She opened her keynote address with an excerpt from her auto-biography, Finding Grace. The selected passage highlighted the idea that try as we might, “Life doesn’t always go as we planned.” But, that’s what makes a great story.
VanLiere is an Ohio native and graduated from Cedarville University with a degree in theatre and broadcasting. She started her career acting and doing radio work. Writing was on the side. Fifteen titles later, two adapted into movies, she has received a Retailer’s Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award and an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction.
“People connect to the power of story,” VanLiere said to about 350 people gathered in Seiberling Gymnasium for the fall installment of The Patricia Adams Lecture Series.
Overcoming adversity in her own life has led her to write books that don’t “water down the situations.” People connect to the stories because they can see themselves in the characters, victories, failures, and choices made.
“People contact me saying their life should be made into a story,” she said. “They don’t realize it already is.” People’s lives are their stories that have characters who leave and enter, chapters that end too soon, unexpected plot turns, foreshadowing we didn’t catch. “We all leave behind a story whether it is in print or not,” she said.
Prior to the lecture, VanLiere spent the day meeting with the Heidelberg community. She shared her thoughts and experience on social media, creativity, and excelling in a cynical world. She gave a writing workshop to English classes, attended a reception with students and held a book signing event at the Tiffin-Seneca public library.