These two pictures are of my husband John Iobst handling the sales/money at the book launch of my first novel, Cecelia Jackson's Last Chance.
Thirteen years ago, I was teaching at a Christian high school. Noah was 2 and I wanted to somehow find a way to not work and stay at home with him. I am qualified to teach. But what else could I do?
"John, I think I might write a novel."
"Three girls who grew up together reunite."
"Sounds good. Go for it."
And Cecelia Jackson was born. When I began I thought, well, I'll write this in a year, and then it will be published and I will earn tons of money and quit my job to do Barnes and Noble book signings and Oprah.
If you are a writer, that made you smile. Does. Not. Work that way.
Here I am, thirteen years later and Cecelia is out there in the read-o-sphere and my cup runneth over.
But I want you to know something that I haven't spoke of often. And that is the fact that John Iobst is much of the reason that my book made the trip from my brain to Amazon.
1st year of writing it: "John, this is more difficult than I thought. Will you listen to me as I read this?"
"Sure." And he did, night after night, suggesting plot points.
2nd through 4th years: "John, this is not great. I need help. They have something called writing conferences."
"Okay, let me send you to a couple as a gift."
5th year: "Everyone has rejected it that I've sent it to."
"Keep trying, Robbie. It's a good book."
6th year: "What would you think if I quit my job to write and speak full time?"
"I just got a huge raise. Do it!"
Years 7 and 8: "That novel went nowhere. I'm going to write nonfiction for a while."
"Okay, you'll be great. But don't forget about Cecelia. It's good."
Years 9 -11: "John, I got an agent."
"Everyone has rejected my nonfiction book."
"I'm sorry, Robbie, but don't stop."
"Why am I doing this?"
"God has called you to do this, right?"
"My agent dumped me."
"I'm sorry, honey. But keep going."
"I should get a real job."
"Why get another job if God has called you to do this? Don't worry about money, let me do that. Do what God is telling you to do."
Year 11 and 12: "Maybe I'll write fiction."
"Why not go back to Cecelia? That's a great book."
"It keeps getting rejected, John."
"Robbie, keep trying."
"John, the Christian publishers don't think it's Christian enough. They want me to rewrite it."
"What do YOU think God wants you to do?"
"Hang in there with it."
"There you go."
Year 12: "John, Written World wants to publish it!!"
"Of course they do, honey! Way to go!"
I am the first girl to say I have a gift in John Iobst. He would say that in the first years of our marriage, he was no gift at all. But I wasn't either. John has been the kind of husband most women dream about having. I dreamed about having. He is Godly and supportive and loving and strong.
And he is the one who kept telling me to keep writing when I wanted to quit - over and over.
That man o'mine is pretty wonderful.