“Here’s one thing you can know for sure, though . . . The pain that’s runnin’ through you right now is just like that river. Sometime or another it’s gonna flow right on through everybody. What you gotta remember is, you don’t drown by fallin’ in the water. You drown by stayin’ there.” -Modean Wilkes
If you haven’t met Modean Wilkes yet, I hope you will soon. She lived a long time in my mind before I gave her life on the pages of my novel. I imagine all writers get attached to their characters. But Modean . . . she’s special.
In 2005, I fell into my very own river of pain after death took someone I loved—someone I needed. I was certain I would drown in those waters. For months I flailed about, refusing rescue or comfort, obstinate in my bitterness, fully emptied of joy and hope, positive the God of Heaven had turned His back on me.
I wrestled with the question, How could a good God be so merciless? When I cried out for Him in breathless desperation, begging for a miracle—a miracle He could have effortlessly given—He took no notice of me. It was a cruelty I could not have imagined from the God I loved and trusted, and I wondered, Had I ever really known Him at all?
In the years after I stumbled out of those dark waters, I began to write a story. I wrote even as I limped through the saddest of days. I wrote through my resentment. I wrote as I mourned. I wrote to reconcile the warring thoughts in my soul. I wrote when glimpses of hope gradually made their presence known. I wrote when I found laughter again. I wrote in obedience.
A View from There is that story—a raw, honest account of lives devastated when God doesn’t show up. It’s a story of how those people, weary and worn from a battle they did not choose, must decide either to drown in the river of bitterness and grief, or take the hand of the only One who can pull them to life once more.
It’s my hope that A View from There will make you laugh and cry and bring you to the edge of your seat. I want you to fall in love with the characters the way I have—Kate, Malcolm, Ms. Beulah, Aunt Modean, and so many more of the folks from Millsville. I want you to feel what they feel, see what they see. I want you to connect with their joys, their struggles. But more than anything, I hope you’ll find your very own glimpses of hope to take with you on your journey.
Back to Modean Wilkes. Remember, I told you she’s special to me? I’ll be honest—there’s probably a little piece of someone I know in all my characters. But Modean . . . there’s a lot of my grandma in Modean—her wit, her spunk, her modest wisdom.
Grandma, my mother, is the one I lost in 2005. She’s the reason my novel came to be. She’s the reason for so many good things in my life. In the days after her death, I imagined her saying those words Modean says in the book, “. . . you don’t drown by fallin’ in the water. You drown by stayin’ there.” I could just hear her sweet, but stern voice finish with, “You hear me, Angela Michelle? Now dry those eyes and know I’ll see you soon, honey. But until then, you get on up from there and go do what God made you to do.”
A View from There was me getting on up and doing what God made me to do. I’m so excited to finally share it with you. The official release date is September 8th, but you can pre-order today.
Please know I appreciate your help in getting the word out. I certainly can’t do this without your support and willingness to share. Wanna know another bit of raw truth? I’m scared to death. But . . . (deep breath) . . . here we go.