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Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano captivated readers and reviewers alike with her debut novel Lady Jayne Disappears (October 2017). Now she brings another engaging tale that is both rich in romance and historical detail. In A Rumored Fortune, readers are welcomed to Trevelyan Castle for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks or his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England. But when he dies suddenly without telling anyone where the fortune is concealed, Tressa becomes the poorest heiress in Victorian England.

There are thousands of places to hide a fortune on an old estate, and nearly as many people competing to find it. Left with a mansion, an immense vineyard, and no money to run them, Tressa realizes that she and the rough, no-nonsense estate manager must find the fortunebefore her greedy relatives get to it first.

What is ONE thing you’ve learned the hard way so that others don’t have to?

If I could go back a few years and shout one huge truth to myself, it would be this: you have the wrong finish line.

When I was training for a marathon, I figured out a location that was the right distance from my house and set out running, my phone navigating the turns. I paced myself, used all my long-distance strategies and drank lots of water. I really thought I could do it, but let me tell you, that run was absolutely endless. I kept waiting to hear, “in a quarter mile, your destination will be on the right.” But it didn’t.

I was winded and nearly sick. My legs were trembling. Finally, I stopped and looked at my navigation and found out the landmark I’d picked had two locations—and I had been running toward the wrong one. Only about 20 miles difference!

So often we become exhausted in our lives that way, too. Running toward the wrong finish line will completely change the race, and leave you in a constant state of feeling drained. I experienced this as I worked toward publication and then later as I wrote my second published book on deadline. Both publication and that deadline were the wrong finish lines, but I was utterly focused on them, making both of those journeys much harder and more draining than they needed to be.

I’m telling you, after years of striving and wasted effort running the wrong direction, there is only one worthwhile finish line to any race—God. Run, sprint, chase after Him, relentlessly asking questions and figuring out what your relationship with Him looks like. Seek Him and connect with Him all the time. Beg His wisdom rather than the world’s. Obey every single thing He says, even if it doesn’t make sense. If you accomplish one thing in an entire day, let that one thing be connecting with God.

The cool thing about both of these writing “marathons” was that I still ended up reaching God, the finish line I should have been pursuing—I just took a circuitous route to reach Him. I actually reached my original goals of publication and deadline too, but with much more peace than my initial striving.

As I worked toward publication, I finally realized that it was always supposed to be about God. His purpose in making me a storyteller was not so I could publish novels and impact people through my writing, but so He could impact me through writing. Stories were the language we spoke to each other, and I learned so much through the process of creating each novel with Him. And writing my second novel, difficult as it was, drove me so often to seek God and where He wanted to go with it. I ended up being a week early for my deadline, but even better—I had an authentic, precious connection with God by the end. Both times I made myself exhausted as I ran toward the wrong finish line, but I finally reached out for God—and found life. I pray you do the same.

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Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

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