Novel – Bestow On Us Your Grace + Brought Us Together
Jean De Vries is a homemaker, busy mom, and self-published author from Pella, Iowa. Her first book, Bestow On Us Your Grace, was the winner of the Write Place’s Book Contest and was published in 2016. In 2020, Jean returned to the Write Place for her second book, Brought Us Together.
The editing process was similar for both books. Our editor started by creating a style guide—a list of characters, descriptions, locations, and Amish spellings. For a novel, it’s important to have a place to track who everyone is, how they’re related, and where they spend their time. In addition to feedback on spelling, grammar, and punctuation, our editor worked with Jean on the way characters spoke, scene transitions, and chapter breaks.
The cover design for Bestow On Us Your Grace began with stock images. One of the main characters is a woodworker, and Jean’s vision for the front cover was a closeup of hands carving furniture, using tools that an Amish person would use. After we found an image that fit the bill, we looked for a complimentary stock photo for the back cover, eventually landing on a photo of a carved heart with wood shavings.
When the second book hit our desks, we knew its cover needed the motif of hands at work to show that the books are related. This time around, Jean hired a professional photographer. The main character of Brought Us Together is a baker, so the photoshoot focused on hands kneading bread for the front cover, and a heart drawn in flour for the back.
The interiors of the books are identical in terms of design. Jean chose a serif font for the text and a symbol that resembles a curl of wood to mark section breaks within the chapters.
Jean De Vries
“Writing a book and releasing it out into the world is a momentous and exciting undertaking. The staff at the Write Place made the entire process simple, easy to understand, and enjoyable. They treated my manuscript with great respect and care. Their attention to detail was exceptional. Having their cooperation on my publishing project made me feel as if I were truly a valued member of their team.”