Miracles, Stories, Philosophy & Giveaways
Somewhere in Nashville in a tiny, locally owned bookstore that feels like home, a woman with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes sits crisscross applesauce on the floor, a stack of books beside her. Authors she’s loved for decades litter the space around her; new authors with either-gonna-make-you-think-or-make-you-mad books are thrown in for variety.
Do you believe in miracles?
As I’ve grown up, stories have stayed with me and remained empirical evidence that miracles exist. When I am hurting, when I am happy, when I am scared, when I lonely, I write about the full human experience. My stories are cathartic; they give me revelations that aid in my healing, they help me say things I cannot otherwise say, and they give me the only place I have to be the fully unedited version of me. Most of the time, this is very fun. I love writing, and I love my characters.
For the woman sitting in the floor of the bookstore, me, proof of miracles exist between the covers of books. From the time I was very little, my body didn’t belong to me: I was violated in awful ways. Some survivors can’t pinpoint how they survived, they just know they did. For me, though, despite the mind-numbing terror of what happened, I was very lucky because I was loved, and my dreams were always encouraged. Writing stories wasn’t just a fun hobby, it quite literally kept me sane. I vividly remember talking to my characters whose stories I’d written earlier in the day while I was being hurt. These characters were my friends, and they made me believe I was stronger than I really was.
Every now and then, though, a book comes along that I’m not ready to write. The Storyteller is one of those books. I didn’t want to confront some of the questions it brought up, specifically about mental illness. But here’s the thing: miracles are the handiwork of God. They are gifts from Him. And He knows what we need, and the real desires of our hearts, before and better than we do. It took me a very long time to make peace with some of the characters and themes in this book but, the deeper into the characters’ lives I went, the more in love I fell. This is a redeeming story; one that showcases parts of myself I don’t often acknowledge, one that really returns control to the survivor, and one that highlights how powerful stories are. These characters are more complex, more vulnerable and stronger than any I have ever written; some of them hold pieces of me that no one character ever has. And the themes in this book are too important not to discuss: mental illness and the devastating impact it can have on lives if left untreated, child abuse and the myriad of ways it can damage souls, the redeeming power of love, and the tangible hope that lies within magical stories. All of these topics matter. They matter to me even if to no one else. God knows that, and helped me find the place of understanding and peace I needed to release it.
The Storyteller will be released the first week of November 2021!
This story is so meaningful to me in so many ways! My beautiful daughters helped with naming the characters (and the dog); my youngest helped with the chapter header graphics and her ideas were instrumental in the ending of the book. I will forever cherish this book for this reason alone. When others spend time sharing things that matter to us our souls are nourished, memories are created, and our hearts are strengthened. So, for many reasons, I am proud to announce the launch of this book. And I want to share it with my readers!!! The ability to talk about and hear from others their takeaways from the stories is without a doubt one of the most rewarding things about writing.
So, I have a plan!
I have posted the Book Club Discussion Guide for this story, along with an author interview I completed with a fellow writer, a host of excerpts and helpful, practical resources . The Book Club Discussion Guide is what I’d like to use to start a conversation. So — every day for the next 12 days, I will post a question from the Guide, and my response to it. Anyone who makes a comment either here, on Facebook or links to the page will be automatically entered
for a chance to win a copy of the book!
At the end of the 10 days, on October 7, 2021, I will randomly select 3 people to receive a copy of the book (and maybe even before it’s released!) The goal is to start meaningful conversations — and, selfishly, it gives me the chance to talk about these characters, and this book, that I am excited for, and proud of. Abuse teaches you that (a) you have something for which to be ashamed and (b) you are alone. While The Storyteller has many themes and purposes, it’s main one is to shout from the rooftops that these are lies. There is not a right or wrong way to react to abuse: if you told, you’re brave; if you didn’t tell, you’re brave. If you fought back, it was the right thing to do. If you didn’t back, it was the right thing to do. Because these are reactions; they are not the crime. Furthermore, although no two stories are the same, the feelings of isolation, shame, terror — these are common amongst survivors. You are not alone. And the goal in this giveaway is more than giving away a book from an unknown author: it’s about making and crossing a bridge. It’s asking myself how can I share my #metoo story in a way that feels safe because making myself vulnerable, exposing all of the insecurities that lie just beneath the smiley surface exposes those lessons for what they were: lies.
Miracles are like glitter
When God moves, takes something that feels inadequate, and bursts open doors you didn’t even think to knock on, confetti falls, hearts are made lighter and space for healing becomes a thing. I am grateful for God’s presence, for the gift of writing, for a family that has always encouraged it, for readers, for all the characters that have been my friends for thirty some-odd years, and for the chance to share.