What’s Your Mission in Life?

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How do you start with a tiny spark of inspiration and end with a six book series?

I’ve just released THE ONE MY HEART LOVES, the fifth book in THE TENAFLY ROAD SERIES so I thought it would be fun to walk down memory lane.

My writing mission that I didn’t know I had at the start:

To write deep characters with real flaws who, despite it all, find love and redemption. I didn’t know what grace was until I gave it to John Weldon in THE HOUSE ON TENAFLY ROAD.

THE HOUSE ON TENAFLY ROAD: Looking back it would have been impossible to write compassionately about morphine-addicted Civil War veteran John Weldon if I hadn’t fallen in love with a handsome boy in high school who was addicted to drugs. We dated on and off through college. He even looked me up after I was unhappily married with children and he was sober. I hope he still is — though the last time I looked he’d disappeared.

WEARY OF RUNNING: An addict’s road to redemption takes its toll on others. I was curious how John Weldon’s son William would handle adulthood with the hurts he carries. The saddest scene is when William takes his first drink. All of his secret yearnings for Thankful Crenshaw slip into far off second place.  Thankful’s brother, Buck Crenshaw carries secret hurts of his own — how else could he be so easily tempted to take out revenge on one of the first black cadets attending West Point?

THE DEW THAT GOES EARLY AWAY is a reference to fleeting love. Buck takes center stage as he wrestles with disillusionment as a new Christian and runs off to a utopian society that promises a fast track to God (and worldly delights). He hardly has time to notice his sister Thankful, still reeling from the loss of her unfaithful fiance, and rushing headlong into another mistake. William’s cousin Lucy takes him to task over his drunken lifestyle but will he change? (You’ll have to read the book to find out :))

FORGET ME NOT is SAD. It just is. I do love how it ends and that’s all I’ll say.

THE ONE MY HEART LOVES: All of my favorite characters are paired off and making a hash of things. Buck is a wreck over his engagement. Thankful is a wreck because she’s jealous. Seeing how Lucy McCullough and William Weldon navigate the Crenshaw minefield satisfies something deep within me and sets us up for the final installment.

THE GRAND UNION starts off in Saratoga Springs, New York at The Grand Union Hotel. Will Buck’s marriage be a grand union? Will he screw up even this? What happens when his wife really gets to know him? I love this couple and want only happiness for them but new troubles await (with Thankful leading the charge) when they arrive back in Englewood to start a family. (Preorder TODAY!)

I love big books about families. How about you? Do you have a favorite literary family? I’m obviously biased.

And more importantly, what’s your mission? I’d love to know in the comments below!