Photo by Jordan Smith
I published my first book in 2013. In that story, a brother was mentioned who had served in Italy and was killed in World War II. My father served in World War II but didn’t see action. When he returned home, he learned that one of his friends had fallen in a battle at Anzio, Italy. The friend was buried there. My husband and I went to Italy and learned more about World War II history. We visited the cemetery where my father’s friend was buried. We didn’t find his tombstone but did find his name on a memorial listed under those who were Missing in Action.
In my second book, I really wanted to go deeper with the character of the brother who was killed in World War II in my first book. I wanted to use old letters to tell the story of the brother but I wasn’t sure how to go about this. During this time, I attended a dinner party. One of the dinner guests said, “I liked your first book. Are you going to write a sequel?” I told him I was and that I wanted to explore the brother who fell in World War II through letters in the next book. He told me that his great uncle had served in World War II and that he had the letters his great uncle had sent back from the Italy to his family. He also told me that his great uncle was a Kentucky farm boy, which is exactly what my character was . . . and he said he would share these letters with me! This was just what I needed. The letters were family heirlooms, so I carefully color copied them, read them all, and gave them back. The cover of my second book is actually a photo of these letters.
The gift of the letters was so helpful. The language was very different from what I would have imagined, and what he talked about in the letters wasn’t what I expected. Mostly the letters were about two things: 1) he wanted to know what was happening on the farm in Kentucky, and 2) he reassured his mom that he was okay. The letters were beautiful—poignant and sweet. I included several of his letters verbatim in the book. God brought these letters to me exactly when I needed them; the perfect timing was amazing. This also affirmed and encouraged me to write the second book. God inspired me to keep going.
Something similar happened when I was writing my first book and needed information about international flight attendants. My husband and I were staying at a bed and breakfast, and my husband asked the owner what she used to do. She said she used to be an international flight attendant! I asked her if she’s traveled to Rome (the character in my book traveled to Rome) and she said, “Oh, yes!” I asked if I could talk to her for a few minutes and she told me everything I needed to know—where flight attendants stay in Rome, what they do with their free time in Rome, what the crew room is like in the airport, how they got from airport to hotel, and how seniority worked with bidding flights. She was the perfect resource at the perfect time.
God has revealed to me that He is attentive to the details of our lives and that these details are important to Him. My books are Christian fiction. Even though I am not a pastor or a missionary, I want my work to be for God. In a way, my writing and my books are my ministry. Through seeing God work in the details of my story, I saw that He cares about writing and telling stories. I felt God’s affirmation that I was doing His work, and I saw that nothing is impossible with Him.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.