I am very much a pantser when it comes to writing. A pantser is one who just sits down at the computer and sees what happens. Oh sure, I know the general plot of my story, but I don’t narrow it down to every little detail with outlines and notes.
When I wrote Angel’s End during the spring of 2011 I was full of optimism. After all I’d just gotten two new contracts with two different houses to write two totally different series. I’d been through a rough time with my career while trying to move to a different house and prayed every day that I would be able to continue to write. After all God had given me this gift, why wouldn’t he want me to use it? I realized when writing Cade’s story that it was about my journey of keeping the faith, even when you think God’s not listening.
I’m also very much an animal lover. I knew my heroine, Leah, would have a dog and Dodger became a very central character to the book. Also, because of the few plot points I did have in mind, I had several stray animals show up, due to their families being wiped out by a Measles epidemic. One of these was a fluffy gray kitten that I named Ashes after my young adult series, Ashes Of Twilight, which will be released this November.
Fast forward to last winter. I happened to see a random post on Face Book about a cat available for adoption at our local shelter. The cat looked just like Ashes. I had recently lost my dad to heart disease and wanted desperately to do something good in his honor. I asked my husband, who is very patient when it comes to my love of animals if he minded if I adopted this cat. His immediate response was NO! We have enough. I thought I could convince him, but Katie was put to sleep before I could persuade him. I was devastated. I’m pretty sure I poured my grief over my dad into losing Katie because I cried loud and long when I saw her picture in the put to sleep album.
But that didn’t stop me from looking at the pets available for adoption at our local high kill shelter. And looking at them got me thinking about them a lot. And thinking about them led me to going to the shelter and volunteering my time. Which led to me taking part in saving dozens of animals. I also started a blog called Authors For Animals which is about my experiences at the shelter and has feature stories about authors and their rescue pets at authors for animals
Writing about my characters rescuing stray animals inspired me to do the same. It was never planned, it just happened, just like my stories.
I also have a coyote attack as part of the plot in Angel’s End. That part came a little to close to home in real life. Luckily for Leah, Cade Gentry was there to save Dodger, Ashes and her son Banks. Sadly, I lost two of my dear cats to coyotes. But I honored their lives by saving two more and now have two wonderful kittens I adopted from the shelter who are only inside cats now.
Everyone is welcome in Angel’s End. It’s a town of misfits and strays that all came looking for a home and found much more. I hope you find as much inspiration between the pages as I did.