Friday, May 29, 2009

A WHALIN of a tale . . .

If you know Christian publishing, you've heard the name Terry Whalin--he's been a writer, editor, agent, publisher. You name it, he's done it in Christian publishing. So the question is . . . how did KCWC snag him as keynote speaker this year?

It all started back in March of last year, when the KCWC committee brainstormed for a speaker. Time was of the essence, as someone needed to be identified in time to be announced at the 2008 conference.

The requirements for a speaker were quite specific and quite unusual. If they had run a classified ad for a keynote, it would have sounded something like this:

KEYNOTE SPEAKER NEEDED FOR CHRISTIAN WRITING CONFERENCE. Must be male (we're not chauvinist pigs--'08 speaker was a woman, and we like to alternate); looking for a "big name" to draw people in; must have strong roots in Christian publishing; Kentucky connection a major plus.

Usually a person with such characteristics doesn't magically appear at your door, but we at KCWC are praying people. In late March, KCWC committee member Emily Akin posted an announcement promoting KCWC and the conference website on Christian Writers Fellowship International's Yahoo group. The next morning she opened her email and found a message from one Terry Whalin.

Once she picked her jaw up from the floor, she opened the message, in which Whalin expressed interest in being on faculty for 2009 conference. He mentioned his "deep family roots" in Kentucky, included several topics on which he could speak, and added that he would have a new book out in time for KCWC '09.

Akin passed the information on to '09 conference chair Judy Sliger, who pitched Whalin to the overall committee. By the first week of June '08, days before the conference, he was onboard as the '09 keynote.

Akin says that the whole process was a "God thing," as she had no intention of getting a keynote speaker through her posting to the Yahoo group. She never thought Whalin would be interested in KCWC, because he is in so much demand in larger venues. Akin also wasn't aware of Whalin's Kentucky connections and figured the fact that he now lives in Arizona would be a stumbling block.

God knows our needs, and He cares about every detail, from the largest to the smallest. Sit back and see how He meets YOUR needs and moves in YOUR details at KCWC '09.

Visit our website for conference details and registration information,

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