Cancer: My Inciting Incident by Karin Beery

on Apr 17, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

A lover of all things fiction, I spent my childhood reading and writing. After getting a degree in English, however, books had lost much of their appeal, and it never occurred to me to write again. Instead, I pursued a career in hospitality.

Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer.

We’d been married less than a year. We were still figuring out how to function as a married couple. Suddenly none of the typical first-year-of-marriage issues mattered – we had surgeries and chemotherapy to survive.

I’d quit my job two weeks before my husband was diagnosed, so I had lots of time to think about worst-case scenarios. I wanted to be positive for my husband though, so I needed to refocus. After receiving five hours of chemo he would sleep, and I didn’t want to stay in the hospital room bothering him. I also didn’t want to go home – it was too far from the hospital if anything went wrong. Just a few miles away, however, were the bookstore and library. I drove there, drank lots of coffee, and read. I ignored reality for a few hours so I could return to my husband refreshed and alert.

I grabbed Janet Evanovich, Debbie Macomber, Joanne Fluke, and more. Unlike my college reading, these books made me laugh and cry. I couldn’t stop reading! For a few months it worked, but eventually I wanted more from the books – they entertained me, but they contained more sex and vulgarity than I wanted on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the only inspirational fiction available when I grew up was Jeanette Oke and Lori Wick – sweet reads, but nothing that held my attention. Curious, I wandered into the inspirational fiction section and grabbed Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Hope Lyda.

My world changed.

Inspirational fiction was no longer strictly prairie romance – it could be contemporary and relevant. Novels didn’t have to be allegorical or philosophical – they could just be entertaining.

I still wanted more from books though, so I lugged my laptop to the hospital. The next time my husband napped, I wrote. In six weeks I wrote 80,000 words. My first novel. I’d never dreamed of writing a novel – I just needed an outlet. After I’d written it, however, I wanted to publish it and write more! So I submitted. I was rejected. But I kept writing.

That was a decade ago. My husband has been cancer-free for eight years, and I’m now a professional copywriter, editor, and novelist. I’d never considered writing for a living, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. Cancer is nothing I’d wish upon anyone, but God not only brought us through it, He used it to steer me off of my path for my life and onto His. It was my inciting incident.

Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website,


  1. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. I am constantly amazed at how God uses what seems to be the worst times in our lives to draw us close and show us what He wants for our lives, (which is always way cooler than what we had imagined.)


    April 17, 2017

  2. oh how I love this. (NOT the part of your husband’s cancer). But how you used that to breathe life into your own life and your writing. This gives me the ‘feels’.

    Beth Sowles

    April 17, 2017

  3. God is always busy bringing good out of evil! Glad you were able to rediscover your love for books and start writing.

    Patricia Robertson

    April 18, 2017

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