While continued rain saturated the area and spirits of Hardin County residents last weekend, it did nothing to diminish the atmosphere of this year’s Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
Aptly themed, “Spreading Like Wildfire,” the conference focused on the art and business of the written word, and how those messages quickly can spread to receptive audiences.
After many successful years of partnership with area churches, KCWC 2019 Coordinator Hallee Bridgeman along with faculty, speakers and event staff were pleased to move into a larger facility for this year’s event.
Speaking to a crowd of nearly 100 authors during Saturday’s opening remarks, Bridgeman said, “Hosting this year’s conference in an environment specifically designed for learning is awesome.”
Coming as far as away as Nebraska, those attending the conference joined leading industry professionals in a weekend of learning and exploring of emerging trends influencing the publishing industry. Over the course of two days, participants for workshops on audiobooks, screen writing and navigating the complex world of online sales.
New this year, the conference extended an invitation to the next generation of American authors with their inclusion of teen and young-adult programming.
For Bridgeman, an author of multiple romantic suspense novels, the conference is significant for its singular purpose, which she shared in this year’s program.
“We have writers from every walk of life who author everything from 100-word flash-fiction, devotionals, sermons, to full-length Bible studies,” Bridgeman said. “God has given us all a gift – the gift of the pen (or the keyboard) to use for His Kingdom.”
Those attending this year’s conference heard to a keynote address from acclaimed Christian writer Susan May Warren. The author of more than 65 novels, Warren is a USA Today bestseller, and a Christy and RITA award-winning novelist. As a speaker, her humor and insight into the writing process have taken her around the globe.
Warren regaled the crowd with harrowing and often hilarious stories of her time as a Siberian Russia Missionary, along with inspiration to fuel the creative fire for all writers.
“You’re here because God put a dream in your heart,” said Warren in order to remind them of what she felt the true purpose behind their words is.
Founder of MyBookTherapy.com and Novel Academy, Warren joined in-demand editors, literary agents and publishers in offering one-on-one appointments for those eager to get their work in the hands of their future audience.
“The KCWC is so unique for its accessibility,” long-time faculty member Carlton Hughes said. “Publishing is about personal connections, and giving first-time authors and those just starting the process a chance to meet these industry players can boost their confidence and further empower their creative spirit.”
For Janet Morris Grimes, a Nashville-native now residing in Vine Grove, the conference was a positive step forward in her dream of being published. An aspiring novelist, Grimes pitched her heart-warming story of a community that rallies behind a man with Alzheimer’s to several literary agents and publishing houses.
“Writers are creative souls who typically spend a great deal of time alone, honing their craft,” Grimes said. “It’s so encouraging to feed off the energy of others at various stops along this journey. Here, we understand each other, and we trust that God has a plan for our writing.”
Plans have begun for the 2020 Kentucky Christian Writers Conference next June. For more details, go to kychristianwriters.com.