Monday, October 3, 2011

Celebrating Nopeming Shores - Parnaormal Romance

Readers often ask what the inspiration for a book was. On the release day for Nopeming Shores  it seems very fitting to share the unusual inspiration for the book by the two people who wrote it. J. Andrew Lockhart joins me today, adding his thoughts after mine.

Margie writes:

Current events were part of the story inspiration. I conceived the basic plot about 18 months ago, when my brother in-law was deployed to Afghanistan. I saw how difficult it was for my sister to have her husband gone.

Personal tragedy inspired the character, Gabe. Years ago, my father was violently taken from me. I think anyone who's experienced a sudden loss, recognizes the turmoil it creates. You have a million questions that can't always be answered. You wish you could have been there in that last instant of life to sooth their journey into the afterlife.

In the hours, days, and weeks following my father's death, the Holy Spirit visited me several times. Despite any notions you may have of me, I am a practicing Catholic, and I believe and love the intercessions of the Holy Spirit. They brought me great comfort.

On one occasion, my father's ghost also visited. I won't deny it was shocking to see him - frightening even. Luckily, he was whole again, and able-bodied. He walked to the foot of my bed and waved goodbye. He wore a wry smile, as if to say, it's okay now. I won't say that after these visits, everything was hunky-dory, but I had a bit of peace to cling to.

So, I had these ideas about not wanting to let go of the one who has died, and the pain survivors must endure. That became the angst Gabe and Lily felt. They were in their early 30s, and married for about six years. Although Gabe had a dangerous job in the military police, Lily and Gabe didn't let that control their future. They had plans to start a family – to have their happily ever after. In an instant, their future was taken from both of them.

Lots of times, we get the notion that spirits soar into some sort of bliss after death, and spend eternity with a smile on their face. I'd like that to be true, but I really don't believe it. In this book, Gabe is as devastated by what happened as Lily is. It's so bad, that his spirit can't leave the confines of earthly existence. God grants him the opportunity to help Lily rebuild her life and, in turn, help him sever his ties to humanity. Don't expect a religion lesson; this story is about two people coping with their grief.

My friendship with J. Andrew Lockhart led me to choose his poetry as a gentle way for Gabe to reach out to Lily. I found a kinship with Andrew because his own tragedies and together, we really understood the story and the characters.

Andrew's turn:

When Margie first asked me to write poetry for the book, I was uncomfortable about writing for a fictitious person. The more I saw, though, the more I realized that I had so much in common with Gabe.

When I was 30 I had an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke. My wife and I had a one year-old son, and I was beginning my life as an attorney. My world ended on that day.
After years of rehab and memory loss, I ended up an elementary music teacher, a father of four children, and a writer.

My story, after 15 years, has a happy ending, but many times I think about what would have happened if I had ended up like Gabe. That is what drove me through this book. It was much more emotional than I thought it would be. I would spend many nights thinking about how I would handle his situation, and how my wife would have taken it. It took me a while after the book was over to be able to write as "me" again.

I'm very glad that I did it, though. I actually learned from Gabe, and I was also able to give Margie the insight from a man who has "been there." I think it's a wonderful story.

J. Andrew Lockhart and Margie Church

We hope you enjoy Nopeming Shores. After you've read it, please you tell us what you thought.

CONTEST!  Has a ghost or spirit ever communicated with you? If so, tell us how or what happened. One commenter will win a copy of Nopeming Shores. Don't forget to leave your email address.


Cindy said...

My mother passed away in May of 2009. Her death was much harder on me than my dad's in '97. I felt for months something was wrong after she slipped and fell and did not bounce back as she had in the past. After 2 strokes, I knew in my heart (though refused to accept it) that she was not going to recover to what she was. In the hospital, when I leaned over to kiss her good night, She pulled to her and did not want to let go.
After she died, while she was at the funeral home, I was home, eyes wet with tears. I smelled my dad's aftershave. I looked around but there was nothing there. It was a few minutes later when I felt a hand on my cheek that I knew it was mom telling me her and dad were together again.
Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. :(
I'm so anxious to read this book!

DA Kentner said...

I am passionate about stories like Nopeming Shores and the authors' stories behind them. Not to mention in this case both authors are superb writers in their own right.
Yes, I will defintely be reading this book.

Crystal Trent Dotson said...

I havent , but I can relate to this story , I lost my brother 3 years ago , he was coming home late at night on his 31st birthdy and he wrecked his 4 wheeler , he was in a coma for 2 weeks and even though I was there with him , it wasnt the same as being able to tell him good bye while he was awake. I often wonder and wish that he is near me , we was best friends so its been really hard , I dont think it would freak me out or anything if I did see him again , I'd tell him how much I love & miss him.
Crystal Trent Dotson

Margie Church said...

Cindy, I'm glad your parents brought you comfort. It's difficult to go though what you and Crystal went through. And Crystal, I'm certain your brother knows how you feel. I hope you'll both read Nopeming Shores and tell me what you think.

And David. The blog tour for this book will reveal so much more, but I know of your recent loss and I hope this book won't be too difficult for you to read. It does come with a tissue alert. You have a special place in my writer's heart, too.

Kate Richards said...

Congratulations on your release, Margie! After reading the blurb and excerpt I'm very excited to read the whole story.

kbcutter said...

Powerful story. And so are the ones behind the authors.

No words can articulate how impressed I am with this work, Margie and Andrew.

All I can say is God Bless and I'm buying this book, pronto!

mary h said...

This is one of the most emotional stories I have read in years, and it impressed me because it never once descended into sentimental syrup. Lily's struggles are real - every person who has lost someone close will tear up, even sob, as she forges ahead with determination and a strength she never knew she had. Many congratulations to Margie and to Andrew for their strong writing.

Margie Church said...

Kate, and Kb - thank you so much. I'm overwhelmed by your generosity.

Mary - as my editor, your words add extra weight. I'm proud of this book. All of us worked very hard to bring it to market and I hope readers enjoy every word. And Kleenex does an ad of somebody reading this book during the holidays...what? I'm just's a good idea!

*yadkny* said...

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I've not had a ghost or spirit communicate with me. Or maybe they have and I just didn't notice:)

CONGRATS on the release Margie!

Margie Church said...

Hi Yadkny! I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not to have been visited. I didn't seek it.

Thanks for coming by and thanks for your good wishes.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the both of you on the release of Nopeming Shores. It sounds like an amazing, poignant read. And thank you for sharing your inspiration(s).

Margie Church said...

Ingid, thank you for your support and kind words. There'll be lots of other insights to learn in the coming weeks.

Michelle said...

Hey Margie and Andrew, Congrats on the release. Well we lived in a home where there was something. Things would move, tv come on, lights come on and off etc.. It wasn't constant just occasionally and one day I was working nights trying to sleep and the bedroom tv kept coming back on when I would turn it off. The last time I turned it off I said allright enough I need sleep go use the girls tv. The tv in my room didn't come back on but a couple of minutes later the one upstairs in my daughters room came on, I didn't say anything else and just went to sleep.

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

He, my old house, the one that we left a couple of years ago- and was the house I grew up in- always had strange things happening in it. My mother named "him" but I can't remember what it was.
Anyway, that has nothing to do with our book, but..... :)

Angela Parson Myers said...

I've had several interesting experiences when people I loved have died, but only one in which I felt I was visited by one of them. I was in junior high school when my great aunt died. She had no children of her own, and related to my sister and me as if she were our grandmother. A few weeks after her death, I half-awoke in the middle of the night and saw her at the foot of my bed, sitting in her old rocking chair and watching me as she sewed. I was startled, but then thought, If she'd been good to me when she was alive, why would she be otherwise after she died? She looked satisfied, then disappeared, and I went back to sleep. I never told anyone till now.

Lorie Wolfenbarger said...

Maybe I have had a visit from the other side. I will be doing something and my grandmother just pops up in my mind. When she passes away the entire family was with her and as she slipped from this existence to the next, one single roll of thunder sounded. No storms in the area before or after she passed. Gives me chills to even think about that.

Margie Church said...

Michelle, it seems ghosts have a thing for late night television! It's funny, now that you mention this, my father watched Johnny Carson probably til the night before he died.

Margie Church said...

Andrew, I didn't know you stayed in your childhood house. Once I went to visit a girlfriend. She lived about 100 miles away. I'd never been gone that long or far before. Every morning, I would hear the cupboards click - just like at home when my dad would come home from night shift and have his coffee. Never found out what the noise was.

Margie Church said...

Angela, I think you had a great attitude. Do you remember what she was sewing?

My father's ghost rose out of the floor and walked to the foot of my bed. He looked terrible for many years before he died and at least he didn't look any worse.

Thank you for sharing.

Margie Church said...

Lorie, now that is really something. I'd be having the shivers too!


Margie Church said...

Angela, you are the winner of Nopeming Shores. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story.