Things rarely go as planned, but sometimes, they go better than planned. The trick is not to assume that a planned timeframe determines the worth of a project or that our maps are worthless when we are led off the beaten path.
Back in 2010, I wrote my first book, The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings I offered my original version to a mentor, and his reaction was less than flattering. Suffice to say, I had a lot of revising to do. A process I would have to make friends with over time.
Eventually, after another review and more helpful editing by Father Kevin Laughery, the book received an Imprimatur from the Most Reverend Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, the Bishop of Springfield in Illinois.
Initially, the book was published through a hybrid publishing company, and I learned a great deal from the experience. Still, time and even more experience taught me that I wanted greater control over my own work, so I freed the book from that connection, re-edited it, and self-published the second edition.
I did what I could on the marketing side, but frankly, I had no idea what I was doing. Plus, I was more interested in writing fiction at that point. I believed that historical fiction would be my natural strength. So, I left The Road Goes Ever On to fend for itself in the Amazon jungle and moved on to other projects.
To my surprise, the book stayed alive. It managed to pick up readers even as I began writing and publishing new work. I focused on the future and didn’t look back. Despite my neglect, The Road Goes Ever On continued to sell at a modest rate.
When the opportunity to create Audible books came along, I wasn’t sure which of my books to offer first. To my amazement, when I reviewed sales reports, I realized that The Road Goes Ever On had fared better than anything else I had written. So naturally, I figured I’d give it a chance in the big leagues. To start, I had to see if anyone was interested in narrating it.
Once again, I was caught off guard. Instead of begging for narrators, I had narrators asking me to produce the book. A good number of excellent voice actors wanted to be a part of this project. They had read and liked it or heard of it and were intrigued by it. The connection to The Lord of the Rings helped; I’m sure.
After listening to several excellent auditions, I chose the perfect narrator for this work—Kaylah Eaton. Her voice quality, clarity, and attractive nature brought the book alive in ways I had never imagined possible. As I listened to her speak the words that I had written years earlier, I had to question myself. Did I write this?
Beyond the fact that Kaylah maintains such perfect control of her voice and yet adds a gentle, almost beguiling tone, which fits with the fantasy story of The Lord of the Rings so well, I was pleased to realize that the meaning of what I wrote stood out more clearly than ever before.
At the time I wrote the book, my kids were still very young and my husband was still alive. After years of trials, suffering beyond anything I had ever before imagined, and coming up against the Balrogs of real life, I rediscovered the truth that stood behind the words I had put in writing. This book, as a reflection on Tolkien’s masterpiece, is not simply a personal opinion but an adventure of discovery. I learned on a deeper level that virtues and vices do matter. In fact, in the great battles of life, those qualities we choose or neglect make the difference between deadly despair or returning home to a warm, loving family.
The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings considers both Tolkien’s masterpiece and the Masterpiece we are all called to become as children of God. We look to the heroes in the story and study what virtues made them heroic, and we consider what vices drove the villains to their dooms. We look around at the “Rings of Power” in our world today and ask ourselves what roles they play in the construction or destruction of our world. What are we letting into our homes? Who directs our children’s minds? Is sin real? Can brokenness ever be healed?
Kaylah Eaton’s narration of this book allows the listener to absorb the content in a whole new way and really ponder the questions being asked. I may have arranged the words, but the inspiration was born from God, who is never done loving and teaching me. Though I must travel over hills and down into valleys through life, the adventure is just beginning. My road goes ever on…
A. K. Frailey is the author of 17 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
Make the most of life’s journey.
For books by A. K. Frailey check out her Amazon Author Page
“…takes passages from the Rings trilogy and weaves an almost ethereal beauty into our lives as Christians by comparing the journey of the Fellowship and their struggles to challenge us in our daily walk.” ~Amazon Reader
“The author uses the virtues and vices of Tolkien’s creations to remind us that those same virtues and vices are present in modern days.” ~Joan