Jill Nelson

Jill Elizabeth Nelson is the award-winning author of four mystery and suspense books, with more in the pipeline. She writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith, earning her the tagline: Endless Adventure, Timeless Truth. Jill speaks regularly at conferences, writer’s groups, library associations, and civic and church groups. She and her husband live in rural Minnesota where they raised four children and are currently enjoying their first grandchild. Visit her on the Web at http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com for her speaking schedule, excerpts from her novels, and book giveaways.

What I Do for Love

After a busy day at work, I love to go home and kill people. Kidnapping, murder, blackmail, and larceny are my stock in trade. Of course, through great courage, wit, sacrifice, and faith, the good guys always take down the bad guys.

Yes, I’m a writer. My specialty is novels of mystery and suspense . . . but I haven’t quit my day job. I’m a dual-career woman.

“How do you manage it?”

I get that question a lot from writers and normies (non-writers) alike. To help the normies understand—without freaking them out by trying to explain this wild and crazy imagination that drives me—I give them an analogy. Some folks go home after their eight-hour day and do woodworking or needlepoint. I go home, hunker down with my laptop, and spin yarns. (Not yarn, by the way. I’m not a knitter.) The comparison provides an understandable frame of reference for someone not gripped by the compulsion to tell stories, but it’s not entirely accurate.

For me, writing moved beyond the hobby stage the day someone handed me a check for my words, and I quickly cashed it before they came to their senses. Now I wrestle with deadlines, marketing, synopses, proposals, conferences, appearances, and book signings just like any other career writer. And I love it!

So how do I juggle a full-time “day job” as the senior-apartment-complex housing manager with a demanding “night life” as a continually publishing author? Oh, and don’t forget family and church, friends and community are in the mix too.





Compassion: My heart beats to convey truths from God’s Word that will bless and set people free, and I’m a firm believer that a rousing, good story is a wonderful way to do that—fun for writer and reader alike. My tag line is Endless Adventure, Timeless Truth. But a successful writer, particularly a dual-career one, needs a strong dose of the passion part of compassion. If writing were not a fire in my bones, I couldn’t make a success of it as a single career, much less a dual. I simply can’t not write.

Calling: The compulsion is evidence of the calling. Yes, God calls novelists to woo souls with stories, and where He calls, He also gifts and enables. That knowledge gives me confidence, when I’m weary and overwhelmed, that He will strengthen, renew, and inspire me to keep on—that I can meet the deadline or come up with that elusive plot twist or think up a new story idea after a full day of serving others at the senior housing complex. And He’s always faithful. Always.

Commitment: Quitting is not an option. Procrastination? Expunged from the dictionary. The question of commitment is that simple and that exacting.

Constancy: Keep on keepin’ on. Every day, every day, every day. Steadily move forward. Some days a little. Other days more. And some days a lot—like when that deadline looms.

I have been known to use vacation time from my day job to sit home and write, and I don’t consider it a sacrifice to use my time off that way. It’s a privilege to do what’s in my heart. What else would I do with my hours away from the day job? Stare at the tube? Of course, I could always read a book, and wouldn’t I love it! But either way I’m entertaining only myself. While that’s fine in moderation, a dream was born in my heart years ago when I was only a child. I don’t want to be the person who merely receives pleasure from a good book but to be the one who gives that pleasure to others.

A dual-career life offers certain positives: My day job gets me out of the house and into the workaday world, where I help provide a valuable service to the elderly. I enjoy the work, it’s often challenging, and it gives me a sense of fulfillment. (Plus, dealing with the public offers the side benefit of fresh fodder for stories.) Then when I go home, because my story world beckons, I don’t have time to be bored. My mind and hands have worthy work to do. Both careers prosper the kingdom of God. Mmm-mmm! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Will I ever quit my day job? Maybe. Someday. In God’s timing. Until then, I’ve been given the grace to do what needs to be done. If you’re called into the realm of the dual career, you can be sure that the same grace is freely given to you.

Evidence Of Murder