For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Nigeria Lockley, the Neophyte Author. I’m new to the scene. I’m walking in that newness and totally enjoying my freshman year as a published author. I write fiction for the renewed mind from my Harlem co-op or the A train.
My journey to the Promised Land of publishing started quite some time ago. It actually began at the end of the summer of ’85. At four years old I declared that I wanted to be a writer after my eldest sister taught me to read. I didn’t stay on this road or in my lane the whole time. I was all over the place—and desperately in need of a touch of grace. Needless to say, He touched me otherwise Tyora Moody wouldn’t have offered me the opportunity to guest blog on Black Christian Reads (thank you, Tyora J).
Although, I’ve been using a road as a metaphor for the process that I went through to get from aspiring author to author I got here on an ark.
In 2010, while waiting to be interviewed for a teaching position at a high school I walked into the library across the street from the school. I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “The first book that you pick up is your publisher.” I walked straight ahead to the wall of books and plucked a book off the shelf. It was written by E.N. Joy and published by Urban Christian. That’s when I started building my ark. After that interview (by the way, I didn’t even get that job) I ran home, pulled out my manuscript, and got to work.
Then life happened…I had to wean my six month old off the breast, transition my five year old into a new school for kindergarten, and begin teaching at a transfer school. I wrote off and on waiting for the moment when I would connect with my “publisher”. In 2012 I found out about the Faith and Fiction Retreat via a post on Facebook by Michelle Stimpson. After looking into the retreat I discovered that there would be pitch sessions (a pitch session is blip in time in which an author has the opportunity to verbalize to publishers what their book is about with the hope of securing a contract).
After learning about those pitch sessions I went back to diligently building my ark. About a month before I was set to depart the memory card containing the book I was set to pitch was stolen from my cell phone. I worked until my eyes were cross every night trying to retype the book. The night before I was set to depart a close friend of mine said to me, “I don’t know why you’re wasting your time doing all of this you’re not going to get anywhere.” Can you imagine how many times people said that to Noah over the course of the some odd one hundred years it took him to build the ark?
Only Noah had heard the word from the Lord and there was no visible sign to those around him that this flood was coming, however Noah was completely obedient to God despite the naysayers, “And Noah did according unto all the Lord had commanded him.” (Genesis 7:5)
After those remarks I checked my progress. I was nowhere near done or ready in the way I needed to be, but I remembered my God, and instead of quitting or going off I asked my friend, “Don’t you believe in my God? I mean, even if you don’t believe in me don’t you believe that my God is able?” I can’t recall what my friend’s response was because I went back to building my ark.
When I was done, the Lord brought me exactly where He said He would. A month after my pitch session I landed a two book deal with Urban Christian and now I am here with no intentions of going anywhere.
The Lord brought me here. He told me to build the ark (write the book) and there were many days when it didn’t look like the rain was going to come, but it did. He’s not a man that he would lie. If you’ve heard the voice of the Lord, if you’ve received a vision from the Lord, or dreamed a dream that no else has seen—build your ark. No matter what it looks like believe Him.
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