Gail Mundy is a member of Finding Hope Book Club--I asked Gail to tell me about her recent author visit (I was unable to attend)

Hi, Gail;

Thanks for stopping by and telling us about the book club meeting you went to recently to hear Elizabeth Musser speak.

Hi, Nora, I'm happy to tell you and your readers about what I learned about Elizabeth. I saw her Tuesday, April 20th,at a local book club. Tisha Cleveland (fellow Finding Hope Book Club member) and I had the privilege of hearing Elizabeth Musser speak,it was wonderful.Ever since Finding Hope book club selectin was The Swan House, I've been curious about this woman.

For those of you who do not know of Elizabeth, she was born and raised in Atlanta. She attended Wesminster High School and Vanderbilt University. THe Finding Hope Book Club (which Tish and I are members)which meets at Lifeway had the opportunity in 2008 to read her book, The Swan House, and take our first field trip to see the actual house-- for which Elizabeth uses the real Swan House in Atlanta as its setting. It was fascinating. It made the book and the story all the more real to me.

Elizabeth shared her testimony with us. She said she had wanted to write since she was six years old. Once she was older she said she wanted to go overseas, write and serve. Elizabeth went to France while in college and wanted to return to France after she finished her education.

She joined a mission group called International Teams out of Elgin, IL and went to France. She served them for two years. She married her husband, who is a pastor and they've been living and ministering in France for the past 20 years. All of her family are here in Atlanta and her oldest son who goes to Georgia Tech is getting married in May. She is finishing her 8th book next summer, tentatively entitled Window to the Soul which is about Atlanta in the 1930's. It is about survival during the depression and God's provision.

We had an absolutely great time hearing her stories. I was so thankful for this opportunity to meet Elizabeth and get to know the author heart for missions and passion for God's will in her life.

Gail Mundy


From the time I was six years old, I expressed myself best with words on paper. And I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a writer. In my early years, that passion for creativity came in the form of poems, short stories and personalized birthday cards for family and friends.

The highest compliment I received in high school came from my tough-as-nails English teacher who scribbled these words on my essay: “You have the ability to write well.” Other teachers encouraged me to write throughout my school years. Whenever I had a choice in assignments between something to research or something to create from my own imagination, I chose the road of creativity.

As I longed to write, I also had a deep, intense faith in Christ which made its way into my stories and poems. Even at a young age, I longed to share my faith with those around me, and often, writing was the best medium I could find.

I studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I found myself enthralled with the way my courses overlapped, enjoying art history and history as well. My college spiral notebooks became friends to whom I was sure I would return in the years to come to refresh my memory and inform me of art and history and literature.

As a child, my favorite books were Nancy Drew mysteries, horse stories by Marguerite Henry and C.W. Anderson, and Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. As a teenager, I was inspired by Mary Stewart’s mysteries, C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and Catherine Marshall’s stories of faith and adventure. In high school and college, I marveled at the way Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo wove together the lives of numerous characters from different backgrounds within the greater tapestry of the book. This I longed to do.

While at Vanderbilt, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France. That semester changed my life. My grandmother had often spoken to me of travel and literature and history, and that, combined with my studies, convinced me to spend the semester abroad. There, on the walls of great museums, I found the paintings I had studied on the screen in my art history classes. There I saw where great masters lived and wrote. A whole new world, this old world of Europe, opened up to me and I embraced it. But as I explored French cathedrals, I was saddened to see the lack of spiritual interest in the culture at large. The existentialism that I had studied in class played itself out in the everyday life of the French. I returned to the States and to my university changed and challenged. I wanted to go beyond what I had been given, a very comfortable, elite upbringing. I wanted to travel and write and share my faith with others. Did this kind of job exist? I was sure it didn’t.

And then God intervened in another remarkable way that I could have never imagined. After Christmas during my Senior year at Vanderbilt, I attended a five-day missions conference for students, (there were 17,000 of us there). I discovered an amazing thing: God had missionaries in France, and I felt God calling me there. Never had I ever dreamed of (or wanted to be ) a foreign missionary! My image of a missionary was a little old lady dressed in black serving God in some remote village. God soon showed me how flawed my image was!

After graduation, I spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France. Serving with me were a young couple, a single woman from Quebec and a single man from West Virginia. Those were years of testing, learning and being humbled, years of seeing the difficulty of the lives of simple people living out their faith in a hostile environment. They were also years of preparation. By the time I returned home, I was engaged to that single man, (a wonderful man named Paul) and pretty sure that our future together would one day again involve missions.

Paul and I returned to France in 1989 to help a French pastor start a new church in the city of Montpellier, in the South of France. Never in my wildest dreams as a student would I have imagined that seventeen of the last twenty-two years would be spent in France, nor that in France, God would fulfill my life-long desire to write. As a missionary, I wrote quarterly letters explaining my ministry to over 400 prayer partners back in the States. I determined to make these letters interesting, the best writing I could do. I returned to France, married with a toddler in tow, with another baby on the way. My ministry opportunities were limited. And so, those prayer letters became my writing outlet. Also, during my boys’ naptimes, I transformed the day’s catastrophe into an anecdote about life, and thereby kept my sanity.

While in the US during the summer of 1994, I attended a writer’s conference and met an editor who had at one time served as a missionary in France with my mission. I signed up for a 15-minute interview with him and presented my desire to write a women’s devotional book. He replied that his company was looking for a woman novelist. My ears perked up and I thought to myself, “I think the Lord has put me in the right place at the right time.” This editor explained to me the proper etiquette for presenting a book proposal to his publishing house and encouraged me to do so. I worked furiously on the project (I had been toying with ideas for a novel for several years), and a few months later sent him a sixty page proposal—including a long synopsis, a chapter-by-chapter outline, a character sketch of the protagonists and a copy of the first three chapters of the book. He called me immediately after receiving the proposal and enthusiastically said he’d be presenting my proposal to a committee in two weeks. There the committee could choose between several options: they could reject my proposal, show interest but ask that I send them a complete manuscript, or offer me a contract. In the end they offered me a contract! I was beside myself with joy.

Thus in a rather amazing way, the Lord began to answer my prayers that had spanned over twenty years: that I would be able to write a book and dedicate it to my grandmother while she was still alive. During the summer of 1996, I presented my 82-year-old grandmother with her copy of Two Crosses, (Victor Books). Soon after Victor Books, a subsidiary of Scripture Press, was sold to Cook Communications . My second book, Two Testaments, was published by the new owners in 1997. Unfortunately with the change-over, my third and final novel in the trilogy, Two Destinies, remains unpublished in America. All three books in the trilogy have been published in German, Dutch and Norwegian and I have had the privilege of traveling to each of these countries to do speaking engagements and book signings.

My life has not turned out in any way as I had thought. There have been many difficult, challenging times. But I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. During my training for missions, the staff emphasized that missionaries must develop a good sense of humor, be flexible and realize that "different is not wrong". Living in another culture is a great way to be humbled, again and again, and it seems that this is so often God’s way—He humbles us before He uses us. In spite of the many challenges of living in another culture, especially one that is very resistant to the Gospel, I feel privileged to be involved in missions. To talk to others about Jesus, and to be able to write stories about God working in people's lives is something I will never take for granted. As I watch God change people's lives right before my very eyes, I have plenty of material to make my novels interesting, action-packed and realistic. I have discovered that God can do far more with our lives than we ever dream possible. This is what I hope to communicate in my books.

If you are in the ATLANTA AREA -CHECK OUT ELIZABETH MUSSER's WEBSITE for other book clubs and events she will be at this summer.

THANKS GAIL for sharing your pictures and experience with us.


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