Friday, May 18, 2012

Letters From Who...From Where...?

I'm sure you've been saying to yourself, "What is this 'Letters From Heaven' about, anyway?" When is she going to get on with it already!! I don't blame you, and you've been more than patient. And, who needs another "preachy" book, anyway! Right? Yep, I knew that's what you were thinking! God forbid that a Christian should write anything but Christian stuff! In fact, that's what all my friends thought as well, and had the nerve to kind of shun away--and frown their noses--whenever I said it wasn't a Christian book.  I mean, you would've thought I'd grown horns right before their eyes! Not write a Christian book...shame on me!  Needless to say, I survived their fiery judgment (though, I do think they've silently reserved a tiny spot in hell for me just in case I've taken the book too far off the deep end...wherever that is!).  And, some of them...they're not even going to read the book; they're just going to pick it up to scan it for cuss/curse (however you want to say it) words and "dirty" stuff...yeah, you know what kind of dirty stuff I mean! Oh, yeah, I KNOW people! I have a degree in people. No...I really DO have a degree in people, so nothing they do surprise or amaze me.  But, I love them just the same. They are what make like so interesting and give me something to write about the the next go round. No, I'm just kidding. Maybe.

Anyway, you'd like to know where the idea for Letters From Heaven come from: It was actually born from a personal tragedy that happened to my family and me some years ago. This is how I like to tell it:

        It was the summer of “79” that I came face to face with the cold reality of the bitter pain of
          death. It was the day that I watched in frozen horror as a car sped out of nowhere and
          pummeled into the body of my three and a half year old son, dragging him half a block
          away from home...a lifetime away from me.  It was that day that I began my solemn
          quest into the uncharted realm of life after death...searching for hope in the face of

           It was that long-ago summer when my son's death was still burning in our souls, and the 
           pain of it still simmered in the air, that I came to understand the often-spoken words of 
           Mama Louise, a loquacious black woman born and raised in the old south. She'd say (just
          as matter-of-fact as if she was speaking the pure gospel), "Death...that's the easy part,
          it's living that's so hard!"

         Mama Louise wasn't there to comfort me with these words in the summer of "79."  No, it
         would be much later that I'd come to appreciate her salty wisdom and her way of peppering
         it with bits of raw truth.  It wouldn't be until the winter of 2003 that I'd first meet this brash
         and sassy old woman, and not until I'd create her in my debuting novel, Letters From

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