For the love of a sister
In 2016, my sister Jo Ann (whom I called JoJo) died. She was more than simply my sister—she was the one who led me to Christ. She was my prayer partner of 39 years, my tell-it-to-you-even-if-you-don't-want-to-hear-it friend, and my encourager. JoJo was brilliant, creative, opinionated, funny . . . and one of the best people I've ever known.
Although it was the Lord who called me to write, I don't suppose I'd have become an author if she hadn't been in my life. She was my biggest cheerleader, my sternest critic, and writing without her won't ever be the same. I smile over it now but there were times we would nearly go to WAR over her critiques and editorial comments. She was sharp, methodical, and relentless—and she made me a better writer. Even now, when I write, her voice still echoes in the inner chambers of my heart prompting me to see where people might misunderstand a theological point I'm trying to make, or laughing at a totally silly typo, or saying how much she loved one of the characters in a book . . . but these are only the shadows of something that was once quite real and vibrant.
The storyline for my latest series of books was rolling around in me for many years before I started writing them—and one of the main things that inspired the plot was the relationship I had with my sister (a relationship that Jesus transformed from one of mortal enemies to eternal friends). Although JoJo saw some early drafts of the first book in the Scions of the Aegean C series, her deteriorating health prevented her from reading later drafts, and she died just a few weeks before it was printed.
It's become bittersweet to write now, knowing she won't be reading each word with a nearly unbearable intensity and scribbling exclamation marks or critical comments in the margins . . . but I'll continue to write, and one of my hopes is that other women will be inspired to discover the transformational love and friendships that God can give to us as we journey on this earth.