by Maggie Brendan
Ever heard the phrase- “if you’re healthy then you’re a wealthy man?” Most everyone can identify with that phrase if you or your spouse have fallen sick. It’s easy to take our health for granted when you’re feeling well, isn’t it? Each of us, at one time or another, experiences illness or the loss of a loved one smack dab in the middle of a writing deadline. It has happened several times to me.
While I was working my first novel, No Place for a Lady, one of my brothers died from lung cancer rather quickly. In March, almost exactly a year from that date, I was finally ready to send out my query letter for my novel, when my second brother died from a rare disease quite suddenly. We were very close, and I didn’t think I’d ever look at my writing again since he was a writer and my mentor, too. But God has a way of healing the heartbroken. You see, my brother had read that query letter the week before he died, deeming it an excellent one. Through the strength of my faith, family and church friends, I garnered enough gumption to attend my first ACFW (then ACRW) conference in Denver. I met with Colleen Coble, one of my favorite historical writers, who shared with me the loss of her brother and how she began writing. I was so inspired. I told Colleen right before he moved to Montana as Deputy Superintendent of Glacier National Park, my brother spoke at my Bible study, Write His Answer. I was going to go to Montana after the ACFW conference to see my brother’s writing cabin. Colleen told me that I would find healing for my heart when I got there. It was a great trip to Glacier, and God gave me a great idea for my second novel, The Jewel of His Heart.
By the time I started my second series, I felt my heart healing. With a new three-book contract, I was on deadline for Deeply Devoted, when I was told that my third brother was dying. I worked hard, day and night on my novel, knowing any day we could lose him. I tried to balance my time between seeing him when I could and other things that must be done. I learned to let a little dust and clutter go. I prayed God would let him live long enough for me to reach my deadline. God blessed my request when two weeks after I submitted my book, he died.
I braced myself for when my deadline approached for Twice Promised, wondering if I’d have another crisis. I did. My husband was diagnosed with a rare disease and we struggled to make sense of all of it. There were other things that occurred that threatened to completely undo us both. But we hung onto God’s unending promise, to never leave or forsake us and the One who enables us to be strengthened. I’m happy to say that I was able to meet every deadline, including Perfectly Matched, without an extension.
Maggie Brendan is a CBA bestselling author, twice nominated for the RITA Award, finalist for IRCA Award, and Heart of Excellence. She is a member of the ACFW, Author’s Guild, RWA, FHL and GRW. Her series include Heart of the West, The Blue Willow Brides, and Virtues and Vices of the Old West.