Local writer breaks into Christian book business with novel

Saturday, November 24, 2001

JACKSON, Mo. --An avid reader who always thought she might set up the stories differently in the books she read, Cindy Chubboy of Jackson can now sign copies of her first book.

"The Rose and the Sword," a Christian adventure and romance, is the story of Captain Drake Nickless, Lady Emily Camden and adventures on the high seas as the English guard against the Spanish Armada.

The novel is available through Christian bookstores and Word Aflame Press in Hazelwood, Mo.

Chubboy, who has written Sunday school literature for Word Aflame, the publishing arm for the United Pentecostal denomination, decided to try a novel after winning a writing contest sponsored by the publisher.

Though "The Rose and the Sword" isn't truly her first novel written, it is the first published. The first manuscript helped hone her skills, Chubboy said.

"When an artist paints, the first one isn't great but you learn technique so the second work is better," she said.

She started with an idea and a time period and began her story. Chubboy worked from an outline and knew what she wanted to accomplish with each chapter but some things just evolved.

Chubboy said she wanted to write something with some adventure and was intrigued by the idea of battles in the Spanish-English war. She also wanted her characters to have good morals and Christian standards.

"I thought about what attributes they might have," she said. She spent time meditating and thinking about their personalities.

Yet as she wrote, Chubboy found the characters took on their personalities. They did some things Chubboy didn't originally intend. "The story just unfolded," she said. "It was something that needed to happen."

Chubboy researches the time period used as the background for her novels. She's now in the midst of another set at the turn of the 20th century. "When you don't live in that era you need to know a little bit," she said.

Her second novel, tentatively titled "Flame of the Desert" is a historical fiction tale with archaeology, tomb raiders, biblical curses and a little bit from the legend of King Tut.

Nine months to sell novel

It took about nine months for Chubboy to develop her first novel and almost that same amount of time to find a publisher.

Without an agent, she couldn't get her foot in the door with some big-name Christian publishers like Bethel or Zondervan. Those publishing houses don't take unsolicited manuscripts. She went to Word Aflame almost as a last resort.

Choosing the artwork for the book's cover was probably more difficult than the editing process, Chubboy said. She did plenty of self-editing before submitting the manuscript. As she read sentences aloud, she'd change some words or phrases.

She knew what sort of elements she wanted to include in the book's cover and had tried to come up with a design. She is also a painter, so the work wasn't a chore, though she paints less often now that she's writing. The chore came in trying to take her ideas, suggestions from her husband and the artist's ideas and come up with one cover design.

The final editing and cover were finished by Oct. 1. Chubboy said it was amazing to pick up a copy of her first book and read it.

Chubboy will be at Gospeland Book Store in Westfield Shoppingtown West Park Dec. 1 to sign copies of her book. The book is only available through Word Aflame until December.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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