by Diana Prusik
Many experts discourage author wannabes from quitting day jobs to seek writing careers. Wise advice, but teaching and parenthood left me no time to pursue other endeavors. So with my husband’s support and after years of prayer, I resigned from the classroom in 2005, intending to pen Delivery.
But it appeared God had other plans.
Days after I submitted my letter of resignation—even before the school year ended--doctors diagnosed my mother with cancer. Weeks later, they discovered a second primary cancer. Surgery to remove the disease resulted in life-threatening complications, requiring more extensive surgery. My role quickly shifted from aspiring novelist to caregiver.
My mom’s condition gradually improved, and I began drafting Delivery. I didn’t get far.
A series of family crises followed--my youngest son’s surgeries for an abdominal tumor and heart arrhythmia; my oldest son’s brain hemorrhage, car accident, and brain surgery; my oldest granddaughter’s narrow escape from an apartment fire and a tornado; my eight-year-old niece’s death due to a failed double lung transplant; and more. I wouldn’t believe one family could experience such distress if I had not experienced it--or read the book of Job.
In spare moments, I hacked away at my fledgling manuscript, until one devastating event after another left me doubting my dreams.
Finally, I asked my pastor to help me pray. Was my desire to write a selfish ambition? If so, I was ready to raise the white flag. Or was it God’s calling? For that, I would persevere, despite the circumstances.
God answers prayer, but I could never have imagined how He would answer this one.
Weeks later, news arrived that my youngest son Tyler and his best friend Nathan had been in a fiery crash on their way to work. Not knowing the outcome, I grabbed my keys, praying as I raced down the highway. Before I reached the accident site, patrolmen diverted traffic off the closed interstate. Two helicopters hovered above the roadway. I lowered my window and begged an officer to let me through. He flashed a sympathetic glance my way and radioed ahead.
Please don’t deliver more bad news!
Over the walkie-talkie, an officer at the scene said the boys were heading to separate hospitals.
Thank God. They’re alive!
Local TV news featured the accident not because of fatalities but because of amazing escape and rescue details. Although Nathan wore a seatbelt (which bruise patterns later verified), his body blasted through the passenger window as the car rolled, pinning him beneath a fallen tree. Tyler, trapped upside down by his seatbelt, discovered the driver’s door was jammed shut against the ground. Gasoline dripped on his jeans while flames leapt toward the windshield. Four witnesses, including an off-duty firefighter and two soldiers home from recent tours in Iraq, came to the rescue moments before fire engulfed the interior. It’s the stuff of action movies and parents’ nightmares. It’s the stuff of answered prayers.
When our family visited the salvage yard, I stared slack-jawed at the charred remnants with a new understanding of how narrowly both boys had escaped horrific deaths. Then, my husband nudged my arm. “Look at this!” He lifted a moldy, weathered book off the ground beneath the passenger’s window where Nathan was ejected--the broken window that created Tyler’s only escape route from the blazing car. I glanced at the book. Chicken Soup for . . . . For what? I strained through tears to read the faded title: Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul.
The tow truck driver could have parked Tyler’s car many other places in that salvage yard, but he deposited it beside that book. God answers prayer, and He answered one more for me that day.
Never again did I doubt my calling. Energized by Chicken Soup’s inspirational stories, I attacked Delivery with renewed determination. Having no idea how to get it published, I trusted God to lead the way.
And He did.
A publisher sent an assortment of books to my Christian book club leader, who asked each member to read one. Because my husband loves climbing, I selected Tom Morrissey’s In High Places. Back matter introduced the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild to me. I checked out its website, which promoted the CWG Operation First Novel contest. I joined the Guild and finished my manuscript in time to meet the October 1, 2008, deadline by overnight mail.
Delivery placed three consecutive years: 2008 finalist, 2009 semifinalist, and 2010 finalist. Between each submission, I sought and received expert feedback, rewrote, and revised. Through Operation First Novel, I gained Tyndale House Publisher’s interest, which led to Delivery’s 2011 summer release as part of their Digital First Initiative.
Like my journey to publication, Delivery is a tale of family tragedy and the amazing power of prayer.
* Double Kindle 3G Giveaway *
by Diana Prusik
Tyndale House, August 2011
Livi finds new purpose in her troubled life when she joins her family's small-town florist shop. There, the strong and wacky Wilson's Florist gang monitors the pulse of Mount Helicon, where customers carry stories even the local newspaper does not contain. Tales of birth and death, sickness and sorrow, love and betrayal, and even forgiveness--Livi hears them all. Privy to some of the community's deepest secrets, she sometimes wishes she didn't know so much, especially when news arrives that a dear family friend is dead.
Faced with servicing his funeral, she is blasted with painful memories she's struggled for decades to ignore. Soon, guilt and grief over childhood and adult tragedies close in. Instead of turning to loved ones or God for comfort, she leans on alcohol, her long-time clandestine companion--but secrets rarely escape the close-knit flower shop crew, who makes Livi's business its own. Fumbling through life's challenges together, the Wilson gang often delivers more than flowers, yet when Livi needs delivery, can the bonds of faith and friendship dissolve her defenses?
Diana Prusik holds a bachelor's degree in English, graduating summa cum laude as an honors scholar in English, and a master's degree in secondary education. She served as a Parents as First Teachers parent educator and an English instructor on the middle school, high school, and community college levels. In 2005, she departed from her education career in order to create art, photography, and fiction. A happily married mother of four, she lives in her native Sullivan, Missouri, where she draws and paints in her in-home studio, searches for God's beauty with her camera lens, and writes with every opportunity the Lord grants her. She is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and American Christian Fiction Writers.
Her debut novel Delivery placed three times in the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest: 2008 finalist, 2009 semifinalist, and 2010 finalist. Diana's first place of employment, a small-town floristry rich with story ideas, inspired Delivery. She is blessed to still work there part-time as a floral designer, a position she has held since 1981. Learn more about Diana at www.handinhandstudios.com and www.dianaprusik.blogspot.com.