Motivated by faith and a love for writing, Brett Armstrong persisted until a publisher accepted his most recent work.
“It’s really a humbling thing,” said Armstrong, who hopes his novel will be an inspiration to others.
The 27-year-old St. Albans native wrote four books before the latest won a writing award along with a $10,000 publishing and marketing package from CrossBooks which is affiliated with LifeWay Christian Resources. “Destitutio Quod Remissio” was named the grand prize winner of the organization’s writing contest last summer.
The package includes placement of the book on the CrossBooks homepage, an on-camera author interview to be posted online, and availability of the book with more than 38,000 retailers globally.
“For me it has felt like a very long and trying road to have my dream realized,” he said. “My wife kept reminding me along the way that it would happen in the Lord’s timing and manner of choosing. There is no number or combination of words that exists to sufficiently express what having won the CrossBooks contest means to me. It changes quite a bit for me, but one thing remains absolutely constant, my prayer and conviction that what I write is for the Lord’s glory and will.”
The name of the book is in Latin. Roughly translated, Armstrong said it means “destitution that comes from forgiveness.”
The story is about Senator Marcus Servius, a respected politician in ancient Rome, whose life becomes riddled with pain and challenges after it is learned that he is a Christian. He loses prestige, wealth and even his wife as he struggles with a desire for vengeance as well as a longing to let God be in control.
“Without giving away any of the plot, showing an enemy forgiveness doesn’t keep him or her from wronging one further,” Armstrong said.
He added that Colossians, chapter three and verses 12 and 13 are central to the story’s core. “Marcus faces the dilemma of keeping true to this notion or giving in to his desire for vengeance.”
Armstrong’s regular job is programmer analyst in the state Department of Health and Human Resources Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology.
He has been writing since he was in elementary school. When the teacher encouraged students to journal, he wrote pieces and read them aloud. He continued to write throughout the years and submitted books to several agents to no avail.
The acceptance of his recent work of historical fiction was an exciting success.
After entering the contest, he resisted checking to see who made the semi finals and finals. Then he heard from officials from CrossBooks that he was the winner.
“I was jumping up and down,” he said. “It was startling. It’s the fourth book I’ve written and my first book in print. Early failures help put things in perspective.”
While characters in some of his previous works have somewhat reflected his own personality, that is not the case with this one.
“Marcus was never me,” he said. “He was wealthy and a very public person. I’m fairly quiet and don’t like public speaking.”
That may have to change with the recent attention he has garnered.
Press releases about his work went out last week. He already has a book signing scheduled. Aside from the CrossBooks site, he has learned the book is also on German, Danish and South Korean websites. The book is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.
While he is still working out the details, plans call for proceeds to go for local and international mission work.
Armstrong is a 2012 graduate of West Virginia University where he majored in computer engineering and computer science and minored in creative writing, math, and history. He is currently working on a master’s in creative writing through Southern New Hampshire University.
He also works with youth at his church, The Crossing, in St. Albans.
He and his wife Shelly. a Kanawha County math teacher, live in St. Albans and are expecting their first child in March.
His book signing is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at LifeWay Christian Bookstore in Barboursville.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at email@example.com or 304-348-1246.