I like to write about God’s power to restore relationships, or His ability to give peace when a relationship is better off closed. The main character (Tori) in this book experiences both – rekindling with her great aunt, and forgiving her mother who chose to leave Tori behind for a man.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
I’m working on a non-fiction book, Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? which is actually a book of encouragement for married women. My next novel is due to my publisher in about three months, but I have no idea what it’ll be about. Yikes! But don’t worry. I do my best writing under pressure.
I'd call that pressure. I'm struggling right now with meeting the deadline for one of my novels, so we can work under pressure together. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Hmmm…probably Joyce Meyer or some other woman of faith who has been through trials and come out with a stronger testimony for Christ. At this point in my life, I’m learning to linger in encouragement from women who’ve walked this narrow path and are further down the road than me.
That's a very good thing to learn. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
I’d like to sit down with Mary Kay Ash. I read her autobiography and thoroughly enjoyed her words of wisdom. Even though I wasn’t any good at selling lipstick for my 2-week Mary Kay stint, I still admire the opportunities she opened for women.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
This is a tough question. Before now, I might have said something like “Keep praying – God will open the door for you when it’s time.” But now that I’m a hybrid author of sorts (I’ve self-published short stories and ancillary instructional materials for teachers of reluctant secondary readers – WeGottaRead.com), I’m more inclined to say, “Get a strong edit, make recommended changes, try to get it published again. If there are still no takers, pray about publishing it yourself.” Again, prayer is always in order. But I think that, for such a time as this, God has opened the door for many authors to walk through without a traditional publisher.
Henderson is on the fast track in her marketing career in , but her personal life is slow as molasses. So when her beloved Aunt Dottie falls ill, Tori travels back to tiny Bayford to care for her. But when Tori arrives, she's faced with more than she bargained for, including Dottie's struggling local store, a host of bad memories, and a troubled little step-cousin, DeAndre. Worse, the nearest Starbucks is twenty miles away... Houston
Just as Tori is feeling overwhelmed, she re-connects with her old crush, the pastor's son, Jacob, who is every bit as handsome as she remembers. As the church rallies for Aunt Dottie's recovery, Tori realizes that she came to Bayford to give, but she just might receive more than she dreamed was ever possible for her.
Please give us the first page of the book.
THIS IS NOT THE FIRST PAGE, IT’S AN EXCERPT. IS THAT OKAY???
Fine with me. Go for it!
Unfamiliar surroundings caused a brief panic as I returned to a state of consciousness. An I.V. in my arm, sterile whiteness all around me.
“Miss Henderson?” a soft voice called.
My voiceway obstructed, I instinctively reached for my throat and felt plastic tubing.
“No. Wait just a second – I’ll take it out.” A red-haired nurse with extremely fair skin stood over me now. Her presence brought everything in to focus. The first thing I realized was the absence of the excruciating pain that had taken over my entire being earlier in the day, replaced by only a tenderness in the area.
In one sweeping motion, the nurse extracted the cylinder from my mouth. Like ripping tape off someone’s mouth, no use in belaboring the action. A few coughs later, I managed to eke out a request for water.
The nurse obliged me only a sip, saying I shouldn’t eat or drink anything until the anesthesia wore off. “Don’t want you to lose whatever you put down.”
I wanted to tell her that after all I’d been through, I was a professional vomitter.
The next thing I remember with clarity is eating jello, trying to convince myself that it was okay to swallow again. The surgery was over, but I still needed to satisfy my psyche. One bite. Wait. Another bite. Wait. Before the next bite, I examined the jello. My taste buds must have been asleep still because I wasn’t able to taste much. I had to rely on texture. Gelatin made with real sugar was thicker than jello made with artificial sweetener. My fork sliced through the shiny red substance easily. Splenda.
I’m pretty sure I slept like a baby for most of my two-day hospital stay. There was little to occupy me except an occasional visit from the doctor or a nurse. I could have kicked myself for leaving my laptop in the car. The outside temperature was cool enough to prevent damage to my equipment, but the workload would certainly swell with neglect. If only I’d had someone I knew come by, I could give them my keys and ask them to go get my bag.
Kevin called once, between meetings, to check on me. “How are you feeling?”
“Much better.” I powered my bed to an upright position. “How’s it going in
“Sweet. I think that pharmaceutical company I told you about is going to award us the account. It’s huge. Seriously – huge.”
“That’s good.” I wish I could say I listened to him go on and on about the deal, his residuals from it, and how his team would probably win the contest if they got this one, which meant a trip to St. Lucia for us both, but as exciting as all that was, something else caught my attention. Actually, it was the lack of something that struck me. I didn’t have any flowers in my room. Not one balloon, not one card.
Voices from the hallway spilled into my room, and I watched for a moment to see who they belonged to. First appeared a woman about my age with her hair pulled behind a white, cloth headband. She wore a full-length halter dress and flip-flops. The child, probably her son, hopped from tile to tile as he traveled alongside her. She told him to stop it because hospitals were no place for leaping.
Slowly, a man came into view pushing an I.V. cart. The patient. They were a family, I figured. The mom and son had come to visit the father. A few elderly family members trailed the man. Maybe his parents. They talked about whether or not the man would still be able to go to “D-I-S-N-E-Y land,” the grandmother spelled out, presumably so the child wouldn’t understand the topic.
As I watched this family’s snapshot, the absence of flowers, cards, and balloons seemed minor in relation to my saddest revelation. No one had come to see me.
I broke into Kevin’s impending-sales-victory train with a question. “Do you think we’re ever going to be a family?”
He stuttered, “Wh-what?”
“A family.” I spelled it out for him, “Me, you, kids, your parents.”
“Tori, we’ve already talked about this.”
I sighed. “I know, I know. It’s just that I’m sitting here in this hospital all alone and—”
“You’re having a moment, babe. Don’t get down about it, alright? You’ll be up on your feet in a few days. This moment will pass,” he assured me. “I gotta go. I’ll call you when I get a chance.” He hung up before I could even say good-bye.
My eyes began to sting and lumps jumbled in my throat. I’m having moment? A moment of wanting someone to care enough to check on me? This ain’t no Twix commercial, this is life. I didn’t want a moment of being cared about – I wanted someone to care about me every day.
I blinked back the tears because crying, like vomiting, was not my forte. The last time I could remember crying, I mean shoulder-shaking, snot-flying crying, was when my mother told me not to cry.
I was sixteen and had just delivered a stillborn baby boy.
Your usual masterful writing in your unique voice. Wow! How can readers find you on the Internet?
And thank you, Michelle, for sharing your new book with us.
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