“Hi, Laurel. It’s Mom. I just had an interesting call from Michael Landon Jr. and Brian Bird. They’re adding a TV series to the When Calls the Heart movie and have introduced some new characters to viewers. In their words this is ‘a wonderful opportunity’ for me to write another book series.”
“Wow. Are you going to do it? I thought you were pretty serious about retiring [audible smile] and I know you’ve got a busy summer ahead.”
“Yes, I told them I’d retired and am now busy with more things in the church and community—and wasn’t interested. And of course, with our house up for sale and the plan to move into a condo, we just don’t know when the move will need to happen.”
“Then they had another suggestion. ‘You could use a co-writer.’ I immediately thought of you. Since you’re no longer home-schooling, are you interested?”
“Wow. Well, actually, the timing would be really good for me. I do have a couple other projects I’m working on—but no deadlines for those. Sure, I’d like to talk about how that might work. It would be a great opportunity for me.”
That’s how we began a new and interesting venture into shaping characters, visualizing happenings, heart-searching a theme, and telling a story about Beth Thatcher leaving the safety of home to go someplace unknown, to the heartbroken little town of Coal Valley—conversations shared across 2,000 miles via airplane visits, the internet cloud and cell towers. But would writing the new book be a difficult process to share?
Yes, to be honest, dear reader, it was in many ways.
After all, writing is kind of a “solitary” work. Just the writer and an empty space known as the computer screen, a keyboard with its component letters which contain all of the possibilities of communication—and the strange and mysterious “something” known as imagination. But blending two points-of-view into one story would certainly require some stretching and negotiating.
Maybe, though, the process isn’t ever as solitary as one first thinks. Or feels.
As people of faith, nothing we do is done alone. As we write, we pray. And God listens and responds. In a way far too mysterious to completely fathom, communication takes place, influencing and leading thoughts and discoveries.
And in many tangible ways, all of those people with whom we’ve journeyed—both those of flesh and blood, or from the pages of another story that another solitary someone has consigned to printed word—all these have contributed their part to who our “characters” will or have become. So that, even as we write we understand that we aren’t really alone. All those who share our lives contribute.
However, written words aren’t meant to remain in isolation. You—the reader—are already there too, long before you read the opening lines of Where Courage Calls. We travel first, guiding a journey of developing characters bent on adventures on the unique road they’re about to travel. Then something uncontrolled happens: at some point an exchange is made that puts these characters into the hands that turn the pages, minds that translate the simple letters into envisioned happenings—experiences of joy, pain, sorrow, the entire gamut of human emotion—in short, life with all of its excitements, possibilities, growth and development. Reading!Alone. And yet, shared.
A book is always personal—even though it passes through many, many hands. It comes from the heart of each author, is tumbled through the workings of countless editors, and passes into the minds and hearts of the readers, who filter it through their own imaginations, ideas and experiences. A fascinating paradox. A conversation we share silently. So we’d love to invite you into this conversation with us. You’ve already been influencing it since its beginning.