Cortez resident Bethany Turner is about to become Montezuma County’s latest published storyteller.
Turner, who has lived in the county ever since she moved there from Kentucky in 2001, is the author of “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck,” which will be released on Oct. 3.
Although she has self-published three novels since she started writing full-time about three years ago, this will be her first work published by a large press.
Turner said she hopes the story, a romantic comedy about a romance novelist who converts to Christianity, will be the first of many to reach readers outside her hometown.
Writing has long been a hobby for Turner, she said, but she spent 13 years in banking before she decided to turn it into a career. Three years ago, she decided to leave her job and focus on writing.
She said her self-published books “opened doors” for her in the world of Christian fiction, but she wanted to publish “Secret Life” on a larger platform. It is being distributed by Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.
“I believed in the story enough that I wanted to have a better shot at getting it out there,” she said. “It felt like a story that needed to be told.”
She said she feels Christian fiction often presents a view of believers’ lives that is too tidy, and she wanted to write a more realistic story.
Some of the inspiration for the book, she said, came from everyday conversations with her neighbors and her experiences working at Rock Springs Church in Cortez, where she is the director of administration.
“Those of us who are Christians, we’re still people,” she said. “We’re not perfect.”
In a news release about the book, she wrote that she also drew inspiration from her own life. Since moving to Montezuma County with her husband, she has raised two sons and has become heavily involved with ministry at her church.
Turner has another Christian romance novel in the works, she said, but she’s not sure yet when it will be published.
A launch party for “Secret Life” is scheduled for 5 p.m. Oct. 3 at Living Home Decor on 90 N. Mildred Road.