Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Shannon O’Donnell, a writer I recently connected with online! This week, Shannon launches her book Love’s Memory: The Scotts of Mountain Ridge Book One, which she describes as “a story of one woman’s journey to wholeness.” I’ve had the pleasure of reading Shannon’s book this week. Half way through the book, I realized this work of fiction very closely resembles the real life stories I like to tell on this blog – seeing through God’s eyes, listening to His promptings, inspiring, sharing hope and encouragement, believing our lives can be redeemed at any moment. In Love’s Memory, Valerie finds herself in a set of circumstances less than ideal. Valerie meets an older woman named Bessie who follows God’s promptings and takes Valerie under her wings. Bessie, as Shannon shares, is “a praying warrior…strategically placed in the path of [Valerie], and eventually her husband. Once again, God’s love and power is demonstrated in an undeniable and glorious way.”
Please welcome Shannon O’Donnell as she guest posts about a woman who encouraged her to write. And make sure to check out her website for more information on her book, links to purchase Love’s Memory through Amazon, and an opportunity to receive some amazing gifts!
One of the most gratifying things to a writer is having a great story to tell. The thrill of penning thoughts, emotions and imagination into a tale, I suspect, is similar to a runner winning a race—that moment when a splash of endorphins hits his nerves, sending the signal surge forward. When writing, I call this experience the “writer’s high.” It’s that moment when everything falls into place, when your fingers can’t type fast enough, when the juices are in full swing and a good story is birthed.
I loved writing my story Love’s Memory: The Scotts of Mountain Ridge Book One. I loved my characters. The Scott family is fictional but their story is not uncommon to many today. Broken hearts, broken dreams, broken relationships are common to all of us. Who hasn’t felt the sting of rejection, of disappointment, of betrayal from ones we love? That’s life…and the lessons we learn through it are what make our life worthwhile or unbearable. The theme of my story is forgiveness. How well we learn to forgive will determine the degree of happiness that we experience in day to day living.
My favorite character in Love’s Memory is Bessie. I think everyone who reads my book either has a Bessie in their life or wishes they did. In fact, the world needs more Bessies. The world, especially the Christian world, lacks mature Godly mentors. I dedicated my book to one such Bessie in my life: Mrs. Mitchell.
I was fourteen years old and still quite a stranger to my new Nebraska home when I met Mrs. Mitchell. I had been an air force brat and lived in six different homes by the time I was thirteen. My father retired and at age thirty-nine moved his family to a small but beautiful town in Northeast Nebraska. My English and history teacher was a lovely woman that I called Mrs. Mitchell. Not only was Mrs. Mitchell an incredible teacher who was able to keep this restless teenager enthralled in her lessons, she was a lover of God.
A revival had broken out in a small Methodist church that year. Mrs. Mitchell was a member of it. I remember her wearing a cross necklace of nails to school during that time. I was intrigued by this ardent display of faith. I wasn’t a religious person. My family attended church but God was never spoken of at home. But I remember hanging around Mrs. Mitchell’s classroom with other students after school and asking her questions about God. She listened with a smile on her face, and always referred us to the Bible for answers.
It was also at this time, at a parents-teachers conference, that I overheard her tell my parents that I would write books ones day. She then turned to me and nodded, “You will.” I remember the feeling of wonder that filled me at those words. Me? Write a book?
The next year I found myself in a different building. I was in high school now. Mrs. Mitchell was busy with a new group of students down the road in the Middle School. The revival had simmered to a slow burn. Life was status quo, you might say. But seeds had been planted in me and over the years, other Bessies entered my life; watering those seeds, fertilizing them here and there, until they blossomed into a passion for God and for the written word.
I haven’t seen Mrs. Mitchell for years. But one of my greatest joys will be when I am able to present her with a copy of my book Love’s Memory, autographed by me, but dedicated to her. I am grateful to Mrs. Mitchell and pray that I may become a Mrs. Mitchell to many before God calls me home.