How My Book Came to Be

Kim Aasland (April 30, 2022)

Visiting Lake Sayram back in 2006 with our children (L to R: Our friend Tate, Nate, Linnea, Erik, Laura, Naomi and Kim)

NEWSFLASH: My book is now available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and Kindle form. You can order it here: White Swan and the Heavenly Lake.

I literally cannot believe I’m even writing this post.  It seems so weird to think that I actually wrote a book and am going to publish it.  What the what?  White Swan and the Heavenly Lake is the title of the historical fiction book I just finished writing.  My aim is to release it during the first or second week of May 2022, but before I do that I wanted to tell you all a little bit of the back story of how this book came to be.

Back in the summer of 2002 I was living in Kazakhstan with my husband and four children who at the time were 13, 11, 8 and 3.  Some dear friends of ours who also lived in Kazakhstan and were fluent in Chinese invited us to take a kind of backroads trip to China with them and another family who also had young children.  It was the adventure of a lifetime!  We didn’t travel to the usual tourist stops of Beijing and Shanghai, but instead travelled overland by bus and train through the western border of China into the Xinjian region of China which is largely Muslim and has significant Uigher and Kazakh populations.

The trip could be a book in itself but suffice it to say there were plenty of adventures including pushing our way through enormous crowds at the Kazakhstan-China border on foot with ten young children, trying to keep our overnight bus driver awake so he didn’t crash while driving through the back roads of China, eating “beer beans” for breakfast, having our kids comment on the cute mice on the restaurant floor only to realized they were rats and, well, like I said that is a different story.

Back to my book.  As we traveled up from the Chinese town of Ili into the mountains towards a beautiful and mysterious mountain lake, my friend told me an origin story about the Kazakhs living in China.  The tale was alluring and something in my spirit grabbed hold of me and said This is significant.  When we arrived at Lake Sayram at sunset,  its mysterious beauty made me understand why the tales and fables surrounding it were so compelling.  This land is the home of the original Kazakhs, some of whom still live in yurts following the traditional way.  In this modern age, so many Kazakhs have lost touch with their ancestors’ deep connection to the earth and also to their Naiman roots in Nestorian Christianity.  I knew I had to delve into this and learn more.

Fast forward five months to November 2006 and it was the National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which  focuses on helping people write their novels.  The idea is to write about 1,500 words per day for 30 days during the month of November.  And that’s what I did, along with research on the Naiman who are one of the predecessors to the Kazakhs.  Now, remember that this was sixteen years ago.  Facebook had barely started two years prior.  There were few good self-publishing options.  I wasn’t sure if the book was any good.  So I stuck it up on a virtual shelf and forgot about it.  I knew it was there in my computer, but I didn’t know if it was any good or what to do with it.

Then in  March 2022 my daughter Laura asked me to look for an old video and I began going through old external hard drives.  I didn’t find the video, but I found the historical fiction novel I had written. I downloaded it onto my laptop and began to read it.  It was such a strange experience; I remembered the story, but it almost felt like someone else had written it.  And I actually liked it.  I thought I would read this book!  

Mock-up of my book cover

Now here’s what really blew my mind.  Without giving too much of the plot away, I have to tell you that I wrote about things in the book back in 2006 which actually later happened to me in my real life.  Sixteen years ago I wrestled through circumstances faced by my characters which I had no idea I was later to actually experience myself.  I still find this hard to believe, apart from God’s foreknowledge.  Also, this is why the book had no ending.  There were experiences I had to go through in my life, really tough situations, before I could write the ending.  When God brought the book back to my attention, I knew exactly how to end it. 

So I have spent the last two months editing the book, adding chapters, a glossary and character list, writing the ending and a few extra chapters. I read it aloud to my husband a few chapters a night and he encouraged me to move forward with publishing it. So here I am. The verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 13:19a, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.”

If there is a lesson to be gleaned here, it is that God is always at work.  Sometimes the purposes He gives us take a long time to accomplish.   Sometimes He allows very difficult circumstances in our lives.   But if God has put a vision on your heart, don’t give up.  You never know if today might be the day He brings it back to you and accomplishes it and you stand back, amazed.  That doesn’t negate the dreadful of the tragedies we have faced.  But it does give me hope for an ultimate good outcome one day in heaven.


  1. Harlan says:

    Can’t wait to read this new book! Will there be an audio version as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim Aasland says:

      I hadn’t even thought of that! I’ll have to add it to my list of projects!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s