Traveling to a different planet and finding a way to establish the love of the Lord in an adopted atheist teenage boy! These were some of the plot points that were running in Liz Henderson’s head, waiting to turn into an inspirational fiction book when she started writing her debut novel in the month of November in 2014.
The month here held great significance, since it was the time when authors around the World took up this challenge to finish their book (basically write 50K words of the book, which can later be increased) in 30 days during the NaNoWriMo event. Liz told us that she did her first NaNoWriMo as she wanted to know if she could write a “full-length” novel. When she did, the sense of accomplishment on that one solid month of hard work was a great booster, and since then she has done it almost every year, leaving 2017 or 2018.
But, it was not until the year 2018, when she finally thought of doing something with the book she had written four years ago. That is when she decided to self-publish her debut book, which releases today on 1st November, the day when another NaNoWriMo kickstarts and also the National Author’s Day.
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Liz wanted to get the book published sooner ( in 2019 to be precise), but as they say, divine timing is not in our hands, and in our opinion, this actually is the perfect time for such a book to come out. Why so? Well, that is the answer you will get glimpses of in our book review segment down below, and of course, the deeper understanding would come when you actually read it.
For now, read on to know more about this phenomenal fiction and its Author in our Special Story.
Taking the self-publishing route…
For an Author, the decision to go for self-publishing is a big one, and not everyone has the courage to do so. Liz’s friend had published her poetry book and talked about this path in a manner that made her feel less scared. That is how the decision came up to be, and that is also how a new journey began.
The entire process of writing and getting it published has been a learning experience for Liz. She shares,
“I started out being so proud of my book, thinking there wasn’t much that I needed to change to get it ready to publish. But the farther down the path I got, the more I discovered many new things.”
The first round of beta readers consisted of her friends from the Church and their feedback was gentle, but when the second round ended, ( which consisted of beta readers found online) she had to literally sit with the feedback for a few months before starting to work on all they had to say.
Of course, every author feels that their story is perfect, but Liz had the intrepidity to do everything she knew and kept learning anew, that would make her story stand out, and we as the reviewers of the book, can say that all her hard work and patience actually paid off, and so beautifully, that it doesn’t look like it’s her first book.
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After all the feedback and edits, and learning to do a lot on her own, while also sharing her journey on her blog, the book is now out for the World to read.
Sharing her thoughts on how it feels to finally see this day, she says, “It’s a bit of relief that all my hard work is almost done.” And like all debut authors, she has the excitement that people are going to read it, as well as a bit of fear of what if people don’t like it.
This is one of my fav scenes in my debut. Originally, it was written in present tense, but after beta reader feedback, I changed it to past tense, like the rest of the book. #christianauthor #selfpublishing pic.twitter.com/3kfIztJQ09
— Liz Henderson 🇨🇦 (@LizHendWrites) October 28, 2020
Who all can read Viridian Dreams?
Coming in the Young Adult Fiction category, she believes that people of all ages would enjoy reading it. She also says, “I think Christians would appreciate the book more, though I think I’m gentle about sharing my faith in the book.”
Coming to the point of faith, we would like to specify here that even though the book has a Christian inclination, it is all about faith in the Almighty. I as a reader can say that even though I am not a Christian, I could totally relate to the aspects which talked about the power of praying and believing that all will be well at the end- something that all religions of the World have in common. And if you are looking to build your faith in the Creator, or that power up there, you should definitely give this book a read. That all-inclusiveness towards the concept of faith, in general, is why we believe Liz says that she has been gentle with sharing her faith, which again is an amazing aspect of this fictional work of art.
We asked her, why should someone read her book, to which she said, “the main message of the book is that God has a plan for everyone. Sometimes it’s really hard to see what it is and difficult to trust Him. But God loves every one of His children so much and created beauty in our World.”
Meeting The Author, Liz Henderson
Until now, everything that you have read about Liz has been related to the book, but the mother of a 3-year-old son has some other interesting sides too, to her. One of them obviously being a doting mom to her darling kid, who takes most of her time of the day, which she obviously loves. The Author stuff happens when he goes to bed. A penguin enthusiast, Liz also loves to do jigsaw puzzles. She says, “1000 pieces is my usual difficulty. When I find a 1500 piece puzzle, I’m excited for a bit of challenge. I’ve even done a few 2000 piece puzzles.”
She also loves doing cross stitch and takes up other sewing projects when time allows now. In fact, at one point she was considering opening an Etsy shop to sell the decor she made, and if anyone is interested, I’ll show you an abandoned Instagram account where she had posted some of her projects.
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Although the immediate thing would be to see how her book gets received by the readers, which we are sure is going to be loved by almost everyone, unless they are not ready to see the beauty of life and faith.
Over the years, Liz has taken part in the NaNoWriMo many times, and this time too, she is going to start something, but Liz also shares that one day she would like to write slowly and edit as she writes.
Now that you know the story of how this book came into being, let us give you our review:
If by any chance you can recall the first line of this blog post, you know that traveling to another planet is a reality in this fictional book. But this journey is done through special gateways that bring forth the people of a planet that has been assigned by the Father himself to protect humans.
These gateways suddenly disappear, but somehow the main character Ezra Stumbles upon one and reaches the planet on a day when he gets to know that all his college applications have been rejected. Already having felt depressed by his life for many other reasons, he starts to find strength on the new planet where he also learns the deeper meaning of things he never even believed in.
Ezra has always wanted to make a positive impact in the World, and as it turns out, he and a girl named Petra eventually become the essential elements that do have a profound impact not only on this World but also on the other planet. To know more you will have to read the book, the link to which is available at the click of the picture given below.
Something else though we want to share here. Reading a book that can make us feel the need to believe in all the things that actually make life worthwhile is something that not all books are capable of doing, but this one does it perfectly. Of course, the writing is great, the depictions are on point, the fantasy elements are fantastic enough to feel like they might or might not be true, but believable enough to keep believing.
One of the things I personally conveyed to the Author that I really liked was the fact that even though I am a 30-year-old woman reading this book, I felt the excitement of a kid for the space-related things, also felt the fuzzy emotions of a teenager in love for the first time and even understood the deep meanings of concepts that one is able to understand after having lived a really long life.
All of that could be felt, for the writing was so apt, in all aspects. 200 pages of a journey to finding what was always sought but never believed in, is what the story of Ezra entails. I am sure you would love to know more and for that, you know what needs to be done.
Now coming to the point as to why this book has indeed come at the right time in our opinion (as we had promised of telling earlier)- the World today needs reasons to believe that there is goodness in the spirit of humanity, people actually need it the most these days.
Our World is fighting a battle and we need to know of ways through which we can win, and that is where this book comes in. It teaches you that you have superpowers that you take for granted, it asks you to believe, it instills a deep faith in your heart, and it encourages you to find and be who you were created to be.
We at Smile To Shine thank all the readers who are now ready to read this book and we would also like to thank Liz, for sharing her true emotions and all ups and downs of writing her first book. She has been brave enough to do what not many are able to do and has then been honest enough to share the not so glorious parts of her journey as well.
Possibly this is the reason we had already asked her to give a message to any new authors to which she said,
“Don’t give up. It’s not easy at times, but it’s so rewarding. Get people around to cheer you on. Twitter and Instagram are great to find other writers. Join challenges and comment on other people’s posts. There are a lot of free resources online too, particularly on YouTube.”
So, we hope the budding authors now know that dreams have ways to become a part of reality, that’s how Viridian Dreams came to exist for the World. If you truly want something to happen it will, just keep going and keep dreaming, BIG!
To Buy the Book, Click here.
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Images Courtesy of Liz Henderson