Writing has been a life-long passion for Beverly Lindbo.
When she was a child, Lindbo and her best friend would sit in the apple tree in her back yard and write poetry and stories about their pets.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write,” the 76-year-old O’Fallon woman said.
Over the years, she’s done freelance writing for several newspapers and magazines. Her prose has covered just about every topic. She’s done devotionals, interviewed politicians, penned travel articles and composed short stories.
“I wrote a short history of my church, Shiloh UMC, when we celebrated our 200th birthday a few years ago,” she said.
One goal always eluded her, though — a novel.
But it is a objective no more.
Lindbo recently completed a 402-page work of fiction, “A Fire In My Bones.”
“It was something I had wished for and tried and finished, so there was a great sense of accomplishment,” Lindbo said.
The plot involves a young mother named Betsy, who after the tragic death of her husband, is facing the prospect she might lose custody of her adopted baby girl, Emma. Betsy, in turn, makes a decision that will change the direction of her life and the life of those she loves.
“First, I hope the reader will enjoy the story,” said Lindbo, who got the book’s title from a partial quote out of the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible. “After that, I hope that there will be an understanding that sometimes there are questions that can’t be answered, and we have to learn to live with that. When I finally wrote, ‘The End,’ it was with mixed feelings. Elation to be finished and sadness to be leaving my fictional friends.”
The book has been six years in the making, but the idea was launched when Lindbo decided to take part in the writing project with a goal to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
“Since no one else is going to read what you’ve written, no editing or proof reading is necessary. You just have to put words on paper. During that month, I completed the 50,000-word challenge and got a good start on my story. There was no turning back after that,” she said.
Along the way, there have been many writers’ conferences, lectures and retreats. Her writing group, Paddlecreek Writers, has also offered many words encouragement.
“The biggest challenge I had was the ending. I had about five different endings I tried, and the one I used wasn’t the one I really wanted to use. However, it was the truth, and and the only place I could leave the characters,” Lindbo said.
Lindbo used CreateSpace, which is part of Amazon, to self-publish the book. Also, her grandson, Matthew Pinson, designed the cover, an added highlight to tackling the project.
“He’s very artistic, and made a cover that represents the story very well,” Lindbo said. “Self-publishing was necessary for me, since it can take years to find an agent, then a publisher and then go through the process of getting your book published. At the age of 76, I didn’t think that was an option.”
People can purchase “A Fire In My Bones” on Amazon.com for $14.95. In addition, the PEO Chapter NR Book Club will discuss Lindbo’s novel this month.
“PEO is a philanthropic and educational organization that provides scholarships and endowments for women,” said Lindbo, adding she also will speak at the Shiloh Page Turners — the book club at her church — in February. “Betsy, the protagonist of my book, fits the mold of a strong, independent woman and would feel right at home at this book club.”
The completing of “A Fire In My Bones” has been one of the most greatest satisfactions of her life, Lindbo said.
“I told a friend that when she held my book, she was holding my dream come true in her hands,” she said.
But the thing about dreams is they can always get bigger.
Lindbo presently is halfway through her second novel titled, “Distant Secrets.” She is aiming for publication by December.
Meet Beverly Lindbo
Family: Married to Don A. Lindbo, who spent 26 years in the Air Force and retired as a colonel. The couple lives in O’Fallon and has two adult children, Christopher and Carrie (who live in O’Fallon and Shiloh, respectively. They have four grandchildren.
Upbringing: Born in Thief River Falls, Minn., Linbo was raised in North Dakota. She graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in Grand Forks, N.D.
Education: Graduated from the University of North Dakota with a major in English and minor in natural science.