Christian Author Shelly Beach
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About Shelly Beach

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer, but word on the street when I was young was that trying to support yourself as a writer was like trying to support yourself as a juggler. So I went for the big bucks and became a Christian school English teacher instead.

I met my husband Dan when he was a youth pastor making fifty bucks a week and living in a church basement.  I wasn’t daunted. He wrote wonderful poetry and had a yummy Yamaha 650. We crashed it on our second date, and I knew I was in love. For the past 30+ years, Dan and I worked together in churches and Christian schools. I eventually earned an M.R.E. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (1990) and, to my knowledge, was the only woman in the seminary who commuted to classes on her motorcycle.

God blessed us with two phenomenal children. Nate (now married to Allison) lives in Iowa and works as a construction supervisor and, with Allison, is active in his church and community. He and Allison have two beautiful boys—Gabe and Liam.

Our daughter Jessica was born with a suitcase in one hand and a dayplanner in the other. Her love for God and people has drawn her to orphanages, hospices, churches, schools, camps and ministries across the world. She’s currently the development director at Warm Beach Christian Camp and Conference Center north of Seattle. She and her husband Mosiah have two children, Kia and Josiah.

I began publishing when my children were small, and I discovered people were willing to pay me for doing what I loved. I submitted to secular and religious publications and regularly sold articles, features, fiction and nonfiction. I eventually began consulting with small businesses and conducting writing seminars. When our family moved to Iowa, I helped found the Cedar Falls Christian Writers’ Workshop, an intimate, hands-on conference for aspiring authors.

When I’m not writing, you might find me with Dan on the back of our Harley. I’m also an adjunct professor at Cornerstone University, and I travel nationally speaking at conferences, retreats, and seminars.

Like most writers, I’ve mined my life as the basis for much of my writing and speaking. My health challenges, caregiving struggles, family, fears, and aspirations are all woven through my fiction and nonfiction. Central to everything I write and speak about is my passion for illuminating the truth that Jesus gives purpose and meaning to all we do and all we are. My goal is to transform lives with the love of God and to encourage people to be all He created them to be in Jesus Christ.


Frequently Asked Questions

How did you get started as a writer?
Like many writers, I began to write for publications I was familiar with. I studied smaller publications and wrote what they wanted it, the way they wanted it. I became a student of a magazine before I submitted, always reading sample copies and looking at guidelines first. Then I slanted my articles to represent their needs, but writing with my distinctive voice. I was a spelling and grammar fiend and sent the most professional manuscripts I could muster.

I also began attending writers’ conferences. I knew there was an enormous amount I didn’t know about writing, so I placed myself among people who knew more than I knew who could teach me. I wanted to be a professional.

You speak at writing conferences. What are you central messages?
First of all, be a steward of your craft and your passions. They’re gifts from God, and He doesn’t fling them around without a purpose. Be tenacious about writing. It took me years to complete my first novel, and if I’d given up on my first draft, which was horrible, it would have never been published. I had to have the drive within myself to make the manuscript better with revisions, then to take myself to a conference where I could meet editors face-to-face and pitch them my concept.
Second, be a learner. I thank God for the people who’ve mentored me, edited my work, and built into my life as a writer. The writing life can be solitary, and you must actively pursue people who will surround you with encouragement and professional advice, or you’ll shrivel.

If you don’t have a support group, find one, form one, or bang on someone’s cyber door and beg them to let you in.

Where do you find the topics for your writing?
My writing has grown out of my personal experience. I have a strong interest in the intergenerational relationships. My husband Dan and I both grew up with grandparents in our homes, and we cared for parents in our home after we were married. Precious Lord, Take My Hand grew out of our experiences as caregivers, and themes in Hallie’s Heart developed from my interest in how our heritage shapes us.

Like most writers, I find topics for my writing all around me—in the conversations of people in the grocery store, in the way a young man moves down the aisle of a train, in an abandoned migrant shack on the corner of an apple orchard. You simply have to have a questioning mind and a desire to pursue the questions.

What other topics do you speak on?
My passion is to illuminate truth, which belongs to God, through the power of story. I do this in a number of ways, generally by drawing Scriptural applications from life experiences. I rarely speak without infusing my presentations with humor. My purpose is to encourage my listeners by shining a light on the character of God, even in the darkest of our circumstances.

Is the name you write under your real name?
My first name is legally Michele, but I’ve gone by Shelly all my life. I married Dan Beach, so yes, I write under my real name.

What is the Cedar Falls Christian Writers’ Workshop, and when and where is it held?
The Cedar Falls Christian Writers’ Workshop is held each year in mid-June in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The conference is usually the second week, running from a Thursday through Saturday afternoon. The purpose of this workshop is to provide an intimate environment for writers to hone their craft and learn from experienced industry professionals.

Registration is capped at 35 participants to create a warm, personal experience for attendees. Registration forms and more information can be downloaded here.

How do you find time to write?
I don’t. I have to make it. I am not by nature a disciplined person, and I have to work hard at creating structure in my life. I’ve had to work even harder at this since I became critically ill in 1999 and again in 2016. In 2014 I underwent brain surgery, and I recently have been diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Because I struggle with fatigue and stamina, I work at organization and time management. I create goals and set deadlines. I hate, absolutely hate, doing anything late, so deadlines are my friend.

What’s your advice to beginning writers?
Work at getting better, especially if rejection slips come. Don’t give up. Become a skilled craftsman. Know your strengths and weaknesses as both a writer and a person. Communicating a message to the masses is a weighty spiritual responsibility.

If you think you’re at a “waiting” place in your writing, it’s probably a “learning” place. Ask God how He wants you to use that time Then look around with fresh vision, dive in, and keep on writing.

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