Home is Where Your Story Begins

by | Family | 9 comments

I had the privilege of attending the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) last week in Dallas, Texas. 700 writers and industry professionals gathered together to celebrate the craft, each other’s journeys and the Lord.

Attending ACFW is like a huge family reunion. I saw friends whom I’ve known for years. I met new friends face-to-face whose names I recognized from my online community. I attribute much of my writing success to ACFW.

Saturday evening at the ACFW Gala, I had the honor and privilege of being awarded the Carol Award for Lakeside Reunion in the short contemporary romance. Being a finalist filled me with incredible joy, and I wanted to have the same joyful spirit for whomever won. I truly did not expect to win, so when Mindy Obenhaus announced my name, I gasped and buried my face in my hands. 

When I accepted my award, I shared a tiny bit of the history of this novel–it’s dedicated to my husband because he gave up his greatest dream due to my intense fears, yet he’s my strongest supporter. Lakeside Reunion is dedicated to him. I concluded thanking other important people in my writing life–my boys, my mentors, my agent, my editor, my writing support group and my God…after all, without Him, none of this would be possible.

As I reflected on the journey I’ve taken with this first novel, I realized home is where my story began. I don’t recall the date, but I remember the exact moment when I knew I was called to be a writer. If I hadn’t met that handsome Marine on that summer’s evening in 1989, then I wouldn’t have had this particular story to tell.

Our home world shapes us into who we are and how we view life, with our family and friends playing characters in our life stories. The choices we make create life experiences. Our life experiences allow us to draw on those emotions when developing our fictional characters. Each one of us has a story tell. And we are the only ones who can tell it in our own unique voices. 

Your Turn: How has your home world shaped you into the person you are today? How do you share the stories of your past? 

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  1. Melissa Tagg

    Oh yes, my home world has definitely shaped my writing. In my first book, the character’s life really looks little at all like my own–but the issues she’s dealing with are so mine–issues of her identity and basing her identity in the wrong things. My family is so amazing and has always valued me for, well, me. But I don’t know–there’s something in me, maybe it’s the first-born thing, that feels a need to achieve and have success, and to find my identity there. So, I guess it’s more of a mental/spiritual home world that impacted that story…if that makes any sense at all!

    Ohhhh, and can I just say for the hundredth time how happy I am for you?!?! So, so, so happy!!!

  2. Keli Gwyn

    Congratulations once more on your Carol award, Lisa! What a privilege it was to share your joy up close and personal. I’m thrilled for you.

  3. Lindsay Harrel

    What an awesome moment to hear your name announced, Lisa! We were all crying…literally! (I had to wipe away Mel’s mascara, hehe.)

    My home and life and own struggles with faith have shaped me as a writer. The heroine in my first book deals with those same questions. And I’m writing a mother/daughter series. Someone asked me why, and all I can figure out is because my mom was extremely special to me, and that relationship is one I cherished. Now that she’s gone, maybe it’s a way to honor her. I love that God gave me a way to process my emotions, feelings, and all of that–through the written word. I pray someday it blesses others the way your books have blessed me!

  4. Alena T.


    I agree your life experiences shape you and my story comes out in my characters in one way or another. The strong male who runs from major emotions and the female who needs to be in control to feel secure. 🙂

    Again, congratulations on your win. What a testimony to pursuing your dream! Way to go!

    Alena T.

  5. Jessica R. Patch

    I booh-hooed when you won and gave your speech. Beautiful. I think the way I live my life and the experiences I have at home definitely shape my writing. 🙂 You looked beautiful too, btw!

  6. P. T. Bradley

    I was estactic when your name was called for the Carol! I love Lakeside Reunion and Lakeside Family as well.

  7. Dana McNeely

    You’re right, Lisa – there were so many wonderful books represented at the Carol – all worth of winning, including you! Congratulations and best wishes in your continuing career. If I were to look at the sum of my past and how it has changed my world, I’d say the things that were the most impactful seemed at the time to be setbacks or disasters. Isn’t that God’s way? Turning everything into good?

  8. Ganise

    Sincere congrats, Lisa! I was watching online 🙂

  9. Terri Tiffany

    I’m late in saying congratulations! So happy for you. And yes my life and home front changes what I write so much!