I think I could write a book about my book promotion experiences over the past seven years. In this scintillating piece of literature, I would include some of the more startling and amusing conversations I have had at my book table, such as the following:
‘So what do you have here?
‘These are my six novels and this one, Soul Friend, is non-fiction.’
‘Oh ... what are they about?’
‘Well, I explore different faith themes in my novels such as understanding God’s love, forgiving others, using our gifts to serve God, overcoming rejection, holding onto our faith, and so on. My latest one here, The Inheritance, highlights the importance of dealing with anger and bitterness in our lives and learning to trust God. It has a strong male main character in it as well as a female one this time.’
‘Oh ... so you said they’re novels. Do you mean fiction? I don’t usually read fiction.’
‘Yes, they’re fiction—but several of them were inspired by real people.’
‘Oh, okay. ... And what about this one here? Did you say it’s non-fiction?’
‘Yes. It’s the story of my own journey with my spiritual mentor Joy.’
‘Oh ... you mean you wrote it yourself? Wow!’
‘Yes. I wrote all these.’
‘You mean ... you mean you wrote all those as well?’
‘Wow! I’ve never met a real author before. That’s amazing!’
It’s a little strange how, even when I talk about ‘my’ books or ‘my’ writing in such settings, some people still think I must be selling someone else’s books. After all, their expression says, I couldn’t possibly be an author! Yet I can well understand where they might be coming from. You see, when I was a child, I always thought authors weren’t real people like the rest of us. I think I imagined them as a race apart—some sort of exotic beings from a realm far removed from us whom we could know only via their names on the covers of their books. They must be so clever, I used to think. Only super human beings could weave stories together like that. Imagine writing a whole book!
Now I know differently, of course. Now I myself have joined their ranks. And, as I usually assure those who have such conversations as the above with me, authors are quite normal people—well, sort of! We just happen to love writing, even when that involves many hours of hard work. And some of us also believe that’s how we can best serve God and others.
I never imagined I would be a ‘real author’. I can well remember the day I received the proposed cover of my first novel and how I felt when I saw my name in large letters at the top. My first thought was ‘What have I done?’ Now my work and many of my inner thoughts would be out there for all to see. But in the years since, I have discovered what a privilege it is to be a ‘real author’ and to take hold of every opportunity to honour God and bless others that comes my way as a result.
What are your thoughts about ‘real authors’ or your experiences of being one? Is this a term only published authors can use? Does it differ from the term ‘writer’, which I still prefer to put down as my occupation?
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.