Thursday, September 29, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Diana Prusik

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.

Arrow and circle show where book was found

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.

Car Interior

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 and


  1. What an inspiring, amazing story Diana. How many of us could of endured what you did and remained faithful? You're truly an inspiration for all of us.


  2. Dear Diana,
    What an amazing and inspirational testimony to the power of prayer. Thank you for sharing your story of hope. Beautiful.

  3. Brenda, thank you for inviting me to share my story on your beautiful blog.

    Truly, God made Himself more evident to me through these hardships and tragedies, so remaining faithful came more naturally to me than what some might think. Some of our family's struggles have been so huge that we couldn't have possibly handled them alone. What a blessing to know we could lay them at God's feet. I have learned firsthand that God does some of His most amazing work through our darkest hours. I cannot imagine how non-believers cope, but through my character Livi, I explored how some doubters might struggle. Prayer has been a huge comfort to me over the years. The power of prayer is at work in Delivery, too. The story is built on the foundation that God can use ALL things for good and that His grace is sufficient for us all, no matter what darkness shadows our past.

    Thank you, Brenda, Nicole, and Kathleen. Blessings and a red carnation to you! :-)

  4. WOW!!! Amazing testimony to the power of prayer!! And the book sounds just as amazing! I am anxious to read the rest of the story after getting a taste of it here! My 2nd born son, Alex, was born with an inherited degenerative spinal cord disease which was diagnosed in 1993 at the age of 13. He fought valiantly against it for 13 years and God took him home in 2006..2 months shy of his 26th birthday. Through Alex's life and death, God taught us so many lessons of His grace and mercy, His faithfulness, His unending love, and His deliverance...Margie at mijares dot net

  5. Diana - I look forward to reading Delivery. I have it on my computer's Kindle app--now I just need a Kindle. ;)

    Nicole & Kathleen, thank you for stopping by today!

  6. Margie - thank you for sharing your heart today.

  7. Margie, thank you for sharing God's awesomeness through your precious son's story. What an amazing testimony of faith!!! I will keep your family in my prayers, and I hope to meet Alex in heaven when I get there someday.

    Brenda, take advantage of my double Kindle 3G giveaway. You just might win a Kindle for yourself AND a Kindle for a loved one. Then, you could share books with each other. Thank you again for hosting me on your blog today. I am truly honored!

  8. My apologies to those of you who've had difficulty commenting on this blog post. I've had problems as well. What I've discovered is if I use Google Chrome as my web browser, I have no problems, but when I use Internet Explorer, my comments disappear. I couldn't tell you why ...

    Regardless, Thank You Very Much for stopping by. I greatly appreciate you visiting Spire Reviews and reading about Diana's amazing, inspiring journey.


  9. OH MY GOODNESS, DIANA, your story made me cry, and I am SO glad God has opened your eyes to your true calling for Him!! God bless you in your journey.

    Thank you, too, my friend, for the wonderful job you did with Natasha's pictures. You are a GEM!!


  10. Julie,

    Thank YOU for sharing some of your life's journey at dinner during ACFW. YOU are an inspiration, for sure!!! I'm thrilled that Patti introduced us.

    I was honored to shoot pics of Natasha's party. Seeing how much love and respect you all have for Natasha made me misty-eyed, and being in the presence of all those amazing Christian authors made my knees weak! Julie Lessman, Patty Lacy, Mary Connealy, Candace Calvert, Sandra Robbins--and the list goes on. I'm surprised I could pick my chin up off the floor long enough to hold the camera!

    If you're ever up for coffee--or maybe Ted Drewes--let me know. I'd love to hear more of your story!

    Hugs back atcha,

  11. Hi Diana, I, too, have had Job periods in my life when traumas,tragedies and challenges seem overwhelming and have also learned that God truly doesn't waste a hurt. Not only does he carry us forward and renew us, but brings us closer to Him and showers His love upon us. Miracles happen. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Natasha Kern

  12. Natasha,

    Job periods showed me the truth in Romans 5:3-4. We can rejoice in our suffering because suffering produces perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. And with hope, yes, miracles can happen. May God continue to shower His blessings upon you. Thank you for the invitation. I will send a letter very soon.