Athough I’m an Oregonian now, my heart still belongs, in part, to San Jose where I grew up.
As a teenager, every summer weekend I could manage it, I’d drive over the hill to Santa Cruz and play at the boardwalk or swim in the surf or just lay on the beach.
These days I only get to the Santa Cruz area once a year. It’s always the Thursday before Palm Sunday until the following Tuesday. I speak, of course, of the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. It’s really one of the highlights of my year. From my first year at Harvest House, I staked my claim on that conference. I think I’ve spoken so highly of it that my editorial colleagues at Harvest House are downright envious.
The first time I went to the conference (back in the mid 1980s), I went as an aspiring writer. And like most aspiring writers, I couldn’t afford the tuition, so I was offered the chance to be a shuttle driver to and from the San Jose airport in exchange for full tuition. I still remember the long drive to the airport when my only passenger was an editor I admired and wanted to talk to. Naturally, that was a very slow drive as I probed the editor for all the information I could get.
A few years later I had sold some articles and was invited to teach some workshops. Then, in 2000 I was hired as a senior editor at Harvest House and since the 2001 conference, I’ve attended every year. That very first year I returned to Harvest House with three proposals we went on to publish—one of which was by an author who has turned out to be one of my favorite authors to edit.
I’ve had such varied experiences at the conference. One year I passed up a book proposal that went on to top the bestseller lists and sell millions of copies. Another year I met a friend I hadn’t seen in forty years. She didn’t even know I had become a Christian since I’d last seen her. I also reconnected with an old college friend who lives year round at Mount Hermon. One year we had the treat of seeing our friend agent Steve Laube scammed by Randy Ingermanson posing as an aspiring writer. Read about THAT fun escapade here: http://www.ingermanson.com/scams/art/sb.php . And who can forget the time Rachel took all the staff for ice cream in Santa Cruz?
Each year I look prayerfully ahead to the glorious five days at Mount Hermon and wonder what God will do there this year. It’s always something to remember. It makes me feel like a teenager again.
Nick Harrison is a senior editor of both fiction & non-fiction at Harvest House Publishers. He’s the author of several books including Magnificent Prayer, His Victorious Indwelling, and 365 WWJD: Daily Answers to “What Would Jesus Do?” He lives in Eugene with his wife, Beverly. You can visit him at www.nickharrisonbooks.com.