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I had declined multiple invitations to an interfaith Bible study before a friend enticed me to attend by offering to buy lunch afterward. Dr. Bakers rich teaching prompted me to inquire if I could write about her ministry. I also saw an opportunity for fresh material to post to the faith blog and offered to video her teaching, which I edited to release as a series.

One day, she asked me to stay after I packed my equipment. She loved the story I wrote about her and asked me to write a book. I listened intently as she told a story of rape, her decision to make the product of the rape a gift to another and how she reunited with the child she gave up for adoption thirty years later.

The manuscript I prepared for the agent was a compilation of short stories. I wasn’t sure I could write creative nonfiction. But the article I wrote about her had convinced her I was the person to author her story. The story had an unusual twist that made it compelling, so I consulted with other writers who encouraged me to do it. 

I had completed an outline of her story when my friend asked if I wanted to attend another writer’s conference. The agent at this conference had brokered a movie deal with the Hallmark Channel for one of his authors.  Dr. Baker’s story was a perfect fit for the Hallmark Channel. I decided to go and pitch her story to the agent.

The previous year, I had no problem obtaining ten minutes with the agent. This time the rules for obtaining time repeatedly changed making it impossible to get my name on the list. I gave up on pitching the idea and spent the morning filming authors promoting their books.

After lunch, I looked at the afternoon’s agenda. A publisher was doing a workshop followed by the agent’s. My feet hurt from walking around the church most of the morning.  Sitting in one room for two hours would be a relief. The room was a quarter full when the host of the conference entered. The publisher had canceled due to car problems. Half the people left to attend another workshop. A friend and I stayed to chat as we waited for the agent’s workshop to begin.

A woman stuck her head in the door and announced Cheryl had the sign-up sheet for ten minutes with the agent. There were three slots open. I didn’t know who Cheryl was, but everyone else did. The room cleared as they ran out the door to find the guardian of the sign-up sheet. My friend and I were the only ones in the room when the agent entered to set up his laptop.

I pitched Dr. Baker’s story while he prepared for the workshop and received a forty-five-minute education in Christian publishing. Traditional publishers are interested in authors who already have a large following. The last publisher he pitched a book to said, “Who is that and why should I care?” That made me wonder why he was at one of the cheapest writing conferences in the nation listening to book ideas. Did he think someone famous with a large following would be here? I had a blog on the largest newspaper in Louisiana, so he consented to look at the outline of the story. I emailed him the outline and received the standard treatment. He didn’t bother to type, “No” and hit send either.

The following year, the conference invited me to be one of three authors to speak during the opening session. Bruce Barbour, a literary agent whose family had been in Christian publishing for three generations would be in attendance. I brought my camera hoping I could interview him to write an article for the faith blog.

Arriving at the conference early to set up my book table proved to be an asset. The sign-up sheet for dinner with Bruce had four spots available. I added my name with little hope of accomplishing my goal. I had researched Bruce several times and found nothing beyond his website and a comment on a blog. Both revealed little about him personally. I assumed he guarded his privacy and expected him to decline my request.

I decided to approach Bruce after the opening session. The short inspirational message they scheduled me to give during the session would make me less of a stranger. We were gathering our belongings to go to the first workshop when I spotted Bruce and joined the line of people waiting to talk to him. When my turn came, he spoke first. Bruce liked my inspirational message. The positive comments emboldened me to make my request. My assumptions about Bruce proved wrong. He allowed me to video his comments during lunch and agreed to meet with me later that evening to share his salvation story.

His last appointment of the day departed, and I took her place at the table. I started our conversation with another erroneous assumption. “No doubt you were raised in a Christian home,” I said.

“I wasn’t,” said Bruce.

Push eyes back into sockets pick chin up off floor. That thought would have never entered my mind considering I was speaking to a nephew of D L Moody, and Fleming Revell.


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