My Writing Journey: How the Bonfires of Beltane Was Born

posted by Michelle Griep for Mark Fisher

What kind of journey leads a person to devote years of their
life in front of a glowing monitor, pecking away at plastic keys, with no
expectation that the novel they’re writing will ever see print? What does such
a voyage look like?

Two Early Novels For Practice.

From an early age, I was an avid reader. And somewhere along the
way, I developed this crazy idea I’d become a writer of novels. Shortly after I
was married, I remember sitting down on the living room floor with a notebook
and pencil to write a novel. But I never finished it. My hands cramped. And
maybe there just wasn’t enough life behind me. Six years later, I sat down at
my PC Junior—today you’ll find them in a computer museum—and wrote what became
a massive, 600-page fantasy novel. It took five years to complete. It never
found a publishing home.
No sooner had I abandoned this project than I wrote a second
book, a novel of dark fantasy—this, of course, was before I was baptized. This
work was tighter, more polished, but it too failed to find a publisher. So I
switched to short stories, pumping out two dozen in the fantasy and sci-fi
genres, sending them to one magazine after another. But it was like fishing in
bad weather. A few nibbles that steal your bait. A few tugs on the line to let
you know that, yes, fish really are down there. But nothing’s biting today. For
a time, I gave up on writing. Fishing too.
Baptism, and a God-inspired Desire to Write.

Fast forward fifteen years to 2007 when I became a Christian,
read the Bible cover to cover, and was baptized. Then God seemed to light a
blowtorch to my desire to write. I wrote a half-dozen stories of spiritual
transformation and struggle. Then I convinced my church leadership board we
should publish a book, soliciting from the congregation spiritual short stories
(including four of mine), testimonies, and poetry. They agreed and we did. I
was a co-editor. We called it Tales from Calvary.

A Novel Is Published.

Then I revisited a story about a girl on an island under siege
from raiders. Ah, but the minute I sat down to write, she became a young man.
And the island suddenly situated itself a day’s sail off the coast of ancient,
Celtic Ireland. Then it struck me. Few people have ever heard the real story of
St. Patrick. How he was taken captive by Irish raiders and made a slave. How he
prayed to God, and God sent him visions. How he became a bishop and returned to
the island in AD 432 to confront the druids and spread the gospel across a
pagan land.
My story had become a 
novel of historical fiction. And my intrepid hero fought the druids, was
banished from his betrothed and his island home, and he landed on ancient,
Celtic Ériu
where he found St. Patrick. I dare say no more.
On June 20, Heritage Beacon Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse
Publishing of the Carolinas, will formally release the end of my journey. Check
it out HERE


wrote his first twelve pages at the age of ten, complete with drawings of a
prairie fire, Indians, and a stampede. More recently he’s been writing
Christian historical fiction in an early medieval setting. His writing career
only began in earnest after his baptism into Christianity, after twenty-eight
years working for IBM as a computer programmer, and after completing a Masters
of Ministry. Mark and his wife like to travel, with recent trips to Japan,
Ireland, Italy, and France. When he’s not working for the church he helped
plant in 2012, he’s walking his dog or at his desk writing.


his heart, Taran knows that sacrificing children to the sun god is wrong. He’s
heard of the one God they worship in distant Britain. But when he speaks out
against the druids who control his island home, they banish him to the sea.
Instead of a wedding to his beloved Laurna, there’s a tearful parting.
the sea lies ancient, Celtic Ireland. There wait the Roman evangelist, Patrick,
and two kingdoms ruled by powerful kings and their druid advisors. But travel
through this wild land can mean slavery or death. And the druids will do
anything to prevent Patrick and his followers from changing their ancient ways.
Taran find the spiritual truth he desperately seeks? Will he ever be able to
home and rejoin his beloved Laurna?