Monday, October 8, 2007

A Wonderful Writer--And Friend

Sometimes when I hear other writers talking about their mentors, I get a little jealous. How did they manage to find these talented, successful writers, and convince them to be their mentors? Why doesn't anyone want to be my mentor?

Then I realize, I have a wonderful mentor in Elizabeth Musser. I just never called her that until a couple of minutes ago.

I first became aware of Elizabeth and her books when I was living in a suburb of Atlanta a few years ago. Dave and I attended church with Elizabeth's sister-in-law Janet and her family. During a gathering of our two families one evening, Janet told us about her talented sister-in-law, and next thing I knew, I was flying through the pages of Elizabeth's two historical novels about the Algerian War for Independence from France: Two Crosses and Two Testaments. Back then, I didn't particularly enjoy Christian fiction. A lot of it seemed too sweet and simplistic. Elizabeth's writing was more complex and edgy. She wasn't afraid to tackle difficult subjects. Her work started me thinking about trying to write for the Christian market again--something I had tried before and given up on.

I couldn't easily meet Elizabeth face to face at that time, since she was (and still is) living in France, where she and her husband are missionaries. So I emailed her, and we started up a correspondence. Eventually I got to meet her when she visited family in Atlanta and had a book signing.

I can't begin to describe how gracious Elizabeth has been to me. She's read one of my manuscripts and offered advice. She's encouraged me when my spirits are flagging. Last year she was able to attend the ACFW conference, and I had such a blast hanging out with her. I've told you all what an introvert I am. Elizabeth would pull me over to someone and say, "You need to talk to this girl. I've read her book. It's wonderful." Or words to that effect. I have to say, it's much easier to talk to someone about your novel after an intro like that!

Okay, so why am I bringing this up now? First because Elizabeth has a new book coming out this week. I'm going to read it and review it here and eventually share a copy with y'all, but right now I've only read the first chapter myself. It's called Searching for Eternity, and here's what it's about: "Following his father’s dubious disappearance, adolescent Emile de Bonnery is forced to leave his native France for Atlanta, Georgia, never suspecting what awaits him in the South of 1964—culture shock, racism, and friendship with a strange girl named Eternity Jones. He brings with him to America an odd collection of ‘treasures’ used by his father during the French Resistance. With the aid of these ‘treasures’, Emile and Eternity find themselves on a journey through abuse, betrayal and prejudice which will ultimately lead them into a spiritual quest for healing. Spanning four decades, their journey unfolds like a spy story and its conclusion shows what happens in the midst of complex human relationships when an adolescent goes searching for eternity."

I also wanted to let you know that Elizabeth will be doing a guest blog this Wednesday. Even though Elizabeth is a successful author, she has shown me that everyone hits obstacles and rough spots. We unpublished souls are not the only ones who face doubt, who experience disappointment and goals that just can't seem to be accomplished. Wednesday she's going to be telling us about some of those experiences, and what God has shown her through them.

I know she'll inspire you--the way she always inspires me.

In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about Elizabeth and her books, you can visit her website at (The photo at the top is of Elizabeth at ICRS in Atlanta this past summer, with a poster of her upcoming book.)