Friends of Kristy Shelton, long time member of Northlake Church, and fans of her new book BLINDERS enjoyed a delightful evening on August 19th. About 40 of us gathered for the book signing in our church Fellowship Hall. We savored hors d’oeuvres and with excitement listened as Kristy told the story of how she came to write her first novel which is successfully climbing the charts and gaining literary acclaim.
Kristy is best known as “Coachie” to hundreds of elementary students and winning vollyball teams at Greater Atlanta Christian School where she has taught and coached for about 30 years. What many of us did not know until she told her story is that Kristy has written poetry over the years and has long had the idea of writing a book one day.
That day was about to happen when Kristy had a remarkably vivid dream last summer, a dream that she couldn’t get out of her head. A week later, with her husband’s urging, she decided to write down the dream; this became the first chapter. From there the story seemed to take on a life of its own, she said. The development of characters and unfolding of events poured out of her fingers as she wrote for hours at a time when not teaching or coaching. Kristy’s novel carries a message which she felt compelled to write. She drew from her own faith and life experiences, that of her family, and of an uncle who had been in World War I. She said she did interviews and a lot of historical research along the way. Her story opens with a boy growing up in adverse conditions near the heart of the Kentucky bluegrass in pre-World War I days. Intrigue quickly develops as new characters are introduced in the midst of conflicting social/economic times and later a world war. Those of us who have read the book agree that Kristy created memorable characters whose ache in the midst of conflict and injustice touched our lives and whose loss or triumph reaffirmed the resilience of the human spirit especially when barriers of the mind and heart can be removed.
Kristy said she completed the novel within 5 months, an amazing task. She asked three friends to help her edit and with their valuable input she was prepared to publish a few weeks later. Meantime, she had investigated the publishing business and found she had come up against a stone wall. Publishers had thousands of manuscripts submitted and she had no inside track to attract attention. When she lost hope of finding an interested publisher, she decided to self-publish. The very night she sat down to submit the book for self publishing, the name of a lesser known Christian publishing house appeared on line that she had not yet considered. She submitted the document and hit “send.” To her amazement this publisher responded with interest almost immediately, and after a long distance call to verify the authenticity of her Christian character, the serious business of contract, cover, and promotion were worked out. Kristy’s conclusion, “This was all a God thing.”
Kristy gives God the credit for her inspiration, motivation, and ability. We got to enjoy her testimory and feel proud that we have a talented Christian friend who is affecting change through her writing. BLINDERS in now on sale at <Amazon.com> And yes, Kristy revealed that she has already begun her second book!