The story of how Regent University School of Divinity graduate, Crystal Walton ’10, became an independent author opens much like how her first novel does: with a woman seeking her purpose.
As a self-proclaimed introvert, and with a bachelor’s degree in math in her back-pocket, Walton enjoyed the business world and her 15-year-long career as an accountant. It wasn’t until she came upon her graduate studies at Regent that her professors encouraged her to pursue the one avenue by which she best communicated.
“They spoke that into my life. They said, ‘you’re a writer,’” said Walton. “They offered me quite a bit of encouragement in that. And when I graduated I really had that seed in my spirit. I knew this was part of my purpose.”
So she set out to write a book she envisioned would be found in the non-fiction, Christian-living section in a bookstore.
“I loved thinking, ‘I want to write a book!’” said Walton.
And then, as so many writers do, she found herself captivated by a fictional series. She remembers raving about the series to her husband who asked her pointedly: “If you love it so much, why don’t you write one?”
“I gave him the deer-in-headlights stare and thought, ‘are you kidding me? You don’t just sit down and write fiction. You’re out of your mind,’” said Walton. “I’m pretty sure the first words out of my mouth were, ‘because I don’t have that gift.’”
But God works in those ways. That night she thought of a story by posing the question, if she could write fiction, what would it be? Then, in an act of giving herself permission to explore a world where fiction met ministry, she began to write.
“It was an experiment at first, and then I couldn’t stop writing,” said Walton. “And then I wrote three books in that first year.”
She wrote her first book, Eyes Unveiled, in one month.
“Of course it was a mess; it needed a lot of work,” said Walton. “But by the time I finished I realized that this is what I wanted to pursue.”
Her last book in the Unveiled series, Hope Unbroken, was independently published in late-October 2015. The three-book series revolves around the story of a 21-year-old woman named Emma who is in a “crucial” stage of life, exploring her purpose, future and love.
“Our heart is made of those things. But at the same time, so many of our circumstances tell us that it’s all a lie,” said Walton. “So she really battles through that tension, and I think so many girls can relate to that, hopefully.”
It was through this Walton found a backdoor, non-traditional form of ministry; an aspect of her calling she knew she would explore.
“Our hearts crave that,” said Walton. “And I wanted to communicate that in a book: You are unique in your gifts and our personality by design. God has a plan, and sometimes we just have to open our eyes to it. To risk that vulnerability and trust Him.”