Friday, March 30, 2012

People are Talking: Share Our Excitement

Hi Friends,
We wanted to share some of the good buzz we have gotten about our Treasuring Grace book. It makes us feel so good that such a positive story is well-received. This is from the UP Catholic reprinted with permission.  

by Carol Hollenbeck

It came to her in a dream. Literally. Tracy Roberts of Iron Mountain woke one morning from a particularly memorable dream. “I never dream like that,” she said. “It was so vivid, like watching a movie.”

Her mind kept returning to the dream, and she became convinced that this was a story that needed to be told. She discussed her conviction with her parish priest, Fr. Mike Woempner, and their deacon, Don Christy, as well as a psychiatrist. “This is of God,” Deacon Don told her. Both the psychiatrist and Fr. Paul assured her that God sometimes speaks to us through dreams.

With those assurances, Tracy resolved to put her dream into book form. But then she needed a writer. In only one of a series of amazing coincidences, she met her eventual co-author, Rob Plumley, who was an aspiring writer. “At the time, I had a manuscript completed, but the publishers I sent it to rejected it. I really wanted to have something published,” he said.

Tracy and Rob both attend St. Mary Queen of Peace Church in Kingsford, and one day after Mass, they discussed the book. “The dream was the basic idea,” Tracy explained. “Rob and I talked. Then he started writing, filling in the details. When he gave me the first few pages, it was perfect!”

The pro-life novel, “Treasuring Grace,” tells the story of a woman who has a secret that she has kept for years. It describes how the secret affects her and her relationships. While there are subtle hints throughout the book, the ending revelation is still a shock.

Tracy has been deeply involved in the pro-life effort for several years. “I saw the Precious Feet pins,” she said. “I thought about them, and then, about six years ago, started Birthright, a pregnancy service in Iron Mountain.”

While Rob is not directly involved in pro-life, he is a supporter. “That was Tracy’s precondition for writing this book,” he said. “The author had to be passionate about life as well as a writer.”

“My goal in writing the book is to open people to the truth, and open them to healing and forgiveness as well,” Tracy said.

“My purpose was to encourage people to avoid abortion and help them get beyond it if one had occurred,” Rob said. “The book talks about how trivially abortion can be treated, and how dramatic it becomes later on in life.”

The book is purely fiction, and neither Rob nor Tracy based their characters on anyone they have met. But Tracy noted that stories she’s heard from women who came to Birthright gave her insights as she and Rob wrote “Treasuring Grace.”

“Abortion is accepted in a lot of areas,” Tracy said. “But often, deep inside your conscience, a part of you does feel guilt and pain.”

“It’s the path of our society,” Rob agrees. “We haven’t gone in a direction that nurtures life. Just look at the school shootings, bullying, kids who have no respect. A while ago, when baby Jessica fell down a well, the whole country was concerned. Yet she was only a few months out of the womb. I can’t believe that concern for life hasn’t come down to kids at every level.”

Tracy and Rob agree that this is a book that was meant to be. The sequence of coincidences that occurred, starting from the day that Tracy had her dream, is just too much to discount.
“It makes me trust that God has a plan,” Tracy said.

“It certainly wasn’t our plan,” Rob agreed. “All the coincidences had us think there was a plan being carried out. But there were plenty of stumbling blocks that made us think it wasn’t God’s doing, too. Now, we want more people to know about it. I hope it touches thousands.”

The plan began to work soon after Tracy had her dream. She had decided it needed to be co-authored, but she didn’t know any writers. One day, Tracy was on her way with other women of her parish to a retreat at Marygrove. “I’m usually pretty private, but I told them about my dream and my hope to have it published,” she said. “I knew they’d pray about it at the retreat.”

One of the women in the car was Rob’s mother. She knew Rob was trying to get his manuscript published. In a misunderstanding, she told Rob that Tracy had had a book published and suggested he talk to Tracy about the process. Tracy and Rob met one day after Mass, straightened out the misunderstanding and met again a few days later.

“Things lined up after that,” Rob said. “I had just lost my job, so I had time to write. I started in the spring of 2009. I finished writing in August of 2009, just as I got an offer to go back to work.”
“I sent the manuscript out to different publishers,” Tracy continues. “But it wasn’t accepted. Then, in the summer of 2010, I felt I should go to a Bible study class. I was talking about the book to a woman I saw there and she asked me what I needed. I said, ‘A publisher.’ She said, ‘I have one for you.’ She introduced me to a man at the class. Once he heard the story and prayed about it, everything came together.”

“Treasuring Grace” was published in November 2010 by Healthy Life Press of Roseland, Fla.
Reaction to the novel has been positive, Tracy and Rob say. It was nominated as Book of the Year for 2011 by the Christian Small Publishers Association. Located in Charlotte, N.C., the association represents, promotes and strengthens small publishers in the Christian market.

Tracy and Rob are continuing to pursue the dream. “We want to make the story into a movie,” Rob said. “Now we need to find a producer.”

“I see it as a movie,” Tracy added. “The way it is written, a movie would portray it really well.”
“Treasuring Grace” is available at Sacred Heart Religious Good, Marquette; Bookworld, Escanaba; Bookworld and The Holy Store, Iron Mountain; Bishop Baraga Shrine and Bookstore, L’Anse; and online. Signed copies are available for $15 from Rob Plumley,

Tracy Roberts lives with her husband, Doug, and four children, Tyler, Trevor, Renee and Grace, in Breitung Township near Iron Mountain. Rob Plumley and his wife, Linda, and son, Eddie, also reside in Breitung Township.

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