Lisa Tawn Bergren: How a Writing Break Helped Her Career
- Thursday, November 01, 2007
Accomplished author Lisa Tawn Bergren has worked in various facets of Christian publishing, but the most significant turn in her career (thus far) occurred when she obeyed God’s instruction to temporarily give it up.
In 2001, amid an abundance of opportunities, Bergren took a break from an industry she loved.
She resumed writing four years later. However, instead of returning to her previous genres of contemporary and historical romances and children’s books (including the perennial best seller God Gave Us You) she penned The Begotten, a supernatural medieval thriller that earned her accolades from industry professionals and became a 2007 Christy Award finalist.
Bergren, the author of 28 books, recently shared from her home in Colorado Springs, Colo. how following God’s directions continues to be the most rewarding aspect of her literary career.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved curling up with a good book. I always enjoyed writing. I got a degree in English literature (but) I never really considered that I could possibly be a writer. I knew English would be usable in business or marketing. Writing a book seemed a romantic ideal.
What path did you take after college?
I was a “ski bum” in Park City, Utah. I really found myself in a dark place because I drifted so far from my foundation of faith. I was bartending on Sunday mornings. I was walking on the wild side. It was Christian books and Christian music that brought me back to my knees and helped me understand what I was missing. I left Park City and went to Israel and Egypt. I decided to come home and work in an industry that had made such a difference for me.
Where did you start?
I worked for a Christian music company, helping on a variety of fronts, with marketing and with whatever else was needed. I had a met a friend of a friend in Park City who was writing Harlequin romance novels. There was something about knowing someone who had done it that made it click—a real person can write a book.
At that time in Christian fiction, there was not a lot of variety. You had Janette Oke, Frank Peretti. I’ve always liked writing something different than someone else out there. I wrote a contemporary Christian romance novel.
While you were pitching your book to Multnomah Publishers, you also sought a staff position. Where did that lead you?
I received an offer for my first book, Refuge, on the same day I started working at Multnomah. I was a marketing coordinator and then a marketing manager and then the editor-in-chief of the Palisades (contemporary Christian romance) line. I ended up writing six novels for them.
I was part of the leadership team that started WaterBrook for Random House and served as editor of the fiction line for them for four years. During that time I also wrote three historical novels and women’s fiction.
By then you had married and started a family. Did this change your aspirations?
I went home to be with my babies (two daughters) when they were 5 and 2. During that time, I wrote two contemporary general novels that could work for men and women. I also launched a company called Good Books and sold books and gifts from home.
When and why did you stop writing?
I was teaching at a writers’ conference (in 2001) and God gave me two words: ‘fallow season.’ I’m a doer, so it was crazy and illogical to me to take a fallow season. Contracts were available to me and we were in need of the money. But He was so clear. I prayed and tried to negotiate Him down to one book. He was very persistent and insistent.
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