Regent Alumnus and New York Times Bestselling Author Speaks His Truth
On Monday, May sixth, Alumnus, Charles Martin came back to Regent University after nearly thirteen years in order to promote his latest novel, Unwritten, which released Tuesday, May seventh. He talked about his journey as a writer and how seeing his book on the New York Times bestseller list makes him feel.
Martin explained to Regent faculty, staff and students that the message of his newest work of fiction is: “cracked and broken cups can pour water too.”
Martin graduated from Regent University in 2000 with a Ph.D in Communication. He began working as an insurance salesman after he left Regent. Martin had an unfulfilled desire in his heart and an unpublished manuscript in his drawer.
“During the day I was a mild-mannered insurance salesman, and at night I wrote.”
Martin was offered a promotion with a six-figure salary. He knew if he excepted the high paying position that his dream of having one of his own books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble would be over. Martin remembers his wife, Christy, encouraging him after a weekend of praying about the job offer.
“She said, ‘we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do it all out; I don’t want you to be 40 years old and tell me what you could have been,'” said Martin.
Martin turned down the position and continued to write. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original manuscript of This Side of Paradise was rejected 126 times before it was published. Martin wrote “126” on a post-it note and stuck it to his keyboard – which kept him “getting up out of bed every morning.”
Soon after receiving his eighty-sixth rejection letter, Martin received a phone call from a publisher interested in his first book, The Dead Don’t Dance.
“I don’t know if my neighbors have ever gotten over the dance I did around the outside of my house that day,” said Martin, laughing.
Although Martin’s dream of seeing his name on the spine of a novel in bookstores had been fulfilled, his manuscript rejections were not over.
“See, you hear things like ‘New York Times best-seller,’ but getting here wasn’t easy,” said Martin. “And I don’t know if I could do it all over again if I had to—it was painful.”
Although Martin’s passion is writing, Martin is assured, not in his identity as a writer, but as a follower of Christ.
“God didn’t call me to be a writer, he called me to be His faithful son,” said Martin. “Don’t put ‘writer’ on my tombstone; put ‘Charles, servant of Jesus Christ. Period.'”