The concept for my first book, "Unspoken" (2004), came to me during an excursion to select a Christmas Tree. We stopped by a white stone barn where hundreds of beautiful trees laid on the ground like fallen soldiers. The same feelings of guilt and attachment came to me that plague me when I pass a pet shop window filled with adorable, four-legged beggars desperately seeking a home. "Choose me! Choose me!" they always seem to say. We assume every puppy will eventually find a home, but those trees? I knew those who failed to capture a family's heart would have been hewn down in vain. Melodramatic as it may sound, but in that moment the waste of those lives hit me deeply. And then I saw the underlying parallel--the reason Christmas Trees are a symbol of the Savior, whose own life was offered as a gift whose value was subject to the whims of hearts.
As you might see, I draw deeply from personal experience as I write. Some authors may chase trends. I write what I feel, what moves me, what grips my heart. I know when I've hit upon a theme, and a setting. It feels right. There's simply no other explanation. It's why I stomped through battlefields and climbed the ramparts of ancient forts for "Free Men and Dreamers," and why I marched along the Florida Gulf's white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island for "Awakening Avery." I can't write until the topic means something personal to me.
I've been working on a political suspense novel, and then life, which I have held at bay for eight years so I could complete FM&D, interrupted that project. God and I had a deal. I felt Him helping me, supporting me through FM&D, but I promised that when it was over I would attend to all the things--relationships, tasks, service, etc.--that wanted more than I had been able to give during that time. And so, in keeping that promise I turned my life over to the needs of each day, and new inspiration assures me another book must come before that political tome.
My mother was recently diagnosed with the early signs of dementia. The diagnosis was not a surprise. We had noticed changes, and the family history of the disease on her side of the family was clear. Still, watching your mother revert from funny and confident one minute to fearful and angry the next has been painful and stressful, and my experiences with her as the family adjusts to this--both the pleasant and the unpleasant ones--are forming the basis for a new book.
The frame is complete, and I think it will come together very quickly, that is if I can find time to write. After all, I'm keeping that promise to let the day's needs decide the course of each day.
I'm going to describe my progress. Follow along. I'd love the company.