Authors often refer to their work as their “book babies.” I marvel at my peers who can crank out multiple releases a year. Me? Anchored Hearts released yesterday, and that pregnancy lasted nearly five years.
When the idea first came to mind, definitely God’s hand at work, I had a question that created the entire series: What if a family with a unique birth story stayed in the national spotlight due to tragedy? My sister has a passion for donor families and we talked about creating that. I didn’t feel I was ready to tackle that, so I thought about multiples. As in sextuplets.
Each sibling will have their own book and surrender story. With Jordyn as the oldest, I knew because of her tragic background, she was going to struggle to let go. Control is her problem.
Apparently, it is mine as well.
If the process had gone my way, Anchored Hearts would have released three years ago. Why didn’t it? First, a Christmas collaboration came together and that was a bucket list goal. From what experience came Restoring Christmas. Then, my daughter went through a tough season where out of it she had a message to encourage girls to not believe the lies about themselves. That message was a three book series, Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’. As much fun as it was to write You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, and You’re Brilliant, that meant Anchored Hearts sat aside, no viable life as far as I could see.
I finally thought during the pandemic I’d be able to get back to it. I still had You’re Brilliant to write, and then my mom became ill. When she didn’t fight me to drive 300 miles to help her out for a few days while she recovered, I knew she was sick. Turns out, she was within hours of passing.
And I stayed two months.
Even after returning home, the transition was traumatic and my family was struggling. I was struggling. Nothing of those months were things I’d planned, and I was in an emotional tailspin. I still made trips back to take mom to specialists. During the holidays, she improved. By New Year’s, she was back to her old self, shopping, driving, getting a haircut. She was a force!
And then she was gone.
That shock numbed every part of me—mind, body, soul. There was quite a lot of her business to attend to and many, many trips back and forth. Writing was the last thing on my mind and the last thing I could have done. I had zero creative juices. I was barely upright.
When things sort of calmed down I thought now I can get back to Jordyn and Spencer. Still, the words would not come. I wanted them to. I felt like a fraud calling myself an author when I had not had a romance release in a couple years.
Yet, as those days blended into weeks, and then a few months, I started to heal. The trauma of how sick she had been, how great she had improved, and how fast she left this earth was a complete shock to my system. My body needed healing. My faith needed healing. And I had to completely surrender everything to Jesus.
My health. My family. My writing. Everything.
When I opened the file to start writing, something had changed. The words not only came, they flowed. I knew Jordyn in a way I had not, and telling her story was pure joy. The surrender issue was one I could intimately share through Jordyn and Spencer because I had lived it.—Julie Arduini
Although I consider myself a slow writer, I went from 11k to just under 80k in about nine weeks.
One of my favorite songs is a Southern Gospel one called “Four Days Late”. My husband has sung this before and I love it because I can feel the heartbreak Mary and Martha must have had when Jesus “finally” shows up. Their brother is dead. This is a done deal and He, in their eyes, couldn’t bother to have shown up and healed Lazarus.
But we know the story. Jesus came not just to heal, but resurrect. And with a command, Lazarus bust out of the tomb and stinky grave clothes very much alive. Something had Jesus shown up when Mary and Martha wanted Him to, would not have happened.
The chorus says to the effect, “You were four days late but You were right on time.”
I don’t understand everything about why it took years to get Anchored Hearts to you. But I know this, what I considered late, I now see as right on time.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’d love for you to check out Anchored Hearts. If you enjoy it, please leave a review at Amazon/BookBub/Goodreads. The more reviews a book receive, the more visible it is with Amazon. Thank you!