Excuse me while I get a bit sentimental here, but I am so happy to finally hold a labor of love in my hands! After over a year of prayer, writing, decisions, editing, and design, Olivia's Gift is published and ready to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
After countless hours researching Loggerhead sea turtles at the local library (I learned a lot!), meeting with talented artist Sandra Casali LewAllen to discuss her gorgeous illustrations (wait 'til you see these!), creating fantastic graphic design with Roseann Nieman, and going over manuscripts and galleys with my editor Erin Howarth at DDM Publications, it feels so good to see the finished product in front of me. I labored a little longer over this book, and with good reason: This book celebrates the gift and the sanctity of life, and I am proud to say that St. Therese guided me every step of the way as I crafted this tale of Olivia's. Writing a pro-life book for 'tweens is no easy task; I wanted to get it just right.
I also introduce the theme of modesty in dress and behavior for 'tween boys and girls in Olivia's Gift, and for that I make no apologies. In the current culture we live in, it is imperative that we show our youth how to dress and act respectfully, now more than ever.
And in this culture of death and the occult, I feel so proud and happy to introduce the themes of pro-life and modesty in Olivia's Gift. My hope and prayer is that 'tweens and teens will embrace these themes as well. I am merely God's instrument here, and I feel called to provide books for this age group that celebrate our Catholic faith, modesty, the gift of life, and a wholesome childhood.
Thanks to all of you for being so patient. I so appreciate all of your e-mails and letters asking me to write another book about Olivia. I was happy, humbled, and honored to do it.
And thank you to my family, for letting me write...and when it got too loud around the house, thank you to the neighborhood coffee shop where I enjoyed mango iced teas and decaf lattes! Armed with a tasty drink, once I put those earbuds in my ear, I let the music carry me away into Olivia's world as she spends her summer vacation on the beach in North Carolina. Sometimes I actually felt like I was there with her, and when I close my eyes, I still am.
And of course, thank you to Our Lady and St. Therese.
And to God, who knows what is written on my heart.