Whitney Ward

Why I Started Writing:

There’s a lot of backstory to how I became a writer. But I love backstory in a book because it shows you what shaped the character, why they have the convictions they do, and why they are passionate about certain things in the present—and my backstory is what made me who I am today.

I have rare autoimmune and immune diseases, and I’ve had them since birth. For the longest time, my specialists didn’t know what caused my diseases. They only knew they were rare and undiagnosed. My treatment was trial and error at best, and my health was a roller coaster of barely functioning to my immune system completely shutting down. Eventually, my specialists did find treatments that my immune system responded to. I was fragile but stable. 

 In 2013, my immunologist sent my case to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2016, I was given the news a rare gene mutation caused my diseases. It had mutated while I was in my mother’s womb, and I was the first person in the world to be discovered with it. Since I was the only patient for so many years working with my NIH team on this disease, and they knew I was a creative writer, they invited me to help name my illness. The name I chose was MAGIS Syndrome. MAGIS means “MORE” in Latin, and I chose this name because I wanted anyone who would be diagnosed with this illness to know they are MORE than their disease. 

 As you can imagine, my childhood was filled with countless doctor’s appointments. Many times, I had one or two a week and I missed anywhere from seventy-five to a hundred days of school a year. Growing up was pretty lonely, because my peers didn’t really understand what I was going through. How I found solace and comfort was by reading and writing. My parents could not keep me in books. Through reading, I could escape my reality to a whole other world where I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be, and the characters in the books I read became my dear friends. 

 Reading fostered my interest and love for writing. I have journals upon journals where I bared my soul of the sadness and pain because of what my disease took away from me as well as the joy and victories when I surpassed a limitation no one thought I would be able to surpass. I was constantly writing little essays, short stories, and at fourteen, I wrote my first YA novel. My love for reading and writing led me to get a bachelor's in creative writing and a minor in journalism. I use my platform to encourage the chronic illness community and remind anyone facing one of life's mountains that they are MORE. 

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

I’ve always loved fiction, and I believe the fiction books I have read have actually helped me become a better writer in nonfiction, YA, and children’s writing.  As a child, I loved Ann M. Martin’s Little Babysitter’s Club, books and Martha Finley’s historical fiction books, The Elsie Dinsmore Series. As a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy Miller Series. I mean, could there be any sweeter a love story than Todd and Christy? I’m thrilled she continued their stories into adulthood. As an adult, the authors who have had the biggest impact on my reading and writing are Karen Kingsbury, Lori Wick, and Francine Rivers. With the real and raw issues Karen Kingsbury tackles in the Baxter Family Series, to the way Francine Rivers brings light to the painful and heartbreaking events taking place in history, to Lori Wick’s sweet depiction of propriety and chivalry of America in the late 1800s, I admire these women and how they have pointed the world to the hope of Christ in their own unique ways and styles. It is my prayer I can do the same with the calling and purpose God has given me as a writer. 

Books I Have Written:

Elk Lake Publishing Inc has given me the incredible opportunity to debut as an author. I’m honored to have three books releasing in 2021. 

What I'm Working On Now:

MORE Than My Mountains2021 Nonfiction Christian Living Book— Elk Lake Publishing 

MORE Than My Mountains intertwines Whitney’s mountain climb with others who have faced seemingly insurmountable peaks. Learn how God gave them the strength to climb to the top. In MORE Than My Mountains, Whitney includes practical mountain climbing applications. At the end of each chapter, there are thought provoking questions.  

MORE— 2021 Children’s Picture Book Series— Elk Lake Publishing 

MORE Than Your Mountains focuses on children who struggle with disease. The story reassures readers that, though living life in the waiting room is scary, overcoming all of the tests and hospital visits will make them stronger in the end. Readers will learn that even though some people will be mean, God created them to be so much more than their disease. 

MORE Than Creation is perfect for all children. When reading it, kids will learn that God loves them even more than the birds, the seas, and even the stars. Even though He’s made some pretty awesome stuff, God’s greatest work is His children. 

Whitney Ward

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