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FBC Red Bay member writes Christian novelcomment (0)

May 25, 2006

By Linda Lyle

I literally grew up with ministry all around me … and I stayed right in the middle of it,” said Daphne Murrell, whose father served as a pastor for 15 years before going into prison chaplaincy.

According to Larry Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church, Red Bay, in Franklin Baptist Association, where Murrell is a member, “Daphne is a committed Christian and a multitalented individual, who is an asset to the church. She is a speaker and pianist for a lay renewal team as well as doing solo engagements.”

She takes any opportunity that she can get to share what Christ has done for her, Hill said.

Recently Murrell, whose husband Rick is the youth minister at First, Red Bay, added a new aspect to her ministry — writing Christian fiction. Her first novel, “Autumn Sunset,” was released by Tate Publishing in February.

“Autumn Sunset” is the story of Annie, the youngest daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, who finds herself living back home with her parents in Alabama.

As she struggles to fulfill her dreams of being a songwriter, she is offered the chance of a lifetime by her teen idol, Stephen Williams, who penned the song “Autumn Sunset.”

Amid personal conflict, family struggles and just a little mystery, she tries to choose the things in life that will make her happy and fulfilled.

A songwriter herself, Murrell said “Autumn Sunset,” the song mentioned in the book and its title, is a real song that she wrote, and it is the title song to a custom album with 14 original songs. “Autumn Sunset” is the first of a four-book series, including “Spring Dawn,” “Winter Midnight,” and “Summer Sunrise.”

Each book has a song idea, which will be released as the sequels are published.

“I wrote my first book in second grade,” Murrell said. “I used to write all through high school, passing chapters around to my friends. I worked on a novel during my college years.”

She then turned her writing skills to more immediate needs, writing skits, dramas and Bible studies for her church.
“It was hard to find children’s musicals with enough girl parts,” Murrell said.

“In August of 2004, I had this great idea for a book, but I began to think what was the point?” she said. “If I were going to keep writing this stuff but never try to publish anything, it would look like I was wasting a whole lot of time. So I did the only thing I knew to do: contact a literary agent and let them try to pitch my work.”

Murrell got a lot of great feedback, but nobody wanted to publish a new author.

So she pulled her manuscript and pitched it herself.

“The first place I sent ‘Autumn Sunset’ was Tate, and within three weeks, they contacted me with the promise of a contract,” she said.

Murrell’s husband and three children, Melody, Josh and Charis, are thrilled because publication was validation for all the time spent writing instead of cleaning the house, she said with a laugh.

Her book and CDs, as well as contact information, are available on her Web site, www.daphnemurrell.com.

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