Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Gift of Doing God's Business by Annie Jones

You don’t know God’s business.

It was an expression that I heard an elderly lady use to describe her opinion about a weather forecast. I’ve used it myself in books and probably in person, but it was never so clear to me than when I began to write Their First Noel for Love Inspired.

It started from the kernel of an idea planted at a book signing at a friend’s antique store (the Red Scooter in Taylorsville, KY) where they displayed the entries in a local gingerbread house Christmas contest. The story was to be about a girl who needed an excuse to go to Vermont to see her first snow and to look for her birth father, connecting with a man who needed to understand that the best laid plans in life are not always what God has in mind. I love the characters of Andy and Corrie, and of Andy’s younger sister Greer, but had no idea that the book might become more than a holiday romance.

While writing the book about connecting with people long gone from each other, I happened to make contact with one of my dearest friends from high school. We hadn’t spoken in years and it was so nice to catch up and talk about our lives and family. She was especially excited for me to read some of her son’s poetry and song lyrics. The eighteen year old was very interested in becoming a writer, and soon I had befriended him too on Facebook. I loved hearing from my old friend and found her son to be thoughtful and talented and offered to help encourage his writing if I could. That opportunity never came.

Theodore Anderson died on November 11, 2009 of an undiagnosed heart defect. As a mom and friend, I have no words even still to offer comfort over the loss of a child. But as a writer, God gave me a way to give Theo what all writers aspire to – readers. And so an excerpt of one of Theo’s pieces appears in the dedication of Their First Noel.

From that moment the book has received special attention, from being the cover of the sales catalog, to getting an Editor’s Choice 4.5 in Romantic Times, to offers to do interviews or opportunities to guest blog that I don’t usually get. This has nothing to do with me or with what might literally be called a cookie cutter book (because it’s about cookie dough houses, of course). I honestly believe that has been God at work, that this book has been blessed in order to help us share Theo’s writing and draw attention to young people with bi-polar disorder and am humbled to be a part of it.

To read more about Theo Anderson and read some of his work you can visit The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation and http://theodoreanderson.blogspot.com/

Annie Jones is the award winning author of 37 novels under 4 pen names with 6 publishers. Though she has lived all over the country, she currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and children. You can find her at her blog Writing Through Life.

It's giveaway time!

Annie, thanks so much for visiting and sharing Theo's story!

Now I've got a copy of Their First Noel to give away (right after I finish reading it). Just leave a comment for Annie between now and Sunday and I'll pick the winner this weekend.

29 comments:

  1. What a lovely review :) I always adore snow globe covers.

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  2. What an amazing story! Heartbreaking but again "We don't know Gods business!"

    I'd love to read this one when you are finished and show my daughter Theo's work.

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  3. Great story! (I don't know if it's just my computer, but the right side has words cut off.)

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  4. What a great story, Annie. Sometimes it's hard to understand what God is up to.

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  5. Always happy to read about Annie! Thanks, Joy, for having Annie guest post. I'm so happy the book is receiving such wonderful attention. Blessings to you both!

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  6. I hope to win it but if I don't I will look for it at the Walmarts as that is the only store that carries the catagory Romances around here.☺

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  7. Thank you for having me here Joy! Just since writing this another surprise - Library Journal gave the book a lovely review, this matters because when books are reviewed by LJ librarians listen and order, so that's an arena that will allow Theo's work to be read long after the November Love Inspireds are off the shelf :)

    Isn't God amazing?

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  8. Yay! That's awesome Annie! Thanks for stopping in everybody!

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  9. An awesome interview about a touching awesome book. I've always loved Love Inspired stories and this story sounds quite special. The cover is gorgeous and I want to pick it up and look inside. I enjoy snow globes so much and collect them. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win it. I hope I do.

    Blessings,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

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  10. what a beautiful guest post! Thanks so much for sharing annie and joy- I really enjoyed this!

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  11. What a great story. Tore923@aol.com

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  12. Annie,
    An author of 37 novels under 4 pen names, wow, you are busy!!
    What are your 4 pen names?

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  13. i love reading christmas stories during the holidays!

    sheree
    neednspace at aol dot com
    booknroll.blogspot.com

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  14. There are a few people from my past that I would like to find.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  15. this story sounds like it is really touching.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win it!
    Kim
    lonebanana(at)msn(dot)com
    btw, carmen sent me! :)

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  16. Sounds like a wonderful book.
    I was wondering Annie what are your pen names?
    Have a super day.
    Trinity Rose
    wandaelaine at gmail dot com

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  17. Please include me this giveaway, it sounds like a great read. sonflower277(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Cool. I love the Love Inspired books and Christmas books are wonderful too. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  19. I think it was sweet you put a little of Theo's writing in your book Annie. His legacy still lives on :).
    April
    apeygirl at gmail dot com

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  20. I would love to read The First Noel. I have been sent by Carman.

    teakettle58(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  21. I love all Love Inspired books. Know this one will be great as well. Thanks for giving away a copy.
    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  22. Oh my! I love the Love Inspired books and I love books with Christmas themes. I would love to read this book. Thank you for a chance to win a copy!

    Smiles,
    Cindy W

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  23. HI all - sorry I didn't get back sooner - this was the weekend of everything going wild :)
    My pen names - right now I'm not writing under any other pen names but I have written as Natalie Patrick, Luanne Jones and Annie Flanigan. Those are not in the inspirational market.

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  24. What a great story!! I would love to read this book! Thank you for the chance to win!

    Jennifer

    jmschwindt at cox dot net

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  25. Just found out from my editor that The First Noel is nominated for a Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times, another first.

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  26. Whoo-hoo, Annie! That's fantastic!

    Congrats to April (apeygirl at gmail dot com), you're the winner of The First Noel! I'm emailing you now to get your address.

    Thanks for participating everyone. :)

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  27. Oops, meant to say Their First Noel, not The.

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  28. What a lovely inspiring "story behind the story". There really IS nothing we can say when a friend loses someone, especially a child. The best thing to do is just be there (I lost my little brother through an act of random violence a little over four years ago, so I have some experience with a devastating loss - and just having people be there for me was a bit of a comfort)

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

    knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com

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