“You go home so you can be free; so you are not avoiding anything of who you are.” ~Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
SOUL PROTECTOR, the second book in my Lost Worlds series, releases on May 1st. When I started writing this story, I knew the theme was about redemption for the hero and heroine of this story as well as the hero and heroine of the first book, SOUL SURVIVOR.
Nathan and Nila in SOUL PROTECTOR are both damaged souls – my favorite type of character to write. Nathan, an anthropologist trying to prove a mythical lost tribe is real, is trying to redeem himself and save his career by facing his past. Nila, a shaman who is two days away from taking the bar exam, is running from her past and trying to start over. What they have in common is the fact they’re both searching for a way to redeem themselves from the mistakes they’ve made.
This is a romantic suspense, so of course, they need each other to complete their quests and they must come to understand that love in all its forms (not just romantic) is the path to redemption.
At the time I wrote the story, my family and I had moved to Florida, but things weren’t working out. Since I’d lived in the same small town most of my life, I didn’t want to move back *home*, even though doing so solved several major problems. Living in Florida, I felt free. No one knew me, no one cared what I did, no one watched my every move and reported back to my parents (yes, I’m an adult with kids of my own, but in this small town, I’m still a daughter too). If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you probably understand. Everyone knows everyone and gossip is the favorite pastime. I know a woman in town who has the funeral home’s website Favorited on her computer so she knows the minute anyone dies. When I see commercials for “that’s so forty seconds ago” I feel like they’re using my hometown as an example. Moving away and starting over was a fresh start, a new adventure, and I love adventures.
So I was struggling with failure, guilt, anger and sadness about returning to my hometown. It felt like giving up on a dream and dreams die hard in my world. For hours a day while my husband packed up our Florida house, I poured all those heart-wrenching emotions into Nathan and Nila and their storyline.
A year later, we’re back in our Illinois house, the boys are about to graduate from 8th grade and everyone’s happy. I miss Florida, but I know moving back was the right thing to do for everyone. Nate and Nila found a happy ending too. We all went home in one way or another and found, just like Natalie claims in Writing Down the Bones, that doing so makes us free.
In case you’re interested, here’s the blurb for SOUL PROTECTOR. I’m giving away Advanced Reader Copies today to anyone who leaves a comment and asks for one (leave your email addy). And please tell me if you’ve ever journeyed back home – physically or emotionally – in order to free yourself or make amends. I’d like to know I’m not the only one!
The secret to redemption lies in their souls.
Dr. Nathan Hunter has forty-eight hours to save his job and find the missing Salt Coast Clan, a lost civilization locals believe is a myth. When ancient human remains turn up at the site of a new state water project along the Oregon Coast, he’s sure the lost tribe is real. Before he can examine the bones, however, a pretty female lawyer gets an injunction to stop him.
Nila Willopah sees ghosts. After failing to help a young boy cross over to the afterlife seven years ago, she hung up her shaman’s cape, left her family, and went to college to pursue a law degree. Three days before the bar exam, she’s summoned home by her grandfather to defend a sacred burial ground from a billion dollar state water project.
Although her soul is in danger from the unbound spirits unearthed at the site, Nila is the one person who can stop the project and protect her ancestors’ last resting place from Dr. Hunter. She’s also the only one who can help the angry spirits cross over.
Nila suspects the sexy anthropologist is hiding a dark secret behind his clear blue eyes and skilled hands. A secret she wants nothing to do with. But when one of the ghosts latches onto his soul, Nila must set aside her fears and suspicions and once again enter the world of spirit communication to protect him.
Even if saving his soul means sacrificing her own.