It should have been the worst thing that could ever happen to a writer.
Sarah Evangeline Martin was deep into working on a book about a cat named Snowball when her older brother, Max, accidentally deleted the file.
All writers know the horror of tech failures with writing projects—unsaved documents, computer crashes, and internet problems that lead to Google Docs without updates. These losses usually lead to crying spells, depression, and a general feeling that maybe it’s time to give up.
Not for Sarah. According to her, having the story of Snowball deleted opened a door for creating something better.
Fast forward two years, and Sarah is a published author whose debut novel, Margaret & Molly: A Mystery in Hawaii, is already impacting an audience of readers. The book is the first installment of a series of books about two sisters who have adventures and solve mysteries while learning patience, love, family, and faith in Jesus Christ.
In A Mystery in Hawaii, Margaret and Molly Mason are excited to go on a family summer vacation to Hawaii. However, they quickly realize that the trip is not what it seems. From disappearing luggage to a strange woman who appears to be following them, there is mystery and excitement at every turn, leaving the girls wondering if their family could be in danger.
Twelve-year-old Sarah’s writing has a maturity that belies her age. It’s clear that as the second-oldest of six children in a highly creative and artistic family, she’s had plenty of opportunities to gather ideas for the dynamic of the entire Mason family. While Margaret and Molly are the plot’s focus, readers also get a clear sense of their parents’ personalities and motives, which shows the whole dimension of its family-oriented themes.
In the acknowledgments for the book, Sarah even thanks Max for his computer faux pas, saying that without him, Margaret and Molly would have never existed.
I have been honored to work with Sarah over the course of the last year to further develop and edit her book, as well as to do the typesetting and interior layout. She is a profoundly creative and sensitive young woman driven by a passion for ministering to others through her writing.
She also holds the distinction of being not just Inkling Creative Strategies’ youngest client but the first (apart from myself) to publish under my imprint, Bezalel Media.
Sarah has been writing for three years and is inspired by storytelling and reading authors whose work she wants to learn from. Sarah also finds ideas for her work from her family and her parents’ life experiences.
As a reader, she found stylistic inspiration for the Margaret & Molly books in the Faithgirlz series, a collection of books for pre-teens that teaches Christian values through entertaining, humorous, and creative stories.
However, when Sarah first began writing her books, she never thought of herself as writing for an audience of readers who would buy them. She notes that she often told stories to herself for fun or to help her get to sleep, and at first, it seemed that the sisters’ adventures would remain among those tales.
Once she realized that her book could be published for a larger audience, she saw things differently. The stories were not just for her but could be a way to share her faith with others. Sarah is quick to point out, though, that this does not make the story preachy or heavy-handed in its discussion of faith.
“Not every moment is about God, but there is still the element of faith throughout the entire thing,” she said. “The characters in your books should have to learn lessons, and they should learn them through faith in the Lord. I take my time to think about those things before writing them down as quickly as I think about it.”
It’s also clear that for Sarah, writing is fun. While she admits that coming up with storylines is challenging, knowing her characters’ behavior and personalities makes it easy and fun to brainstorm different situations for them to end up in.
“I just really loved writing all these stories and coming up with new things to write about,” Sarah said. “I like making different things happen and sometimes taking out some things, but I could always add them in later if I felt like it. I could just make anything happen or not happen.”
One of the reasons Sarah enjoys the writing process is that there are no rules. Embracing the nature of writing as a process gives her the freedom to explore the story and create the way she wants to.
“The good thing was, I could always change [the story],” Sarah said. “No one could say ‘you can’t do that.’ It’s my book.”
Margaret & Molly: A Mystery in Hawaii is now available at Amazon. It makes a wonderful gift for young girls and families who want to explore their faith through enjoyable stories. More adventures with the Mason sisters are also planned for the future.
For more about Sarah Evangeline Martin, follow her on Instagram at @sarah.evangeline.martin.
One thing Sarah’s story demonstrates is that Inkling Creative Strategies is not just for adult authors. I help children and teens of any age tell their stories and give them the resources they need to share them with an audience.
“I LOVED working with Inkling Creative Strategies,” Sarah says of her experience. “Kori was so nice to me, and helped with everything. She always asked me what I thought was better, and when she suggested things, she made it clear that it was my book, and I was the one that could decide—there was no pressure at all. She taught me lots to do with different tips for writing, and what would make my book flow better with different ideas, and also making sure everything was consistent.”
Whatever their gifts or passions are, Inkling has ways to help them grow creatively and reach their full creative potential so they can impact and inspire readers.
Is there a budding writing in your family who could benefit from mentorship, editing, or publishing tools? If so, schedule a free consultation to find out if my services are right for your family.