
"I eventually signed a contract with The Steve Laube Agency for representation and began the long wait while Steve shopped the manuscript. It was almost seven months later when I received the call from Steve that he had an offer: a three-book contract with B&H Publishing Group.
"I was 47 years old when I received that call. 48 when I held my first published work in my hands. 18 years after I first spoke my dream to God. God was faithful and had prepared me for that moment. He’d offered the gift of health through the hard work of counseling knowing what I didn’t know—my first book would deal with a child who was being sexually abused.
"My debut novel, Words, is the story of 10-year old Kaylee Wren, who, because of the trauma she suffers, abandoned by her mother and left with her mother’s abusive boyfriend, loses her ability to speak. Although she can’t speak, Kaylee escapes into the world of words by reading the only thing her mother left behind—a tattered dictionary. Words is a story of hope, healing, and redemption through Jesus Christ.
"My second novel, Lost And Found, releases with B&H Publishing Group in February 2012."
Words is available at Amazon.com, Christianbook.com, Barnes and Noble, and many Christian retailers. Get it! This is one you definitely don't want to miss.
The following endorsements show just how life changing Ginny's book can be:
“First-time novelist Yttrup writes a riveting, emotionally charged story . . . page by page, word by word, this talented author proves the adage ‘Write what you know.’”
“An astounding debut novel. I haven’t read anything this profound, inspiring and life changing since (Francine Rivers’) Redeeming Love.”
—Finding Hope Through Fiction
“It’s hard to believe this is Ginny L. Yttrup’s debut novel . . . Here are 334 pages of words that may very well leave you speechless.”
Ginny is an accomplished freelance writer, speaker, and life coach who also ministers to women wounded by sexual trauma. She has two grown sons and lives in California. Learn more about her at www.ginnyyttrup.com.