Marysville native Ganel-Lyn Condie never pictured herself growing up to become a writer. But two books and an ongoing newspaper column later, she can't imagine doing anything else. Condie already has another book in the works, in addition to a contribution in an upcoming collection of Christmas stories by published authors.
"I love to tell stories, but I never thought this would be the direction my life takes," Condie said. "I originally studied to be a teacher."
Condie's first two books are a collection of personal anecdotes from women who are active members of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Their stories deal with themes of loss, and how faith helped them deal with life's trials. Condie said she prefers this memoir style of writing to fiction because she finds true stories more engaging.
"I think everyone has a book in them; I've always been drawn to real life," she said.
While religion is a promenient theme in all of her books, Condie feels her writing isn't limited to the Christian community. In her books, women share stories about dealing with suicide, infertility and illness — things that are all part of the human experience.
"I hope I share stories that make people feel less alone," Condie said. "I don't want to put something out there that doesn't add to the world."
Although her work is primarily an anthology of other people's experiences, the story that set the tone for the first book was her own. The same month a publisher expressed interest in printing her stories, Condie's sister committed suicide. Condie channeled her grief into the book, hoping it would be a constructive way to deal with the tragedy.
"I feel like God really directs it," Condie said. "He knew there was one story left. These stories come together because I'm ultimately not in charge."
After her first book, "I Can Do Hard Things With God," was published in February 2015, Condie found she had a surplus of people willing to share their stories with her. Since then, she's dedicated herself to recording as many life stories as possible so readers can rest assured they're not alone in their experiences.
"These people in my stories become their (the readers') friends because they're open and honest," Condie said.
In addition to the Christmas volume, Condie has a Mother's Day-themed book expected to be published next spring. While she lives with her husband and children in a small town outside Salt Lake City, Condie said she plans on hosting a book signing in her hometown after the title is launched.
Visit ganellyn.com to learn more about her books or to read her newspaper column in the Daily Herald.