Ah, the holidays: family, friends, celebrating a savior. It can mean all of those things and more depending on your experiences. But in the hustle and bustle of our modernized lives, the holidays can also mean busy-ness. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of shopping lists and family gatherings and lose sight of the importance of our quiet time—with the Lord and with our craft. As a successful lawyer and businesswoman, Charlene Quint is no stranger to busy seasons. In fact, our phone interview took place in her car—a rare spare moment for her. But, amazingly, in addition to “lawyer” and “entrepreneur,” Charlene can also claim another title: “author.” Not just of one book either. Charlene has two published volumes and has a third manuscript that is still looking for a home. So, how did she do it in all the busy-ness of her professional life? As with any books, Angels of Ebermannstadt and Blessings, Prayers, & Heartsongs, have their own special stories of creation. On the surface, the two are pretty different. One is a memoir chronicling a trip Charlene took with her WWII veteran father during the 60th anniversary of the war, and the other is a collection of blessings for major life events. But besides their author, these two volumes actually do have something in common: neither one began with the intention of becoming a “book.” Angels “It started out as a journal where I would get out all my thoughts for the day,” says Charlene of the beginnings of Angels of Ebermannstadt. For Charlene, journaling during her tour through Europe in 2004 was a personal outlet; a place to record the events of a trip she was taking with her father through sites where he had served in WWII. Publication wasn’t on her mind. Rather, her thoughts were on deepening her understand of her father. “Like most vets,” recounts Quint, “my father didn’t talk about his experiences. But usually the late teens and early twenties are our formative years, and I wanted to know more about that time in his life.” Using the 60th anniversary of D-Day as a catalyst, Charlene asked her father to put together an itinerary of places to visit, and the two set out. As she thought, being in those places opened the floodgates, and gave Charlene a whole new view of the war and her father. “We stayed with friends my father had made 60 years before that he was still in contact with,” she says. “And when we went back a second time to see some of the people we didn’t have time for during our first trip, I really saw the German side of the story.” As she reflected on her entries later, Charlene realized that what she had recorded through her father’s reunion with families whom he had helped was a narrative that is often lost in our modern idea of World War II. The two of them even attended a celebration—by Germans—of the day the Allied forces recaptured the Bridge of Remagen. “Even German soldiers who we didn’t know came up to my dad to thank him, explaining that they didn’t want to fight or had tried to escape to the American lines,” she says. Between moments like that and the emotional accounts of people who had experienced her father’s lovingkindness during the war, Charlene says she was in tears half the time and in awe the other half. Her journal filled up with stories. But still, it wasn’t at the forefront of her mind to try to get it published. “I was shopping around a devotional at the time, and thought, just for the heck of it, I’d post the manuscript for Angels too.” She posted both to Christian Manuscript Submissions. Before long she got a response, but not to the manuscript she’d thought. It was Deep River Books, and they were interested in Angels of Ebermannstadt. Just like that she had a book on her hands where at first there had been a personal journal. Blessings If that sounds like a roundabout way of realizing you’ve written a book, Blessings, Prayers & Heartsongs will top it. Charlene’s second book took her ten years to write, but that wasn’t because she was taking her time. It was because, again, she wasn’t really “writing a book.” In fact, Blessings had its roots in a wedding. “One of my good friends that I went to law-school with was getting married to a doctor. They were a lovely Jewish couple, but their wedding registry was full of the usual stuff—a blender, household items, and so on. I wanted to get them something they would remember me by.” So, Charlene sat down with her Bible and a piece of paper and began jotting down different blessings for wedding days. She drafted her first blessing, printed it out, and gave it to them as her gift. That was the beginning. After that, Charlene began drafting blessings for other occasions too—births, life transitions like graduations, marriages, and deaths. The more friends she gave them to, the more people would ask if she could draft them. “Really, I was not writing a book. I was just writing for people.” Eventually, someone suggested she record all of her blessings in one volume. She approached Deep River Books again, and after reviewing the manuscript, DRB agreed to publish this second volume. Charlene had also started an independent business selling individual blessings in tasteful and affordable frames. The book made a perfect complement to that business. If either of these stories has a message, perhaps it’s that it is small faithful steps that lead us down the narrow path. Writing, for Charlene, has always been the thing that feeds her soul and allows her to recenter herself. Although she didn’t have designs for either of these collections of words to become published books, it is clear that God did. And her small act of faithfulness—of using the gift God gave her—allowed Him to bless others through her words. Even with the demands of being a lawyer, Charlene makes time to write because that is the art that feeds her soul. She advises others to do the same. “If you’re an artist stuck in customer service, paint. If you’re a dancer who works as a banker by day, dance.” And if you’re a lawyer with a knack for crafting stories and blessings, write! You never know what God has appointed for your pen. With veterans day just behind us and Christmas on the horizon, check out Angels of Ebermannstadt and Blessings, Prayers, and Heartsongs today, or go to Charlene’s website to see how her words are blessing others.