Author Kathleen Freeman shares her wisdom and encouragement.
My husband often accuses me of being a matchmaker, a Yenta out of place and time.
It’s true. Despite a bedroom that argues against it, I love to organize. In the right mood, I can sort a silverware drawer with the best of them—toss take-out restaurant chopsticks from two years ago and make all the spoon bowls stack in the most eye-pleasing manner.
My passion, however, is people. Despite the Valentine’s Day sound of that, it isn’t couples I most like to match. I’m an idea connector, and that ardor extends to finding talents. I LOVE to put people in situations where they can grow and learn, do their best, use the gifts God has given them to make the world a better place. I find it irresistible to help loose chains and free people to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, strength and love their neighbor as themselves.
This is why I write.
In a matchmaking mood, which, to be honest, arrives just about every day, I enjoy seeking out writers and bringing them into the fold, whether it be an organization or critique group. From there, I might have the opportunity to help boost them to the next level of connection, confident that they and an editor or agent will form a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship—a matchless match.
The Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, the annual writers conference, is April 11-12, 2014. If you’re a writer, you should go. If you’re thinking about becoming a writer, you should go. Connection opportunities are vast at any conference and will be super strong at the upcoming one. Right? Of course right.
1. Writer or not, this conference is matchless, one of the best in the country for renewal, for connecting with God, for inspiration. Writers have a way with words.
2. Hundreds of other writers will be there, from beginning beginners to best-selling authors. Writers are a quirky bunch, especially those of us who write fiction. You are not alone in your desire to create, in the way you discuss made up people as if they are real, or even argue with them… out loud. Writers love to help other writers—maybe it’s the comfort we feel in numbers, which is odd, since most of us are introverts. Ask anything about writing. Someone will know the answer.
3. Davis Bunn is speaking and teaching. Mr. Bunn is a celebrated and prolific writer of adventure, Oxford teacher and world traveler. Think Indiana Jones without the whip. He is also one of the best teachers I’m encountered in my long writing journey. His class would have shaved years off the learning process. If only.
4. Many editors and agents will attend. They are looking for work with that special ring, whether it be in fiction, children’s books, science articles, or a non-fiction article that moves the most hardened of criminals to tears.
“Bring me a ring for I’m longing to be the envy of all I see.”
Cue potential matches:
Sally Apokedak, with the Les Stobbe Agency, is one of the kindest agents I’ve met. She loves a good book, especially quirky-fun children’s books and YA. I hear she has a passion for science, which makes her even cooler in my… book. The agency head, Les Stobbe is agent to some fantastic people. He is committed to helping first time authors and is seeking adult fiction and non-fiction.
Katherine DeVries, with David C. Cook, is a publisher in search of encouraging articles, inspiring poems, African American Real Life writers and editors, and curriculum writers. Time to dust off your Sunday School lesson ideas.
Rachel Kent, of the highly esteemed Books and Such Agency, is looking for adult fiction and non-fiction, young adult (YA) fiction and non-fiction, and twenty to thirty-something fiction and non-fiction. Books and Such loves good ideas and great writing. Non-fiction is especially interesting to them at this time.
M. Jamie West, Pelican Book Group—White Rose, Harbourlight—is looking for fiction. The White Rose imprint is romance, and the Harbourlight imprint takes a variety of genres. They love to keep it real.
For more information, see the complete list of needs for the agents and editors that will be at the Renewal here.
There are great fits out there, and less than optimal fits, even if your name is Frank Peretti, Karen Kingsbury, or T. Davis Bunn. Playing with matches, a writer can get burned, so do your research. Talk to people. Catch no catch, unless it’s a matchless match. Please remember to have long conversations with the greatest of connectors, the first and best matchmaker.
Kathleen Freeman serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Christian Writers Association as the Critique Coordinator. She’s also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and she’s been writing and critiquing for enough years to be told she’s been around the block a few times. Her work appears in Raising Small Souls, the NCWA Newsletter, Vista Journal for Holy Living, and Clubhouse Magazine. She was the 2012 winner of the Genesis contest in the YA category, 2013 semi-finalist in the Mystery category, and the 2013 3rd place winner of the Category 5 contest, Contemporary category. You can find her at www.findinghopeinhardtimes.com.