The Story Behind the Story

A Single Bead

Today’s the big day… I finally get to share the cover of my book, A Single Bead, with my friends and readers! I hope you love it! Most of all, I hope you’ll read it, and tell your friends about it!

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the link to go to my Facebook author page, view the cover, and enter to win one of three books that my publisher, Pauline Books and Media, is generously giving away. First, though, here’s the story of how the story of A Single Bead came to fruition.

Just over two years ago, I thought I knew what God wanted me to do with my life. I recognized two special talents I had been blessed with – writing and speaking. I also had developed a deep love and appreciation for God’s Word, and for Christ’s Church. I saw a scarcity of Bible studies written for Catholic women, by Catholic women, and I wanted to fill that gap.

There’s one thing about Catholic Bible studies, though. The authors always have letters behind their names. So I thought I’d better figure out how to get a theology degree. I quickly realized that was going to cost a fair penny, and I knew that I would have to find a way to pay for it without tapping into our already tapped out finances.

I had written a children’s book on the Rosary, but never found a publisher. So, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could get that published and make a little money to at least help pay for a theology degree. I went to the website for one Catholic publisher – Pauline Books and Media – and saw that they were seeking Catholic young adult fiction. That struck a chord. But it was utterly ridiculous. I was going to write life-changing Bible studies, not frivolous fiction!

So, I laughed (literally, out loud) and said, “Well, God, if you want me to write young adult fiction, you’re going to have to give me the idea. Because I sure as heck don’t have one!”

And, though I didn’t hear him at the time, God laughed back.

A week or so later I got a tweet from @Catholici_T: “@afewbeadsshort, but have you ever pondered the power of just a single bead of the Rosary?”

I responded something along the lines of, “How true! I think I’ll write a blog post on that!”

But two hours later, the realization struck: It wasn’t a blog post. It was the title of a book, and the answer to a prayer.

One moment, I had nothing. The next, I knew that I was meant to write a story about a teenage girl who had lost her grandmother in a plane crash. At the memorial a year later, the girl finds a bead from her grandmother’s personalized rosary, but it’s not just any bead. It’s the bead bearing the girl’s initials. She would set out to find more beads, and there would be miracles and mystical events surrounding the beads that she found.

At the time, that was it. I knew there had to be a conflict, but I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. But, God had given me a start, and I was going to run with it.

Thanks to a writer friend (romance author, Kyra Jacobs), I knew that NaNoWriMo was coming up. NaNoWriMo is a friendly competition in celebration of November, National Novel Writer’s Month, in which authors challenge themselves – and each other – to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. Anyone and everyone who reaches 50,000 words “wins”. I knew myself well enough to know that this sort of “all or none” approach was a good one for me. And so, the same day that I received that tweet, I resolved to write a novel in November. A novel about a teenage girl and a single bead. God would provide the rest.

And, indeed, He did. Somehow, I found the time, and, somehow, every time I sat down to write I actually had something to write. By the end of the first 30 days, I had just over 50,000 words. I finished the book on my birthday, which also happens to be the Feast of St. Stephen, AKA the day after Christmas. It was the best birthday present I’ve ever received.

I edited it, and then sent it to a couple of friends for thoughts and suggestions. My sister was afraid to read it because she didn’t want to have to tell me that it was awful. But, when she finally buckled down and read it over spring break, she texted me with the news. She loved it. In fact, it was one of the best books she’d read in a long time.

A little more editing, and I submitted it to two publishers, one of whom was that same publisher that originally inspired my wry prayer to God: Pauline Books and Media. A month later, they let me know they were considering it. And, on October 7th – the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – they contacted me to let me know they wanted to publish it.

When I meditate on the Transfiguration, I often think about how Peter volunteered to make tents to house Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. But, tent making wasn’t what Christ wanted him to do. Similarly, I was all set to write Bible studies, but that wasn’t what God wanted me to do. At that moment, at least, He wanted me to write fiction for teens.

Ready to see the Cover?

8 comments on “The Story Behind the Story
  1. Dana Lashley says:

    So excited for you! It looks great!

  2. Stephanie Hanouw says:

    Stephanie, it is awesome!!!! I am so happy for you. May the Lord spread His message through your work and bring many to a salvation available only through Jesus’ work on the cross. God bless your efforts! ….and many more….love you

  3. Erin says:

    What a blessing you are! Can’t wait to read the novel! Xo

  4. Paula says:

    Stephanie, Congratulations! It looks amazing. May this book bring many blessings to you, your family, and everyone who crosses its path. I look forward reading it when it’s out. Have a wonderful evening.

  5. Stephanie says:

    So exciting!!! Can’t wait to read the book!!

  6. Cathy says:

    I said a prayer for your husband and your family. Your book looks wonderful.

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