May 02, 2014

My Work In Progress - The Journey of a Young Adult Fantasy - M. Laycock

Yes, it’s fantasy! This might seem like a departure for me from what I usually write, but the truth is I’ve been working on this one for years and it’s had quite a journey. I began writing it while living in the Yukon. I still have letters (yes, it was before the days of emails) that went back and forth between myself and some people who read the first draft. If you have been around the Christian publishing industry for a while you may recognize the name Bernard Palmer, author of the Danny Orliss books. A neighbour of mine knew him and offered to send it to him.

I was not raised a Christian so I had no idea who he was but I typed it up on an old typewriter and sent it off. He and his wife both read it and sent back a wonderful letter of encouragement. Marj said she started off reading to edit but then just got caught up in the story and read because she wanted to know what was going to happen. I was thrilled and decided to try and have it published. Fantasy was a hard sell back then, but I found an editor who was interested in publishing it. It came so close, but then the publishing house shifted focus and dropped their fantasy imprint. It was one of my first rejections and I was crushed. So I put the story away and didn’t touch it for some time.

But I kept being drawn back to it and sent it away again. Once again, it came close but was rejected. Then, a couple of years ago I heard that one of the top agents in the U.S. was going to be at Write!Canada and was willing to look at a few manuscripts. So I submitted the first 3,000 words and it was one of the few picked to be discussed by that agent. Turned out he loved it and wanted to see the whole manuscript. So I sent it off and waited. And waited. And waited. I emailed a few times but got no response so when his colleague was at that same conference the next year, when I pitched another story to her I told her about the fantasy that still had not been formally rejected. Soon after I had an email telling me, regretfully, they were not going to publish it. Again, the disappointment stung but this time I didn’t put it away I just kept working on it.

When Helping Hands Press invited me to be part of Kathy Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas series I was thrilled. It was a lot of fun working with a group of writers and the response to the stories was encouraging. My story, An Unexpected Glory, made it into the top reaches on Amazon. So I approached the publisher about doing this fantasy series. He responded right away and the process began. We hope to release the first book, which will come out as volumes of ebooks, in June. I am over the moon excited about seeing this one finally out there. :)

Now, to answer the questions Brenda has laid out for us –

Is it a new project or something you’ve been working on?

I guess I’ve already answered that one. :)

How did you get the idea?

The main character took shape as I was hiking in the mountains of the Yukon one summer. I started to imagine what it would be like to discover there were caves deep into the mountains, and it went from there.

What are you discovering as your writing is unfolding?

That sometimes I wish I was a plotter instead of a seat of the pants writer. In some ways it would be so much easier to know exactly where the story is going. But I just can’t seem to do it that way. The story has to unfold as I go. I’m discovering God has a lot to teach me as I write.

When do you plan to have this work finished?

As mentioned, the first book will release sometime in June. The second book is finished in first draft so still needs editing. Only about 1/3 of Book Three is written. I’m hoping to have it completed by the end of the summer, Lord willing. The working title is The Ambassadors Trilogy – first book will be Journey to a Strong Tower.

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. 

Her Christmas novella, An Unexpected Glory was just short listed in the short story category of The Word Awards, as is her devotional book, Spur of the Moment and two blog posts. Marcia's work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here. Visit Marcia’s Website


  1. Marica,
    Very exciting. I am thrilled for you.

  2. This sounds very exciting - both for you and the story itself

  3. So much to learn about you! What a surprise to hear you have been working on a fantasy novel. Exciting. All the best and I look forward to reading it in June! Blessings. G

  4. What fun to try a different genre--and how wonderful to finally get it in print. God's timing is perfect.

  5. Marcia,
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It's hard to face those rejections, but it's good to know that God's timing is perfect. Way to go!

  6. This is sooo encouraging to someone like me who has received two rejections so far, has few contacts and feels like she's getting a very late-in-life start...
    How well I remember the Danny Orlis series! That and Grace Livingston Hill was about all the Christian fiction there was back in my day. Neat that you had contact with the Palmers!

  7. Congratulations, Marcia, on your finally seeing your fantasy project/series coming out into the light of publication. I admire your work ethic and the example you set of working in faith on each writing project. Congratulations for being short-listed for several submissions to The Word Contest. May God continue to bless your writing.

  8. Thanks for your comments, folks - the Lord has blessed me so much through my writing journey. It's nice to be able to share just a small snippet of it with other writers. :)m

  9. I remember you talking about this fantasy novel that you had tucked away at a writer's conference several years ago. I always wondered if you would pick it up again! I'm so glad you did. Maybe it is just the right timing for it. Also, it gives me hope as I look at some of my older projects that I abandoned. Maybe someday I can resurrect them too!


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