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A Surprise Writer

I always had a creative mind and loved making up stories. This often got me into a ton of trouble, like when I convinced my best friend of about seven years old that there were fairies at the bottom of my garden and if she came at midnight, I'd introduce her to them. It wasn't quite midnight, but she stole out of her home in the pitch dark, got her little bicycyle and came to meet my fairies. Both sets of parents scoured the neighbourhood in their cars looking for a lost little girl in the dead of night. Neither of our parents appreciated our adventure and my story telling was severely curtailed for a while.

When I reached my teens, I was encouraged to become a Sunday School teacher. I decided I wanted to put on a play at Christmas with my class of 8-9 year olds. I didn't know where to get a play so it seemed sensible to write the story myself. I put on what I think was probably a most creative rendition of the Christmas story but the adults made a big fuss, and I had found something I loved to do.

At the age of seventeen I went to study nursing, my passion since I was a very little girl. Within a few months, I came to know the Lord, and a few weeks later, I met the most fabulous guy with gorgeous dark brown eyes. 'Nuff said. We immediately became an item. I completed my nursing training while he attended theological college.

At that time, I found something else I loved to do. I started writing poetry. Every week my husband received a long letter together with several poems. We got engaged a few months before our training finished, and married the next year. Just over a year later, he accepted a call into fulltime ministry in Cape Town, and we moved there with our young baby. Come Christmas, I returned to what I had loved to do when I was younger, and I wrote and produced a Christmas play. (Probably quite a bit more accurate than my earlier one!) From then on, I wrote plays for every special occasion and loved writing every one of them.

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done (Psalm 118:17 NIV)

Fast forward many years, and I was knocked off my feet with aggressive cancer. One day, I was lying on my bed fairly sure I didn't have long to live, when I flipped my Bible open. A verse leapt at me, "I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done" (Psalm 118:17). I knew this was for me, and that somehow, despite all the negative indications, God was telling me I was going to live. I was always a chatterbox so I presumed I was going to tell everyone about what God had done in my life.

A year after my treatment, during a Quiet Time, I was having a pity party. We had moved, and I knew no one. "How can I tell people about the things you have done when I don't know anyone?" I grumbled at the Lord. I flipped open my Bible - and there it was. The same verse. "I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done." Sighing, I turned to my daily reading, and the verse of the day was Habakkuk 2:2-3 MSG: "And then God answered, 'Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.'"

I had asked God a direct question. And here He was answering it.

And then God answered, 'Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run' (Habakkuk 2:2-3 MSG).

God wanted me to WRITE about what He had done in my life. I immediately started to write messages for devotional books. That progressed, and my first book was published by Revell publishers, Strength Renewed - Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer. I had discovered my calling. I was doing what I loved.

Since then I have published fifteen books, ranging from devotional, to non-fiction, to historical biblical fiction, and finally I decided to try my hand at Christian contemporary fiction. Fiction writers are encouraged to "write what they know" and so I started a story about a family in the ministry. The family is nothing like mine (thank goodness) but I was able to pick up inspiration from our lives as I wrote. That one book was followed by a prequel, and the third book in the series is well on its way.

Last year was a traumatic family time and I got no writing done at all, but come the start of this year, I couldn't wait to get back to doing what I love most, and I spend most of every day turning out stories, writing two different genres at a time. In between my books, I'm writing blog posts and short articles, because I am happiest when I'm doing what I love most.

If anyone had told me as a child that one day I'd be an author I would have laughed at them. (So would my teachers.) You may find as you grow up that there are all sorts of things you think you might do with your life. But it is only as you start to listen to God and follow His ideas that you will find yourself moving into an area which He has set aside for you. You will begin to feel more fulfilled than ever before, because you are starting to use the gifts that God gave you when He first put you together. It may take a while, but when you get there, you will find tremendous joy because you are doing, not what you trained to do, not what you were told you should do, but what you most love to do.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".' (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Shirley Corder is a recently widowed author, living in a cottage just six minutes from the sea on the Eastern Coast of South Africa. She writes in different genres, but her desire is that no matter what she writes, it points her readers to God and His incredible love for them.

Use the links below to find the books Shirley mentions here.

Who is the Real Amanda, the prequel:

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