Looking over books on my shelves, I pulled off 14 books whose authors I know, some more personally than others. Two are members of BookCamp: Julie McGhghy and Laura Lynn Hughes. Some are in our Heartland Christian Writers group: John Walker, Joyce Long, and Linda Sammaritan. Two I know from churches: Gretchen K. Engel and David Lantz. Callie Daruk is a blogger; so is Peter Heck. Richard J. Sherry I know from Asbury College; and Hilary McDowell I met in Ireland. Three I met at writers conferences and webinars: Marlene Bagnull, James N. Watkins, and Mary E. DeMuth. One is my husband, William B. Coker, whose three books I’ve edited and prepped for publication.
I could have added one by our son and another by a grandson with the help of his brother. Proud of these family members who made time to write and publish. I’m sure if I searched further I’d find other books by authors I’ve known through the years.
As I consider this search and find, the thought surfaced that many books have introduced me to their authors who have become like close friends. The first book I read by Francine Rivers was The Atonement Child; and since I am thoroughly pro-life, I wrote to her. Rivers surprised me with a warm letter that I’ve kept. Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s books have a special place on my shelves and in my heart. I was a teenager when I first read The Diary of Anne Frank and she introduced me to a young girl’s view of Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Then there are numerous devotionals I’ve collected and read, some more than once. I gravitate to the classics, such as those written by C.H. Spurgeon, Thomas R. Kelly, E. Stanley Jones, Hannah Whitall Smith, Amy Carmichael, Oswald Chambers, and Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. Recently two authors, Bob Hostetler and James N. Watkins, have compiled devotionals from writings by Samuel Logan Brengle and Thomas A. Kempis, among others. I’m grateful for the contributions these author-friends have made to my spiritual growth. They could do the same for you.