Eileen Parsons of Orwell is a budding author.
She was born in Watertown to a military dad and after some travels has settled in this area. She will be speaking about her life and times on January 11 during a program in Mannsville.
The program is scheduled for 10 a.m. the United Methodist Church in Mannsville.
She’ll share the story of how she has blended the joys and sorrows of her life with a military family, her lifelong faith and her passion for writing.
Her first Christian fiction novel, The First Rose of Summer, received Honorable Mention at the 2012-13 Los Angeles Book Festival.
Becoming a published author can be challenging, she said.
“I self-published, so it was easier than if I’d gone with a traditional publisher,” Parsons said. “I chose self-publishing because I wanted to have complete control over what happened with my manuscript. But, because my publisher, WestBow Press, is owned by Thomas Nelson, a Bible and Christian publisher, their standards are higher than a typical self-publishing program.”
She chose them because of their Christian principles as well as their reputation, she explained.
“I did have to hire my own editor, and my book had to go through content evaluation before they were willing to put their name on it,” she said.
“I have long had the desire to write stories and novels that would inspire people to draw closer to the Lord and the Truth of Christ,” Parsons told Oswego County Today. “I hope my writing and speaking will touch hearts in a way that informs and uplifts.”
The First Rose of Summer is the story of how the strong moral character and faith of a young woman impacts the life of a young financial manager living a fast-paced, expensive lifestyle.
The book has been praised as an exciting, yet clean page-turner from start to finish with suspense about how God’s plan will be carried out.
WestBow will also handle some of the marketing – they were responsible for getting it into Barnes and Noble, Cokesbury, Christianbook, on Amazon, etc., according to Parsons.
“They do considerably more than a typical ‘self-publishing publisher.’ I have found that the biggest challenges with self-publishing are: the stigma of ‘vanity publishing’ – many believe that if you’ve self-published it’s because you’ve been rejected by a traditional publisher (not true – I never tried to get an agent and haven’t tried to place my work with a traditional publisher – I wanted to do it on my own), the bulk of the marketing is on your shoulders, and it’s a print-on-demand set up, which raises the cost of the final product horribly. Those higher prices make it difficult to sell your book,” she said.
Parsons is working on another book – same genre, different characters and setting.
“I’m seriously considering looking for an agent this time, however. I believe it will give greater exposure and of course, print-on-demand wouldn’t be an issue, making it more affordable for readers,” she noted.
Parsons has had a passion for writing since her youth.
She was the winner of the Augusta Chronicle’s Newspapers in Education Award while in high school.
She attended Augusta State University, majoring in Communications and Creative Writing.
Since then, her work has appeared in the Good Newspaper in Syracuse (under “Eileen Smith”) as well as various local Christian publications and newsletters.
It has long been her desire to write stories and novels that would inspire Christians to move closer to the Lord and draw the unsaved into the Truth of Christ.
Since the publication of her novel, The First Rose of Summer, she has been invited to speak at women’s retreats and fellowships, including Wings of Grace Women’s Fellowship, based in Pulaski, the Mallory Wesleyan Women’s Retreat at High Braes Refuge in Redfield and the Evening Torch at the Southwest Oswego United Methodist Church in Oswego.
Her father was in the Army, offering her a life of diversity and travel. She had the opportunity to see different parts of the world, traveling the East Coast of the United States as well as Germany. She spent most of her youth in Augusta, Georgia.
She gave her life to Christ as a child and has continued to have a passion to serve Him.
Her many experiences in life have increased her faith.
She uses her travels and encounters as topics in many of her articles and stories.
When asked who/what influenced her desire to write, she pauses.
“That is a difficult one to answer. It seems I’ve always wanted to write. I remember writing a story about a little dog being lost in the woods when I was only five or six years old,” she replied. “I was always asking the ‘how and why’ and ‘who did what’ questions. I liked to dig into the details, pose the questions that often stirred up controversy.”
Her maternal grandfather, Arthur VanRy, was her main encouragement to follow my dreams and never give up.
“He was my primary debater when issues of ethics, politics and/or religion arose. Our heated discussion would chase my mother and grandmother out of the room. Despite those differences in opinion, however, we loved and respected each other deeply,” she said.
“My tenth grade English teacher, George Westafer, and Ida Dinu, the yearbook/newspaper staff advisor my senior year, were also great encouragements to me,” she continued. “In high school and college, I wanted to be an investigative journalist in addition to writing novels. It was also a goal to become Press Secretary of the White House one day. James Brady during the Reagan Administration impressed me, and though I was not a Clinton supporter, Dee Dee Myers was also a “light” on that desired path.”
While the White House dream never became a reality, she never gave up on writing.
She ran out of money for college and had to quit.
“For a number of years, I worked in the clerical field and served as the EEO officer/Affirmative Action Officer for two employers, but wrote articles and inspirational stories for the church and church-based groups in my spare time,” she said. “I also wrote bits and pieces on my novel over the years until 2010 when I was able to leave a steady-paying job to work full-time on my novel and inspirational articles.
That novel, The First Rose of Summer, received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Los Angeles Book Festival in March.
Born in Watertown, Parsons now lives in Orwell with her husband, Eric, and dog, Sophie.
Her son, Daniel, is studying to become a pastor.
She writes a Parsons Papers blog at http://parsonspapers.com/articles
The January 11 program is a free presentation offered by Live More Ministries, a Christian outreach program for women that visits churches throughout the southern Jefferson County area.
The Mannsville United Methodist Church Women will offer breakfast from 9 to 9:45 a.m. followed by the 10 a.m. – noon presentation.
For more information about Live More Ministries for women, contact Chris at 315-767-2058, [email protected], livemoreministries.blogspot.com