Here's a bit of his bio: "John Bowers began his first “novel” at age 13. It took him nine months and was only 30,000 words, but he finished it. Before he graduated high school, he wrote four more. His teachers were convinced he was the next Hemingway, but it wasn’t to be.
Bowers was raised in a religious cult. Cults suppress creativity, demanding obedience and conformity. Though he wrote several more novels for fun, he never published them, and by the age of 30 he gave up writing entirely.
"At age 44 he broke out of the cult, rediscovered his dream, and began writing again. He wrote a juvenile adventure for his children, and then began a science fiction novel." (source)
That novel is A Vow to Sophia. The blurb reads:
When twelve year-old Onja Pedersen vowed before Goddess Sophia to free her mother and sister from Sirian slavery, she had no idea how to make it happen; six years later, when the Sirian Confederacy attacks the Solar Federation, she sees her chance and joins the United Federation Fighter Fleet.
From the day she enlists, Onja faces opposition — a skeptical recruiter, a sadistic drill instructor, a vengeful XO — but there are good men as well, and eventually she falls in love. Consumed by hatred of the Sirians, Onja lusts only to kill, and quickly becomes the deadliest gunner in the Fighter Service. In just two years of combat, she destroys dozens of enemy fighters, two troop transports, and faces down an enemy carrier. Then Fate hits back, and takes from Onja her most prized possession. The man she loves.
A Vow to Sophia is the story of a girl facing impossible odds in a galaxy gone mad. It’s a story of courage, bravery, passion, and single-minded determination. Onja’s hatred fuels her success, but in the end, love is her salvation.
BTW, if you haven't checked out the Painful Truth since its makeover, it's worth a look.