The Story

Some babies are born in a car, a taxi, or an ambulance en route to the hospital. My baby was born in our big blue GMC Suburban on our way to a teen activity, Friday night, April 23rd, 2010. I’d just finished reading a book about a Nazi spy. As I mulled over the book, I got the idea for what would become Trust and Deception, an FBI novel.

Except that when Sean was born, he wasn’t Sean Rayden. He wasn’t even an FBI agent. Over the two years it took me to write the book, the main character and everything else morphed hugely—several times. And every time they morphed, the project got bigger. What started as a short story finished as a novel on April 16th, 2012, titled after its two main themes.

Trust and Deception by Melissa J. Troutman

My GIMP-made cover

I proudly sent it to my friends and, with some relief, considered it behind me. Well, maybe years down the road, when I was an adult with more life experience, I’d come back, edit Trust, and try to publish it. But for now, it was done and “out.”

June turned my ideas upside down. My mother went to a homeschool convention in Pennsylvania, where she saw a distributor called Finding Christ Through Fiction. She got talking with the owner, who said they’d recently begun their own publishing. In the process of conversation, Mom mentioned my book. The owner asked what it was about. Mom told her, and the the owner said she wanted to read it. Mom came home, told me the story, and gave me the business card. In a panic, I turned my story into a manuscript and sent it in.

That was Wednesday. Sunday night, I received an email from the owner saying she had read my book and wanted to publish it.

I couldn’t believe it. As I was driven to my knees by this overwhelming news, I thought of Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (NKJV)

Trust and Deception Melissa J. Troutman

I think our freelance designer did a better job, don’t you?

Publication hadn’t been on my radar this soon in my life. In a sense, I’d told God, “I’m not going to be a published author, at least of Trust, until I’ve grown up and know more about what I’m doing.” I’d limited God to my plans and expectations. But He showed me that night that He is not limited to my expectations. I told my parents about the email and broke down sobbing. God had completely overwhelmed me with this gift He’d dumped in my lap.

From there began an indescribable journey of learning. I got my contract on December 31st, 2012. After the New Year, we started the hard process of editing. I’d revised and overhauled plenty while writing Trust, so I thought it would be a quick, easy process. I didn’t realize the difference between editing and being edited. Being edited meant more writing, more researching, and more changing, just because someone else said so. Though tough, it was priceless (and sometimes funny) to see my familiar baby from a stranger’s perspective. I am indebted to my editor for her help in making Trust a better book.

Then came the end. We were done with the editing, and suddenly, we were done! The manuscript was sent to the printers, and I had three weeks to share the excitement.

Finally, on June 13, 2013, my book was “out.” No longer being published, but published. Done. I could finally relax and focus on other things.

As I look back over the three years of working on Trust, I see God’s hand everywhere—from providing contacts so I could write realistically, to giving me ideas so I could write period. Again and again He reminded me that He cares about my personal life, about my work, about a made-up story written by a teenage girl—about my precious brainchild who grew up to become not just a novel but also a published novel. Truly, I have a great God.

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(Note: If you’ve visited Trust and Deception‘s Pinterest board, you’ve seen that some pins include “book two” in the caption. Does Trust and Deception have a sequel? Not yet. While there are lots of exciting ideas, I have other projects on my plate right now. Maybe someday. :))