Writing from the Home, by Cherise Ryan
At 18, Cati Gerwitz from Rochester, New York, just published her first novel. Home With You is a story about the friendship of two girls, their experiences, and the lessons they learn together.
Homeschoolers are moving into the publishing world one step at a time. Cati is one of those, but she is not alone. Homeschool mother Melanie M. Jeschke has published a series called The Oxford Chronicles, a fiction series set at Oxford University in the 1960s, complete with references to C.S. Lewis and appearances from Professor J.R.R. Tolkien.
Many beginning writers start out self-publishing their work, using that as a stepping stone to catching a publisher’s eye. That’s how homeschooled Christopher Paolini started at 15 with his now famous Eragon, the first of his Inheritance cycle. His book was picked up by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, and Christopher is now writing his fourth in the series.
Homeschooled her whole life, Cati says writing has always been her favorite subject. “While my siblings groaned over the creative writing assignments, I thrived on and loved every minute of it,” she said. “And then, I just decided to go for it and write. I honestly never in a million years intended to write a novel or be an author or have my work published.”
Cati used to write stories for friends when she was little. Home with You began the same way. When her best friend, Chelsea, moved 1,000 miles away to Missouri, Cati decided to write her a story as a Christmas present.
“The book is based on the real-life experience of the work the Lord did in uniting Chelsea and I as friends,” she said. “It weaves a testimony of the girls’ friendship, giving all the glory to the Lord, because it is He who unites their hearts…. He can sustain relationships even over a thousand miles!”
Cati began the story in September 2006 and finished it as a Christmas gift for Chelsea.
It was Cati’s mother, however, who suggested that she submit her manuscript to a publisher. They found Tate Publishing, who agreed to a contract, and Home with You was released September 2, 2008.
“I think the hardest part was actually going for it and taking that step of faith,” Cati said. “It’s been a good learning experience, and it has really opened up a lot of doors. Whenever I start to doubt, I just remind myself that the Lord is in control.”
On top of writing, Cati keeps busy with nannying, teaching piano, serving on her church’s worship team, leading in the youth group, and figure skating and coaching.
Now added to this list is the new adventure of book signings. “Before I would have said I would never do [something like a book signing] because I was so terrified. But lo and behold, I survived the first signing!” she said.
Cati said that her parents’ encouragement and hard-core discipline in homeschooling have helped bring her where she is now: “I have loved being homeschooled and wouldn’t trade it for the world. It allowed me the time and opportunities to explore the areas I really loved.”
Book Description: “Both Bridget and Madison experienced the same feelings of fear when it came to building close relationships with other people. During their years of growing up, the girls became accustomed to ended friendships, abandonment by certain people, and unwelcome goodbyes. As they grow into young women, their philosophies become much the same: ‘If I don’t love anyone, I’ll never have to be hurt again.’ Neither girl knew how they would ever find their place in this world, but God did. Would they be open to his plan as he worked his love in their lives?”