From time to time, people ask me when I decided to become a writer and how I came up with the idea for Snow Out of Season.
My Earliest Muses
When I was born, my parents named me Christy after the bestselling novel of the same name. You might say Catherine Marshall and her famous heroine were my first muses. (Tweet that!)
But as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading, especially fiction.
As a little girl, I was always dreaming up stories. I remember going into a patch of woods near our house and pretending I was the queen of a small kingdom.
In sixth grade, I won a short story contest and started dreaming of penning novels and memoirs. But first the Lord led me on other adventures.
I completed a bachelor of arts in English and moved to China to study Mandarin and teach at a university. Then I returned to the States to attend seminary, direct school musicales, and work at a church.
As a teen and young adult, I longed for a God-scripted love story.
I devoured books like Elisabeth Elliot’s Quest for Love and Passion & Purity. Realizing my Creator knew me better than anyone, and knew every man as well, I asked Him to choose my husband. And He did. Mark complements me perfectly and has been an incredible blessing to me and many others.
But when my mother-in-law was pregnant with him, her circumstances would have led many women to have an abortion. I started wondering what my life would’ve been like if she’d made a different choice. What if Mark had never been born?
The Significance of a Single Soul
What’s the significance of a single soul? How far does one life reach?
In Psalm 139, King David says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
A story grew in my heart, one I felt compelled to share. I wanted to speak about this issue of life in a way that readers could experience its impact. I wanted to teach these truths through a story, so I could reach more people with the message.
So began Snow out of Season, the dual stories of two women of two generations who struggle with the same questions. Is the child each carries worthy of life? What will it cost to keep the child? What will happen if each decides not to?
These are questions women across our country have wrestled with for 44 years. Since Roe v. Wade, 60 million unborn children have died in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I want you to pause a moment and take in that staggering number.
The number of Americans we’ve lost to abortion is greater than all the Americans we’ve lost in all our wars. That includes the world wars, the Civil War, and the Persian Gulf War, not to mention all the others.
In my novel, I attempt to give faces to two of those 60 million unborn lives. To help readers feel the significance of each lost—or saved—unique person. (Tweet that!)
An Impossible Dream
However, 98 percent of books submitted to publishers get rejected. And only 16 percent of traditionally-published writers were able to debut with their first book. Most wrote at least one novel before finally being able to get the second, third, or fourth published. Did this story even have a chance?
Despite the odds, I decided to pursue that long-delayed dream, knowing the faithful One who had called me was the God of the impossible. To learn how to write fiction, I took classes, attended conferences, and joined critique groups.
In 2014, my second daughter was born on June 10. Meanwhile, the deadline for the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest was September 10. Between round-the-clock diaper changes, plus caring for my two-year-old, I finished my story and submitted it.
The next month, I was shocked to learn the Christian Writers Guild had closed. Was the Operation First Novel contest cancelled too?
A Desire Fulfilled
The following month, New York Times bestselling author Jerry Jenkins decided to continue the contest under his own name.
Me and Clarice James with bestselling author Jerry Jenkins.
That December, I discovered I was one of eleven semifinalists.
The next month, at the Writer to Writer conference, Jerry announced I won third place. Snow Out of Season—that original story that wouldn’t let go—would be published!
From March to May, in-between moving, starting a new ministry, and trying to sell our house as well as buy another, I revised my story. Then I worked with Carol Kurtz Darlington from Mountainview Books to hone it more. Finally, my novel was off to the copyeditors and typesetters!
Snow Out of Season
Bestselling author Sandra Byrd read an advance review copy and said, “The story caught me with characters so real I feel I might see them on the street, and it held me with breathtakingly clever story telling.”
Library Journal gave it a starred review, calling it an “astonishing tale with a gratifying ending,” and named it their Christian Fiction Debut of the Month.
In January 2016–a month after it’s release–the Kindle version topped Amazon bestseller charts.
But what is this bestselling, award-winning novel about? Two pregnant women, separated by time, each face a decision that could change the future—and the past—forever.
Read the synopsis and the first chapter here! Already sold on Snow Out of Season? You can order it for yourself or a loved one here.