The Over 50 Writer

AN UNEXPECTED GIFT FROM GOD by Jo-Anne Berthelsen
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 by Patti Shene

FEATURED BOOK:  Down by the Water

AUTHOR:  Jo-Anne Berthelsen

PUBLISHER:  JMB Books

GENRE:  Australian historical fiction

SERIES OR STAND ALONE:  Stand alone

TARGET AGE:  18-80

 

 

 

IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME AUTHOR JO-ANNE BERTHELSEN TO THE OVER 50 WRITER. JO-ANNE SHARES THE STORY OF HOW GOD GIFTED HER WITH A SECOND CAREER.

 

 

 

AN UNEXPECTED GIFT FROM GOD

 

 

 

by

 

 

 

Jo-Anne Berthelsen

 

 

 

My later-in-life writing journey began in mid-2003, while travelling around Turkey with a friend. I was at a turning point in my life, having recently left a pastoral position in our church in quite an exhausted state. One day, as I sat reading my Bible near the Mediterranean Sea, I asked God to show me what I should do next in my life. Here is what I recorded in my journal on that occasion:

 

 

 

Isaiah 42:9 (NIV): ‘See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.' Lord, I know the former things are gone, but please open my ears to hear you announce the ‘new things'!

 

 

 

I turned to my Bible again, and the very next words I read were verses 18-20 of that same chapter: "Hear, you deaf: look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but have paid no attention, your ears are open, but you hear nothing."

 

 

 

It had long been a dream of mine to write, but I had always felt it was somehow not quite a legitimate way to spend my time. Anyway, who would want to read anything I wrote? Now, however, as I read these words from Isaiah, I felt they contained a gentle rebuke from God, a kind of loving ‘wake-up call', if you like. It was as if God were saying to me, with great patience but also with a sigh: Jo-Anne, you know I've already shown you what to do next! Go home and start writing!'

 

 

 

And that is what I did. After returning home, I began to map out my ideas for an historical novel inspired by a Czech migrant who had attended our church years earlier. The following year, at the age of 56, I wrote and wrote, all the while doubting I could generate enough words to create a full-length novel—yet I ended up writing over 170,000 words!

 

 

 

In 2005, my novel was accepted by an Australian Christian publisher, who later asked me to divide it into two, which took many more hours of work. Finally in 2007, when I was 59, my first novel Helena was published, followed by its sequel in 2008. Since then, I have written and published five more novels and two non-fiction works, Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey and Becoming Me: Finding my true self in God.

 

 

 

My aim in writing each of my books has been to draw my readers closer to God in some way—and this has certainly been the case with my latest novel, Down by the Water, an historical novel set in Queensland, Australia, in the early 1900s. Through sharing my main character Meg’s story, I explore the theme of experiencing God’s love and grace and how this can change our lives so radically. Other interrelated themes are dealing with guilt, receiving God’s forgiveness and allowing that forgiveness to then flow on to others. As well, because Meg is an artist, I explore how we can use our God-given gifts to bless others and also how God speaks to us in different ways and draws us closer in different ways, according to our gifts/personalities.

 

 

 

What a privilege and joy to be able to write about such wonderful themes! I am so grateful to God for the unexpected gift of my later-in-life writing journey, for the fulfilment this has brought and for the many opportunities to share God’s love with others, not only via my writing but also via speaking at both church and secular groups.

 

 

 

Down by the Water Book Blurb

In 1909, Meg Porter heads to Brisbane to study art, but a family tragedy changes everything. Heartbroken, she decides to give up her art classes and accept a marriage proposal.

After a miscarriage, Meg embarks on a journey of dealing with the past and of receiving God’s love and grace. Yet she struggles to forgive her mother—and to overcome her own guilt.

As the family grows and relocates, Meg learns to value her artistic gift again and to draw closer to God. Yet the war brings further family tragedy. And life becomes so busy, as she supports her husband and cares for their five children.

How can Meg keep her growing faith—and her artist heart—intact? And how can she ever forgive her mother?

 

Amazon (US) buy link for Down by the Water

 

 

 

Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney, Australia, and is the author of seven published novels and two non-fiction works, Soul Friend and Becoming Me. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked in teaching, editing and local church ministry. Jo-Anne loves encouraging others through both the written and spoken word and is a keen blogger. Visit Jo-Anne at her website and blog.

 

www.jo-anneberthelsen.com

www.joanneberthelsen.wordpress.com

 

 

SUBSCCRIBE TO PATTI’S BLOGS HERE


Comments

Jo-Anne Berthelsen From Sydney, Australia At 9/17/2021 5:33:29 PM

Thank you, Patti, for the opportunity to share my story on your blog. I enjoyed writing it and it's also lovely to be able to connect with new people this way from where I live 'Downunder'!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Jo-Anne. It is an honor to host a guest from so far away. It is a blessing to share your story.

Natalya Lakhno From CA At 9/16/2021 3:16:45 PM

Thank you for introducing yet another new author <3

Reply by: Patti Shene

Thank you for being such a faithful reader of the blog, Natalya!

Jean Alfieri From CO At 9/16/2021 1:36:43 PM

Such an encouraging personal message. Thank you, Jo-Anne, for sharing your story!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Jean. Thank you for visiting and leaving a message for Jo-Anne.

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Patti Shene
3/19/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR DARLENE FRANKLIN
Patti Shene
3/4/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR MICHELLE GRIEP
Patti Shene
2/20/2015

NEGOTIATING THE LEARNING CURVE
Patti Shene
2/6/2015

WHEN ENCOURAGEMENT COMES YOUR WAY
Patti Shene
1/30/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR SANDY NADEAU
Patti Shene
1/14/2015

I AM A WRITER--OR AM I REALLY?
Patti Shene
1/1/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR GEORGE DUNCAN
Patti Shene
12/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR MARTHA ROGERS
Patti Shene
11/21/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR EDITH EDWARDS
Patti Shene
11/6/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
Patti Shene
10/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CAMILLE EIDE
Patti Shene
10/2/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR FRANCES SUSANNE BROWN
Patti Shene
9/18/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR AVA PENNINGTON
Patti Shene
9/4/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR LILLIAN DUNCAN
Patti Shene
8/21/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CYNTHIA TONEY
Patti Shene
8/6/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CARRIE STUART PARKS
Patti Shene
7/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR & PUBLISHER TRACY RUCKMAN
Patti Shene
7/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR JANET SKETCHLEY
Patti Shene
6/18/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR ANE MULLIGAN
Patti Shene
6/4/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR REBECCA CAREY LYLES
Patti Shene
5/15/2014

DARK BIOLOGY BY BONNIE DORAN
Patti Shene
5/1/2014

BY THE WATERS OF KADESH BY CAROLE TOWRISS
P
4/17/2014

WHERE HOPE STARTS BY ANGELA D. MEYER
Patti Shene
4/3/2014

THE CHARM BRACELET BY SUSAN PAGE DAVIS
Patti Shene
3/20/2014

Love Redeemed by Kelly Irvin
Patti Shene
3/5/2014

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley
Patti Shene
2/20/2014

WELCOME WRITER DELORES LIESNER
Patti Shene
2/5/2014

The Heartbeat of the Novel by James R. Callan
Patti Shene
1/15/2014

Don't Let Bible Contradictions Rob Your Faith
Patti Shene
1/2/2014

Welcome Author Lilliann Duncan
Patti Shene
5/30/2013

Confessions of a Reluctant Reader
Patti Shene
5/9/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR LENA NELSON DOOLEY
Patti Shene
5/2/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR KATHI MACIAS
Patti Shene
4/24/2013

Review of Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle
Patti Shene
4/18/2013

I'm back
Patti Shene
4/11/2013

Welcome Author JoAnn Durgin
Patti Shene
2/14/2013

Welcome Award-Winning Author Susan Page Davis
Patti Shene
2/7/2013

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
Patti Shene
1/30/2013

Introducing Jeanette Windle and Congo Dawn
Patti Shene
1/23/2013

Author Carole Johnson on Perseverance
Patti Shene
1/17/2013

The Value of Social Media
Patti Shene
1/9/2013

A Glimpse Into the Future
Patti Shene
1/2/2013

Welcome Author Jo Huddleston
Patti Shene
12/20/2012

Give Some Holiday Hope for Just $3.99
Patti Shene
12/14/2012

Great Christmas books from Lena Nelson Dooley
Patti Shene
12/7/2012

Welcome to Author Jude Urbanski
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

A Writers Journey Part IV
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Interview with Author Kelly Irvin
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Whose prophecy do you believe?
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Welcome Author Michal J. Webb
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Meet Author Sharon Shrock and the Women of Valley
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Welcome Author Lillian Duncan
Patti Shene
11/13/2012