Snow Out of Season: The Story behind the Story

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

Christy Brunke named after Catherine Marshall's Christy novelWhen 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.”

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?

Two-year-old Michaela Brunke with baby sister Angelina BrunkeDespite 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.

Jerry B. Jenkins Clarice G. James Christy Brunke

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.”

Snow Out of Season novel by Christy BrunkeLibrary 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.


4 thoughts on “Snow Out of Season: The Story behind the Story

  1. Hi, Christy from far away Oak Park.

    I enjoyed reading about the background of your book another time. Remembering you book signing when I heard the story for the first time.– it is amazing how far and wide the Lord has spread the message of your (Mark’s and Angie’s) story.

    How are you and Mark and the girls’ doing. I have referred friends and relatives to you website to read about you experience and research into Lyme Disease. How can I be specifically be praying for you.

    Got a recent family picture? It would be great to see everyone’s faces.

    In Him,

    • Hi, Donna! 🙂 So good to hear from you!!! 🙂 How are you and Jim doing? Mark and the girls and I are all doing pretty well. Because of how the pandemic upended the public schools, I’ve been homeschooling our girls this school year. For the 2021-2022 school year, we should ideally decide soon whether we’re going to continue with our current homeschool co-op program (Classical Conversations), try another homeschool curriculum, or send our girls back to public school. We covet your prayers as we seek to honor God and do what’s best for our family and our children. we were recently terribly saddened by the death of Kevin Jiang. Mark spoke at his funeral in Connecticut last weekend. Please lift up his mom, Linda, and his fiance, Zion, as they grieve and seek a path forward. On a happier note, text or e-mail me your address, and I’ll send you our 2020 magnet newsletter with some recent pictures! 🙂 Also, thank you for referring people to! 🙂 I appreciate it and hope they find it helpful. Lyme is, unfortunately, becoming more and more of a problem. Plus, the Upper Midwest is becoming another hot spot as birds carrying the ticks fly from the northeast and mid-Atlantic states over the Midwest region. Love you and hope to hear from you again soon! 🙂

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