For some reason, at first I was expecting everyone to be older, with families grown or almost grown. Instead I found us split evenly with writers on both sides of 30. One of the Craftsman I met right away was Jon Wakefield, a soft-spoken but enthusiastic husband and father of two squirrelly boys from Virginia. He worked in technology, but he dreamed of being a full-time writer.
Prior to arriving, we’d all submitted our first chapter of our manuscripts and we received a notebook with everyone’s work and some evaluations that were to be completed prior to arriving. The genres varied from suspense, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy…you name it, it was there. One of the things we were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 was our overall interest in continuing reading the story (1 being uninterested and 5 being unable to put it down). After reading Jon’s chapter, I circled “1,” a number he’s never let me forget. (Thought to be fair, I think I only gave out a single 4.)
I learned more about writing working alongside my classmates and authors like James Scott Bell, Jerry B. Jenkins, and speaker/writer C. McNair Wilson during that one weekend than I had in the entire four years I’d spent in college writing classes. We were all stretched tremendously and six months later Jon called to run a new novel idea past me. I was immediately intrigued and told him to send me the first fifty pages when he was done. When he did, I forgot to write notes and had to read through it a second time.
Jon has come even further since then, he has started up his own copywriting business. He has become a leader in his community and spoken in public forums, and I just received a note from him this week telling me his new book Fatal Reality had just been picked up.
Jon isn’t the first writer in my circle to move another step closer to his life’s dream, and he certainly won’t be the last. And nothing gives me more pleasure than celebrating alongside them. Right now I only have articles and short stories to my name but I look forward to the day when I get to call Jon and say, “Guess what!”
Congratulations, Jon. I am incredibly proud of you!