Jennie Louwes

Why I Started Writing:

I was fortunate enough to attend a Young Author’s Festival at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the tender age of eight when I was in the Third Grade. I watched as Steven Kellogg brought his illustrations and stories to life on stage. Before I left the College that day, I waited in line with my mother to meet Steven Kellogg face-to-face. He signed his name with a mouse caricature on a plain white sticker on the inside flap of his book “The Island of the Skog” and handed it to me. I still have it and now enjoy reading it to my own children and reflecting back on the memories.

In Fourth Grade, my teacher, Mrs. Connie Huisman, instituted a daily forty-five-minute period of time where we had to sit quietly at our desks and write. She would play instrumental music on a cassette tape on her small boombox that sat atop a cabinet behind her desk. The music inspired and led me within my writing. I was one of the few students who looked forward to this period of time. She would give us specific topics to write about but we were also told we could write freely. I wrote freely and many stories came from that.

Mrs. Huisman took me aside as the class was being let out of the room for lunch and recess one day to tell me I was a very good writer and that I should consider being one. Her words have stayed with me for my lifetime. They instilled confidence in me and established my course.

In Eighth Grade, the yearbook came out with an inside spread that denoted what each graduate would be remembered for. During the decision-making process, I had been nominated to be remembered for singing like Amy Grant or for writing novels. The novel aspect of myself won out.

By my senior year of high school, my classmates floated around that I would make a great English teacher. However, as an introvert I have not held a great interest in teaching large classrooms face-to-face with my insights depicting the greats within literature. Instead, it has been the writing that has won out time and time again.

I write because I must. From letters to blog posts to manuscripts and the writing of professional book reviews. I pray as my pen meets paper, I ask for the Holy Spirit to work through me, and when the words flow, I trust that it is not just me doing the writing but He who is within me making His presence known to the recipient on the other end.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

During my formative years, my life would not have been complete had it not been for authors such as Arleta Richardson, author of the In Grandma’s Attic series of books, L.M. Montgomery’s, Anne of Green Gables, or Frances Hodgson Burnett’s, The Secret Garden.

In high school, and by far one of the most transformative books I read as I came into my own, would be Victor Hugo’s, Les Misérables. I have read it several times now, and it has never failed to impress me nor touch me emotionally reaching into the very depths of my soul.

As a grown-up woman and entrepreneur, it’s books like Rachel Hollis’, Girl, Wash Your Face, that encourage, prod, inspire, and keep me moving forward.

And, in the writerly world of books, a high-light for me has been reading An Editor’s Advice to Writers; The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner. I have bookmarked it up the wazoo and know it is something I will return to again and again.

Books I Have Written:

I have five manuscripts in rough draft format that are complete. Only one have I fully pitched from the initial idea stage to the completion of a line-edited book proposal and it’s this book I’ll be leading with: ABC’s of Motherhood; Encouragement to Build Upon.

Although I’d love to say I’ve become like one of the authors who have influenced and inspired me during my formative years, I have yet to hone my skills to intricately weave a fictitious tale and characters that embody life so well as if they were sitting alive next to me as I retold their story. Instead, my writings are nonfiction and either solo journeys or compilations put forth by myself with other writers joining in to include working titles of two future offerings: While You Wait and Renounced.

What I'm Working On Now:

My current project is similar to that of Intellectual Foreplay by Eve Eschner Hogan, M.D. However, my book is being written from a Christian worldview, faith-based rather than secular in subject matter and nature. A book people can read with their perspective life-partners to determine compatibility prior to marriage. Especially helpful during these pandemic days and long-distance dating that’s prevalent within our modern age.

Jenny Leigh Smith

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