Fort Knox author Hal­lee Bridge­man recently celebrated the release of her 30th book.

She started writing her first book on New Years Day 1999. She finished it in six weeks and wrote nine more in two years. But after a divorce and new marriage, she pushed aside her writing and fed her creative urge by writing a homemaking blog called Hallee the Homemaker.

In 2011, she was ready to write books again.

“When all of my children were potty trained and — for the most part — sleeping through the night, I pulled my books out and started going through them,” she said, adding they all needed to be rewritten. “I had learned a lot about writing and they were unedited books with great stories but really immature writing.”

Several of her books were suspense novels and she said they needed to be brought up to date in a post 9/11 world.

Bridgeman published her first book on March 26, 2012. In total, her books have been downloaded more than 600,000 times, she said.

“I am local to the Eliza­bethtown area, but have spoken all over the world,” she said. “I love being in a room full of readers and hearing what worked and didn’t work in a story.”

Her most recent book, “Valerie’s Verdict,” was released Oct. 22.

“It’s the story of Valerie Flynn, who was violently attacked by her fiancé,” Bridgeman said. “As the date for his prison release draws closer, she relocates from Savannah, Georgia, back to her home in Atlanta and there, she reconnects with Brad Dixon.”

In the story, Flynn’s parents died when she was 3 and she was raised by her uncle who was Dixon’s father’s best friend, she said. Flynn lived in the guest house on the Dixon property and grew up with the family. Dixon had been in love with her but never expressed his feelings, Bridgeman said.

“When she moved to Savannah and then moved in with her eventual attacker, it broke his heart,” she said.

The story continues as the two recognize their feelings for each other and have to reconcile things before they can be together, she said.

Her books are categorized as Christian romance and romantic suspense and include a faith arc in each story.

“When I get an email or a letter from someone whose faith was positively affected, whose relationship with God was strengthened or whose relationships improved due to something he or she read in one of my books that inspired or convicted the individual, I am overwhelmed with joy and my work and the path of my work is affirmed,” she said.

She belongs to several romance writing groups, general market writing groups and Christian writing groups.

“What I get out of the Christian groups is a like-minded mission – to write for God or about God or intentionally writing to have an impact on God’s kingdom,” she said. “As much as I enjoy being with writers in other groups, the Christian groups come with a sense of fellowship and community.”

She has some tips to those who are starting out as writers.

Because writing and publishing constantly is changing, she said to make sure any advice is relevant to today.

“Whether you’re seeking traditional publication or planning to indepen­dently publish, always hire a professional editor,” she said. “And, most importantly, a real publisher will not charge you to publish your book — never pay a publisher for the privilege of publishing your work.”

Bridgeman’s e-books can be found at amazon.com. Paperbacks and audio books can be found at most bookstores, she said.

For information about Bridgeman and her books, go to halleebridgeman.com.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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