My Author Story (part 1) — Young Pride & Passion

This three-week series of sharing my author story, is in answer to Brent King’s question on my Ask Me Anything post: “I would be fascinated by your personal story…what fueled your passion for…writing and your desire to write.” Here is the author-side of that story.


In Kindergarten, I was asked to read a few pages from our primer in front of the class. I don’t know if my teacher actually said this at some point or if my 5-year-old imagination dreamed it up, but I truly believed she once told me, “Nadine, you are the best reader in the class.”

So when asked to read, I practically jumped out of my seat to prove to her — and to my fellow Kindergarteners — that I was the best reader. The only problem was…I’d had too much water at recess and really needed a restroom break. (See where this is going?)

I squirmed in front of the class, reading as fast as possible so I could be excused. What a relief! I finished the three pages.

“Would you like to continue reading, Nadine? You’re doing such a great job.”

I remember my mental process very clearly at this moment. Read or restroom? Pride or necessity? She said I’m doing a great job. I couldn’t let her down. “I’ll keep reading, Mrs. Haskins.”

So I went on. As I read I thought, Well, maybe no one will notice if I just go right here. Ah, the logic of a five-year-old.

That was not my best day in Kindergarten. But it’s the day that I always think of when I need evidence that my love for reading and all things revolving around the written word started at a young age.

BLOG - Girl & Book

I wrote stories all the time. The Invisible Dad was the first one I remember and it’s lost somewhere in my California childhood home. I tried my hand at poems (“Noah had hippos and bears, and camels eating pears…”) Not my strongest suit.

I was in and out of schools mixed with homeschooling as we moved around the US. If the teacher wanted a paper about an island of my dreams, it had to be in story form. If Mom wanted a paper on medieval times it would, of course, be the rebel princess jousting to avenge the death of her father.

Just before college came, a dear friend, Jennifer Griffith, took me to my first writer’s conference — the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference. That’s when I learned how much I didn’t know about writing and I made the decision to learn instead of quit. I had the rough draft of a novel under my belt and inspiration to turn it into a masterpiece.

Writers…go to a writer’s conference. It’s like pole-vaulting to a new world of authorhood.

Yet, even after that conference revelation, I hadn’t considered serious writing — you know, to get published. Up until then, I’d planned to write a book and get it bound for my personal library. Maybe I’d share it with my future kids. (Talk about limited dreams.)

College is when everything changed. I found myself in a major I didn’t like (non-writing related) and I grew increasingly passionate about writing. I started imagining and even pursuing a life as a professional author…but then God told me not to write. At least…not yet.

I’ll share that stage of the story with you next week. (You can stay updated on posts by inserting your e-mail into the “Receive My Blog Posts Via Email” box on the sidebar — top right.)

Okay, so what can you take away from this. My story is nice and all, but there needs to be application right?

  • Authors: go to a writer’s conference. There are big and small ones, and probably one or two in almost every state. Look for one and attend. They can be intimidating at first, but they transform authors and build community.
  • Don’t limit your dreams. It took me a long time to learn to dream big. I used to think writing only for myself was enough reason to devote hours to penning a novel. It’s not. God has much more fun with big dreams. 😉


When did you first find your love for reading or writing?

Authors: have you attended a writing conference yet?


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. What a funny story about your day in kindergarten! Heehee.

    I remember making small booklets with paper and staples when I was very young (maybe 7?) and writing stories inside and illustrating them. I knew even back then that writing was my passion. And my mom knew from when I was a tiny toddler that I loved books!

    I haven’t gone to a writers’ conference yet! I have my heart set on Realm Makers, but I should really look around for some local conferences too. 🙂

    • How wonderful that your passion started so young! So you continued the writing…did you continue drawing/illustrating at all?

      Yes, Realm Makers! I’m planning to attend for the first time next year. Can’t wait! definitely look around for a local conference. When I moved to Idaho I discovered the ACFW Idaho chapter and they host a small conference every year. (Idahope.) It was a lot of fun.

  2. Awesome story. Thanks for sharing!

    I loved reading since I can remember. I would check out “I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” all the time and had my mom read it to me, because I was too young to read at the time. I too stapled paper together and then wrote stories and illustrated them. Even had an author self-portrait on the back. ha! I was probably 8 at the time.

    I’ve been to a local writer’s workshop, but haven’t been to any of the bigger conferences yet. Soon! Hopefully, I can go to Realm Makers next year. It all depends on which month they choose.

    • I really want to see your 8-year-old author self-portrait now. 🙂

      What a good mom to read to you! I worked with a lot of kids through my graduate school days who had never been read to before and had never even owned a book (and we’re talking second and third graders!) So every time I see evidence of how a parent chose to read to their child, and it affected that child’s love for reading/writing, I get a deep breath of joy.

      I’m seeing potential for an awesome Realm Makers powow in the future. 😉

  3. Aw, what a great story! I always love hearing what awoke the passion to write in other authors!! Thanks for sharing, Nadine 🙂

  4. Nadine, It’s so great of you to respond to my curiosity. This was great. I couldn’t stop laughing about your early foray into the world of words. It quite explains the strength of your passion without another word, but of course I’m interested in the rest too. =)

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