Many readers stated that they wanted to know more about me and what inspired me to write. Even a little history on how my stories came to be. As I become accustomed with this idea, I'm sure I will become better at relating more about me, my life, and my books, but to start....
There's a part of me that is the rebel, who does not conform to the world and blazes a different trail than most; and because of this, I have this affection for the stories of wayward sons or daughters, of the prodigal son, the black sheep of the family, for the rebel.
Like most people say, girls like the bad boys, but it isn't the bad as in evil, it's the good hiding behind the facade of bad. It's seeing deeper into the person and into their hearts, knowing and believing that there is a good person there.
The story of the prodigal son is well known. The younger son leaves and lives in the world, reveling in its pleasures until he is left with nothing but shame and guilt. He heads home, willing to be the lowly servant, not deserving of being his father's son. But his father welcomes him back with open arms, happy to have his son return home: "for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found". (Luke 15:11-32)
This is a story of unconditional love and forgiveness, a story that mimics God's love for us.
The prodigal son was the rebel, the black sheep. Even though he found redemption, he still had that nature in him to blaze his own way.
When I was little my mother introduced me to movies she watched when she was little and I saw on television the prodigal sons, the black sheep, the rebels portrayed by Steve McQueen, James Dean, David Cassidy, eventually watching Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, and a host of others. These characters represented lost souls or wandering souls. By watching them, I started wondering if I could write stories where the black sheep of the family found redemption.
And that became the start of Mississippi Nights. Who couldn't fall in love with David or Jeremy? David is the prodigal son, returning home, hiding his shame. Jeremy is the older brother, resentful of his younger brother's acceptance back into the family after being gone for so long and abandoning his faith.
When this story first started out, I was only 14. I didn't know anything about life to be able to write, but I had an idea. Of course, the story was more secular in nature. But as I matured, as I lived and experienced life, the joys and heartaches, the story came back to me when I was 35. I revamped the characters and decided that David would be the central theme of the story; this black sheep of the family would be the key to reconciliation.
It wasn't a logical progression in writing. Even I didn't know what they would do sometimes. I fell into my own story, threw in my own grief, spread across the pages my own joys and faith. Eventually I produced a story that brought two wayward brothers back together and showed that even though we, as Christians, will never be perfect, God will never leave us.
Even now, I still write about the lost soul or the wayward son. In my next novel, Scott no longer wants to believe. He's that wonderful and kind lost soul who grabs at your heart. Then there's Ethan, a younger brother in one of my series, brilliant, wild, and so much a rebel. He will drive you half mad, but his heart is so soft and warm.
These will be my stories of redemption, reconciliation, and rebirth. These books will be the stories of the prodigals, the black sheep, and the rebels.